Berlin 2014 – wissenschaftliches Programm

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AGPhil: Arbeitsgruppe Philosophie der Physik

AGPhil 7: Quantum-Classical Divide V

AGPhil 7.1: Vortrag

Freitag, 21. März 2014, 14:15–14:45, SPA SR22

Big bang causality as quantum-classical transition — •Rüdiger Vaas — bild der wissenschaft, Ernst-Mey-Str. 8, D -- 70771 Leinfelden

Explaining the beginning of our universe is a delicate and difficult task, not only from a cosmological point of view, but also from an epistemological, conceptual, and philosophy of science perspective. To search for a causal explanation of the big bang could even be meaningless, if causality is understood only as a kind of regularity, or in terms of counterfactuals, interventionism, or (dispositional) perturbation pragmatism, or indeed just as a feature of human cognition (cf. Schaffer 2007, Hüttemann 2013). My talk argues that a physical notion of causality -- if any -- associated with a transfer of conserved quantities such as energy or momentum (as proposed, e.g., by Salmon 1998, Dowe 2007, 2009) is needed for a causal big bang explanation, and that this is consistent with at least some recent big bang models in physical cosmology. This is closely related to the hypothesis of a cosmological origin of the arrow(s) of time, i.e. irreversibility. If pseudo-beginning models are correct -- in contrast to models of an absolute beginning of time or a past-eternal time --, the big bang can be causally explained as a quantum fluctuation within a time-reversible quantum vacuum, creating quasi-classicality along with an arrow of time. My talk argues that such models can be interpreted in the framework of physicalistic causation mentioned above. However, there could be a paradox lurking here: If the big bang created causality and classicality in the first place, how can it itself have a causal and classical explanation? -- L. Mersini-Houghton, R. Vaas (eds.): The Arrows of Time. Springer, 2012.

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