# Christian WuthrichUniversity of Geneva | UNIGE · Department of Philosophy

Christian Wuthrich

PhD University of Pittsburgh

## About

69

Publications

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1,160

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Citations since 2017

Introduction

Additional affiliations

July 2006 - June 2015

August 2000 - present

**University of Pittsburgh**

## Publications

Publications (69)

This article presents the most interesting philosophical issues as they arise in causal set theory. The first concerns the apparent disappearance of spacetime at the fundamental level. It shows how the looming empirical incoherence is averted if we adopt spacetime functionalism. Second, classical sequential growth dynamics rekindles hope for a fund...

In prior work, we have argued that spacetime functionalism provides tools for clarifying the conceptual difficulties specifically linked to the emergence of spacetime in certain approaches to quantum gravity. We argue in this article that spacetime functionalism in quantum gravity is radically different from other functionalist approaches that have...

Quantum gravity's suggestion that spacetime may be emergent and so only exist contingently would force a radical reconception of extant analyses of laws of nature. Humeanism presupposes a spatiotemporal mosaic of particular matters of fact on which laws supervene; primitivism and dispositionalism conceive of the action of primitive laws or of dispo...

Quantum gravity's suggestion that spacetime may be emergent and so only exist contingently would force a radical reconception of extant analyses of laws of nature. Humeanism presupposes a spatiotemporal mosaic of particular matters of fact on which laws supervene; primitivism and dispositionalism conceive of the action of primitive laws or of dispo...

The present volume collects essays on the philosophical foundations of quantum theories of gravity, such as loop quantum gravity and string theory. Central for philosophical concerns is quantum gravity's suggestion that space and time, or spacetime, may not exist fundamentally, but instead be a derivative entity emerging from non-spatiotemporal deg...

Analogue experiments have attracted interest for their potential to shed light on inaccessible domains. For instance, `dumb holes' in fluids and Bose-Einstein condensates, as analogues of black holes, have been promoted as means of confirming the existence of Hawking radiation in real black holes. We compare analogue experiments with other cases of...

Most approaches to quantum gravity suggest that relativistic spacetime is not fundamental, but instead emerges from some non-spatiotemporal structure. This paper investigates the implications of this suggestion for the possibility of time travel in the sense of the existence of closed timelike curves in some relativistic spacetimes. In short, will...

This is a chapter of the planned monograph "Out of Nowhere: The Emergence of Spacetime in Quantum Theories of Gravity", co-authored by Nick Huggett and Christian W\"uthrich and under contract with Oxford University Press. (More information at https://beyondspacetime.net/.) This chapter introduces the problem of emergence of spacetime in quantum gra...

This is a chapter of the planned monograph "Out of Nowhere: The Emergence of Spacetime in Quantum Theories of Gravity", co-authored by Nick Huggett and Christian Wüthrich and under contract with Oxford University Press. (More information at https://beyondspacetime.net/.) This chapter introduces the problem of emergence of spacetime in quantum gravi...

We investigate the fate of determinism in general relativity (GR), comparing the philosopher's account with the physicist's well-posed initial value formulations. The fate of determinism is interwoven with the question of what it is for a spacetime to be `physically reasonable'. A central concern is the status of global hyperbolicity, a putatively...

We investigate the fate of determinism in general relativity (GR), comparing the philosopher's account with the physicist's well-posed initial value formulations. The fate of determinism is interwoven with the question of what it is for a spacetime to be `physically reasonable'. A central concern is the status of global hyperbolicity, a putatively...

This is a chapter of the planned monograph "Out of Nowhere: The Emergence of Spacetime in Quantum Theories of Gravity", co-authored by Nick Huggett and Christian W\"uthrich and under contract with Oxford University Press. (More information at www.beyondspacetime.net.) This chapter sketches how spacetime emerges in causal set theory and demonstrates...

Contemporary research programs in fundamental physics appear to suggest that there could be two (physical) times---or none at all. This essay articulates these possibilities in the context of quantum gravity, and in particular of cosmological models developed in an approach called `loop quantum gravity', and explains how they could nevertheless und...

This is a chapter of the planned monograph "Out of Nowhere: The Emergence of Spacetime in Quantum Theories of Gravity", co-authored by Nick Huggett and Christian Wüthrich and under contract with Oxford University Press. (More information at www.beyondspacetime.net.) This chapter sketches how spacetime emerges in causal set theory and demonstrates h...

Contemporary research programs in fundamental physics appear to suggest that there could be two (physical) times---or none at all. This essay articulates these possibilities in the context of quantum gravity, and in particular of cosmological models developed in an approach called 'loop quantum gravity', and explains how they could nevertheless und...

