Determinism and Indeterminismbanner-filo-4
From Physics to Philosophy

(August 5-9, 2013 – Universidad Austral)

Throughout the Weeks the following activities will be organized:

  •  Two plenary lectures open to the general public: 1) What indeterminism proposed quantum mechanics? “, Prof. Olimpia Lombardi, Universidad de Buenos Aires. 2) “The many faces of determinism”, Prof. Juan Arana, Universidad de Sevilla.
  •  A ten-hour course for academics: “Determinism and Indeterminsim. The historical context of the debate”, Prof. Juan Arana, Universidad de Sevilla.
  • A Workshop for researchers who are working at present on this issue, in science, philosophy or theology.


First day: Philosophy of science. Philosophy asks Physics

1. Does physics properly distinguish these notions: determinism, law-likeness, predictability, necessity, causality, fatalism? If so, how? How does philosophy contribute towards the elucidation of such distinctions?

Philosophy: Héctor Velázquez, Universidad Panamericana, Mexico.
Physics: Santiago Collado, Universidad de Navarra, Spain.

BUTTERFIELD, J. (1998, 2005). “Determinism and indeterminism”. En E. Craig (Ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. London: Routledge.

BISHOP, R. C. (2006), “Determinism and Indeterminism”. En D. M. Borchert (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Second Edition. Farmington Hills-MI: Macmillian Reference, Vol. 3, pp. 29–35 [preprint].

HITCHCOCK, C. (2007) “Three concepts of causation”. Philosophy Compass, 2/3, pp. 508-516.

LOEWER, B. (2008) “Determinism”. En S. Psillos & M. Curd (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Science. Abingdom: Routledge, pp. 327-336.

FOSTER, M. (2008) “Prediction”. En S. Psillos & M. Curd (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Science. Abingdom: Routledge, pp. 405-413.

CARROLL, J. W. (2012) “Laws of Nature”. En E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

2. Does the predicate ‘determinist’ apply to scientific theories, knowledge or nature? If it can be applied to several of these, would we be dealing with different kinds of determinism? Do they imply each other?

Philosophy: Claudia Vanney, Universidad Austral, Argentina.
Physics: Alan Heiblum, ANPCyT-Universidad Austral, Argentina.

EARMAN, J. (2004) “Determinism: What we have learned and what we still don’t know”. En J. K. Campbell, M. O’Rourke & D. Shier (Eds.), Freedom and Determinism, Cambridge-MA: MIT Press, pp. 21-46 [preprint].

CARTWRIGHT, N. & EFSTATHIOU, S. (2011) “Hunting causes and using them: Is there no bridge from here to there?”,International Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 25/3, pp. 223-241.

ANDERSEN, H. (2011) “Mechanism, laws, and regularities”, Philosophy of Science, 78, pp. 325-331.

Second day: Philosophy of Physics. Physics asks Philosophy

3. Do the most recent interpretations of quantum physics favor an epistemological or an ontological indeterminism? More specifically, do modal interpretations introduce an ontological indeterminism in microphysics or are probabilities in quantum mechanics simply a sign of ignorance?

Physics: Leonardo Vanni, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento, Argentina.
Philosophy: Sebastián Fortín, CONICET-Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.

DIEKS, D. (2007) “Probability in modal interpretations of quantum mechanics”, Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 19 (2007), pp. 292-310 [preprint].

ARDENGHI, J. S. & LOMBARDI, O. (2011) “The Modal-Hamiltonian Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics as a Kind of “Atomic” Interpretation”, Physics Research International, vol. 2011, Article ID 379604, 10 pages, 2011. doi:10.1155/2011/379604  [open access article].

GOLDSTEIN, S. (2013) “Bohmian Mechanics”. En E. N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2013 Edition) [preprint] [read online].

LOMBARDI, O. & DIEKS, D. (2012) “Modal Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics”. En E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy [open access article].

4. Are chaotic phenomena compatible with the coexistence of determinism and indeterminism at different levels or strata of reality? If so, how could we explain such coexistence?

Physics: Olimpia Lombardi, CONICET-Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Philosophy: Rafael Martinez, Pontificia Università della Santa Croce, Italy.


LOMBARDI, O. (2002) “Determinism, internalism and objectivity”. En H. Atmanspacher & R. Bishop (Eds.), Between Chance and Choice: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Determinism, Thorverton: Imprint-Academic, pp. 75-87.

BISHOP, R. C. (2005) “Anvil or onion? Determinism as a layered concept”, Erkenntnis, 63, pp. 55-71 [preprint].

BATITSKY, V. & DOMOTOR, Z. (2007) “When good theories make bad predictions”, Synthese, 157/1, pp. 79-103.


Third day: Physics & Religion. Physics asks Religion

5.  Is any cosmological model compatible with divine creation or do some models excludes it? Is a deterministic cosmological model without an initial singularity compatible with the doctrine of creation?

Physics: Alejandro González Sánchez, Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas, Mexico.
Philosophy: Francisco Soler, Technische Universität Dortmund (Germany) / Universidad de Sevilla (Spain).

TANZELLA-NITTI, G. (2005) “La creación del universo: filosofía, ciencia y teología”. En Velázquez, H. (Ed.), Origen, naturaleza y conocimiento del universo: un acercamiento interdisciplinar. Cuadernos de Anuario Filosófico, Serie Universitaria, nº 171, pp. 113-151[preprint].

SOLER GIL, F. (2005) “La cosmología física como soporte de la teología natural”. En Soler Gil, F (Ed.), “Dios y las cosmologías modernas”, Madrid: BAC, pp. 223-250.

McCABE, G. “The non-unique Universe”, Foundation of Physics, (2010) 40, pp. 629-637 [preprint].

6. Should physics recognize a natural ontological indeterminism in order to admit the possibility of divine action in nature?

Physics: Alejandro Clausse, CONICET-Universidad Nacional del Centro de la Provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Philosophy: Ignacio Silva, University of Oxford, UK.


SILVA, I. (2013), “Revisiting Aquinas on Providence and Rising to the Contemporary Challenge of Divine Action in Nature” [preprint].

RUSSELL, R. J. (2009), “Quantum Physics and the Theology of Non‐Interventionist Objective Divine Action”. En P. Clayton (ed.),The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press [preprint].