Research Project

Huggett, Nicholas

The First Biennial Midwest Summer School in Philosophy of Physics

Principal Investigator
Huggett, Nicholas
Funding Source
The Foundational Questions Institute


We plan 12 lectures over 5 days, and the funded speaker would deliver two, on the topic of the physics of the observer. At least further two days will be devoted to the philosophical foundations of quantum gravity, under the John Templeton Foundation funded project, Space and Time After Quantum Gravity (see This project addresses the issue of the recovery (or ‘emergence’) of classical spacetime in theories of quantum gravity, which may not have fully spatiotemporal fundamental degrees of freedom. Such questions intersect with the physics of the observer in a number of ways: for instance, the recovery of a cosmology leads to the question of an observer of the entire universe. Or again, recovering the appearance of spacetime raises the question of what the appropriate observable quantities are; something, it has been argued, that depends on the observer. Or yet again, the role of the observer in quantum mechanics may have bearing on quantum gravity.