Foundational Problems of Global Structure in Semi-Classical Gravity

July 21, 2022 - July 23, 2022
Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München

Ludwig Maximilians Universität

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities

View the Call For Papers


Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
Universität Bonn

Topic areas

Talks at this conference

Add a talk


Semi-classical gravity (SCG)---the coupling of the dynamics of quantum fields to the classical spacetime geometry of general relativity by way of the semi-classical Einstein field equation (SCEFE)---is the framework within which black hole thermodynamics is formulated.  As such, it is widely held to provide the most secure theoretical clues to a search for a theory of quantum gravity.  Considered in its own right, however, it already presents us with a plethora of foundational and conceptual problems that require investigation, even over and above the most famous one, Hawking's Information-Loss Paradox.

  • In what sense is it legitimate to think of black holes as thermodynamical systems?
  • What is the causal structure of an evaporating black hole spacetime, and its relation to causality conditions on quantum fields?
  • What is black hole entropy?
  • How does the Generalized Second Law ramify into the host of other problems of fundamental physical and philosophical import that the ordinary Second Law of thermodynamics does?
  • What is the difference between geometry and matter?
  • Are there singularities in the semi-classical regime, and does a form of cosmic censorship hold in it?
  • What role do classical energy conditions and quantum energy inequalities play, and how do they relate to entropy and information?
  • What is holography at the semi-classical level, and what role can or does it play there?
  • What can the epistemology of a field of physics be, completely divorced from experimentation and observation?

This will be the first major conference to address foundational and philosophical issues associated with SCG, and to try to examine how they all bear on each other.  Invited physicists and philosophers have been chosen to represent different approaches to SCG and the many different kinds of conceptual questions it poses (quantum field theory on curved spacetime, emergent gravity, canonical gravity, holography, phenomenology, methodology, epistemology), in an attempt to foster a dialogue among the different fields.  Contributed talks from both physicists and philosophers will be chosen so as to complement the perspectives of the invited speakers.  Such a gathering will spur new, innovative approaches to the problem, as well as connecting and invigorating work on existing approaches. It will also provide young researchers with a comprehensive introduction to the state of the art of this central field of research, and established researchers with a comprehensive overview.

Confirmed Speakers

  • Beatrice Bonga
  • Craig Callender
  • Ted Jacobson
  • Eleni Kontou
  • JB Manchak
  • Marija Tomašević
  • Chris Smeenk
  • Bob Wald
  • Chris Wüthrich

Call for Abstracts We invite the submission of paper abstracts for the conference.  Abstracts should include a title, a brief abstract (up to 200 words), and a full abstract (up to 1000 words), blinded for peer review.  They should be PDF files, submitted to the conference's EasyChair account  The deadline for submission is 07 March 2022.  We will select 4 submissions for presentation at the conference.  Decisions will be sent to all applicants by 31 March 2022.   We plan to publish the proceedings of the conference as a special issue of a leading journal (e.g., /Universe/ or /Foundations of Physics/).     We are committed to fostering diversity and equality in our programs.  Submissions from underrepresented groups are particularly welcome.  The conference will be organized and run under the MCMP's code of conduct .     


Public-health conditions permitting, we will hold the conference in-person, with no video connections, although the talks and Q&A will be recorded (pending agreement by the speakers).  Please send registration requests by 26 June 2022 using the following form:  

The fees for the conference and dinner are as follows.

  • Senior researchers with permanent positions (associate and full  professors, etc.): conference fee EUR 40
  • Junior researchers (assistant professors, post-docs, etc.): conference fee EUR 25
  • Students (masters, doctoral, etc.): no conference fee
  • Conference dinner (for everyone): EUR 30

Dates and Deadines

  • Deadline for Submission: 07 March 2022
  • Date of Notification: 31 March 2022
  • Registration Deadline: 26 June 2022


  • Erik Curiel --
  • Juliusz Doboszewski --
  • Cecilia Giavoni --

Acknowledgements   Gefördert teilweise durch die Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) -- Projektnummer 312032894.  (Funded in part by the German Research Foundation (DFG) -- project number 312032894.)  Also supported by the Volkswagen Foundation funding for the Lichtenberg  Group for History and Philosophy of Physics at the University of Bonn , under the direction of Prof. Dr. Dennis Lehmkuhl.  

Supporting material

Add supporting material (slides, programs, etc.)




Who is attending?

No one has said they will attend yet.

Will you attend this event?

Let us know so we can notify you of any change of plan.