CFP: PhD Course: Non-Locality in Quantum Mechanics

Submission deadline: September 11, 2023

Conference date(s):
September 11, 2023 - September 12, 2023

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Conference Venue:

Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas, University of Oslo
Oslo, Norway

Topic areas


Course description

Quantum mechanics is, alongside the general theory of relativity, currently our best theory to describe physical reality. Yet, despite being debated among physicists and philosophers for almost 100 years, the philosophical implications of quantum mechanics remain mysterious. Some of its implications are extremely counter-intuitive, to the point of seeming paradoxical.

This course will center around one such “paradoxical” aspect: The phenomenon of entanglement and related violation of the Bell inequalities, which is often taken to imply that the world must be non-local. The topic has received increasingly more research interest over the last decade, particularly within the field of causal modelling, where it has motivated the development of quantum causal models. It garnered even more attention with the Nobel prize in physics 2022 being awarded to Aspect, Clauser and Zeilinger for their experimental verification of the violation of the Bell inequalities and demonstration of other entanglement-related phenomena.

The aim of the course is to introduce the participants to the current state-of-the-art regarding entanglement and non-locality in quantum mechanics, and to contribute to the ongoing philosophical discussion. The course will feature talks and discussion groups on topics including non-locality and relativity, causal models for Bell experiments, superdeterminism and retrocausation, entanglement and quantum ontology, and temporal non-locality.

The course will be organized as a two-day workshop, including a combination of lectures, commentaries, and discussion groups. The workshop will be introduced with an opening lecture giving an overview of the current state-of-the-art, followed by discussion groups and presentations by the participants. On the second day, the participants will get an introduction to the experimental methods used to test Bell inequality violations.


Professor Alastair Wilson is a professor of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham, where he currently heads the ERC-funded FraMEPhys project (A Framework for Metaphysical Explanation in Physics). His doctoral thesis was on the metaphysics of Everettian quantum mechanics, and he has recently published the book “The Nature of Contingency: Quantum Physics as Modal Realism” based on this work. He has also worked on topics concerning grounding, laws of nature, chance, counterfactuals, and the epistemology of disagreement and of self-locating beliefs. He is the PhilPapers editor for the categories “Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics” and “Theories of Modality”, and a member of the editorial board of Philosophy of Physics. Professor Wilson will present us an overview of the current state-of-the-art of the philosophical discussion on quantum non-locality.

Arnt Inge Vistnes is an associate professor emeritus at the Department of Physics at the University of Oslo. Throughout his career, he has worked with spectroscopy, electromagnetic fields (in a very wide range of frequencies), and quantum optics. He has had a longstanding interest in how quantum phenomena are to be analysed and interpreted in experimental terms. In 2007 he founded the quantum optics laboratory at the University of Oslo, where he and his coworkers have studied “entangled photons” in more detail than what is common in other laboratories. Professor Vistnes will introduce us to the experimental methods used to study Bell inequality violations and discuss how different interpretations of quantum physics influences what conclusions one can draw from these experiments.

Target audience

The course is primarily aimed at PhD level students in philosophy (philosophy of science, philosophy of physics and metaphysics). However, PhD students from other areas are also welcome. There will also be a possibility for interested postdocs and masters’ students to apply and/or attend, but priority will be given to PhD students. Women and minorities, both at MA and PhD levels, are encouraged to attend.

Practical information

  • The course will be in-person at the University of Oslo, Norway, campus Blindern.
  • This is a two-day PhD course consisting of lectures and discussions. The course is worth 3 ECTS credits.
  • The course has a mandatory curriculum, which the participants will be expected to have read before the workshop. The complete schedule and curriculum will be sent to the participants ahead of the workshop.
  • Participants will be expected to give a brief 15-20 min presentation (subject to time constraints) on a topic related to the course topic, which will be followed by a Q&A session.
  • To qualify for the credits, the participants will also be expected to provide a 1500-2000-word essay on a topic related to the topics discussed in the course and to write a 500–1000-word review of the work of another participant. The deadline for submitting the essay is October 29, and the deadline for submitting the review is November 12.
  • The course is free of charge and includes lunch for the two days (please let us know if you have any food restrictions). Transportation, accommodation, and other meals must be arranged and financed by the participants themselves.


  • The application deadline is June 15, 2023.
  • The application should include a short description of the applicant and their research interest, as well as a title and short abstract (up to 150 words) for your talk.
  • To allow enough time for the presentations, there is a limited number of places available. Priority will be given to PhD students, and otherwise the places will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • For application submission and further questions, contact Jørn Kløvfjell Mjelva.

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