Coronavirus update

Important information:
All on-campus visits and events are cancelled or postponed until further notice. Virtual events will be running as normal unless otherwise stated.  For the latest updates visit our coronavirus information page. Please note that some of our on campus events may be replaced by virtual events - please check with the event organiser listed against each event.

Autonomous levels of description: the metaphysics within (philosophy of) physics

ERI 149
Wednesday 23 January 2019 (13:00-14:00)

Philosophy Work in Progress Seminar Series 2018/19

  • Speaker: Dr Katie Robertson
  • Title: Autonomous levels of description: the metaphysics within (philosophy of) physics

The Philosophy department's work in progress seminar is an opportunity for the members of staff at Birmingham to present the material they are working on to each other and to the department's postgraduate students.
The seminar meets roughly on fortnightly Wednesdays from 13:00 to 14.00 in the ERI. All welcome!


Even if fundamental physics in some sense applies to everything, higher-levels of descriptions about gases, magnets and mountains seem to enjoy a considerable about of independence, or autonomy from, fundamental physics. In this talk, I discuss the different forms of autonomy - methodological, explanatory, causal and dynamical - and how they relate to one another. I argue that a higher-level description can be autonomous, even if reducible in practice, and connect this to the metaphysics implicit within the philosophy of physics literature.

Culture and collections

Schools, institutes and departments

Services and facilities