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Unit information: Philosophy of Physics in 2021/22

Unit name Philosophy of Physics
Unit code PHILM0005
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Ladyman
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department Department of Philosophy
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit covers philosophical issues related to basic physical theories, discussing issues such as the causal structure of space-time, conceptual questions in the foundations of quantum mechanics, and the role of probability in physics.

The aim of this course is to explore metaphysical, methodological, epistemological and conceptual issues that arise in modern physics. We cover topics such as: space and time in Aristotle’s, Newton’s, and Einstein’s physics; the notion of simultaneity in Einstein’s theory of relativity; geometry and the causal structure of relativity physics; the conceptual structure of quantum mechanics, the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen experiment; the measurement problem and Schrödinger’s cat paradox of; locality and action-at-a-distance; and causation and chance in atomic physics.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students should:

  1. Have knowledge and understanding of core issues in philosophy of physics.
  2. Be able to conduct independent research into a new topic, using online and library resources, analyze and understand difficult philosophical texts, and write clear academic prose.

Teaching Information

Lectures, small group work, individual exercises, seminars and virtual learning environment.

Assessment Information

Summative Assessment: One essay of up to 6,000 words (excluding bibliography) - 100%

Resources

If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. PHILM0005).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

Assessment
The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.

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