Introduction for Synthese Special Issue on Spacetime Functionalism

This is a chapter of the planned monograph "Out of Nowhere: The Emergence of Spacetime in Quantum Theories of Gravity", co-authored by Nick Huggett and Christian W\"uthrich and under contract with Oxford University Press. (More information at www.beyondspacetime.net.) This chapter investigates the meaning and significance of string theoretic dualit...

This is a chapter of the planned monograph "Out of Nowhere: The Emergence of Spacetime in Quantum Theories of Gravity", co-authored by Nick Huggett and Christian Wüthrich and under contract with Oxford University Press. (More information at www.beyondspacetime.net.) This chapter investigates the meaning and significance of string theoretic dualitie...

This is a chapter of the planned monograph "Out of Nowhere: The Emergence of Spacetime in Quantum Theories of Gravity", co-authored by Nick Huggett and Christian Wüthrich and under contract with Oxford University Press. (More information at www.beyondspacetime.net.) This chapter introduces causal set theory and identifies and articulates a 'problem...

This is a chapter of the planned monograph "Out of Nowhere: The Emergence of Spacetime in Quantum Theories of Gravity", co-authored by Nick Huggett and Christian W\"uthrich and under contract with Oxford University Press. (More information at www.beyondspacetime.net.) This chapter introduces causal set theory and identifies and articulates a 'probl...

This is a chapter of the planned monograph "Out of Nowhere: The Emergence of Spacetime in Quantum Theories of Gravity", co-authored by Nick Huggett and Christian W\"uthrich and under contract with Oxford University Press. (More information at www.beyondspacetime.net.) This chapter analyses the nature and derivation of spacetime topology and geometr...

This is a chapter of the planned monograph Out of Nowhere: The Emergence of Space- time in Quantum Theories of Gravity, co-authored by Nick Huggett and Christian Wüthrich and under contract with Oxford University Press. It analyses the nature and derivation of spacetime topology and geometry according to string theory.

In prior work, we have argued that spacetime functionalism provides tools for clarifying the conceptual difficulties specifically linked to the emergence of spacetime in certain approaches to quantum gravity. We argue in this article that spacetime functionalism in quantum gravity is radically different from other functionalist approaches that have...

In prior work, we have argued that spacetime functionalism provides tools for clarifying the conceptual difficulties specifically linked to the emergence of spacetime in certain approaches to quantum gravity. We argue in this article that spacetime functionalism in quantum gravity is radically different from other functionalist approaches that have...

Most approaches to quantum gravity suggest that relativistic spacetime is not fundamental, but instead emerges from some non-spatiotemporal structure. This paper investigates the implications of this suggestion for the possibility of time travel in the sense of the existence of closed timelike curves in some relativistic spacetimes. In short, will...

Most approaches to quantum gravity suggest that relativistic spacetime is not fundamental, but instead emerges from some non-spatiotemporal structure. This paper investigates the implications of this suggestion for the possibility of time travel in the sense of the existence of closed timelike curves in some relativistic spacetimes. In short, will...

Approaches to quantum gravity often involve the disappearance of space and time at the fundamental level. The metaphysical consequences of this disappearance are profound, as is illustrated with David Lewis's analysis of modality. As Lewis's possible worlds are unified by the spatiotemporal relations among their parts, the non-fundamentality of spa...

Although general relativity is a predictively successful theory, it treats matter as classical rather than as quantum. For this reason, it will have to be replaced by a more fundamental quantum theory of gravity. Attempts to formulate a quantum theory of gravity suggest that such a theory may have radical consequences for the nature, and indeed the...

Analogue experiments have attracted interest for their potential to shed light on inaccessible domains. For instance, `dumb holes' in fluids and Bose-Einstein condensates, as analogues of black holes, have been promoted as means of confirming the existence of Hawking radiation in real black holes. We compare analogue experiments with other cases of...

Approaches to quantum gravity often involve the disappearance of space and time at the fundamental level. The metaphysical consequences of this disappearance are profound, as is illustrated with David Lewis's analysis of modality. As Lewis's possible worlds are unified by the spatiotemporal relations among their parts, the non-fundamentality of spa...

Research in quantum gravity strongly suggests that our world in not fundamentally spatiotemporal, but that spacetime may only emerge in some sense from a non-spatiotemporal structure, as this paper illustrates in the case of causal set theory and loop quantum gravity. This would raise philosophical concerns regarding the empirical coherence and gen...

Theories of quantum gravity generically presuppose or predict that the reality underlying relativistic spacetimes they are describing is significantly non-spatiotemporal. On pain of empirical incoherence, approaches to quantum gravity must establish how relativistic spacetime emerges from their non-spatiotemporal structures. We argue that in order...

Although general relativity is a predictively successful theory, it treats matter as classical rather than as quantum. For this reason, it will have to be replaced by a more fundamental quantum theory of gravity. Attempts to formulate a quantum theory of gravity suggest that such a theory may have radical consequences for the nature, and indeed the...

This paper examines two cosmological models of quantum gravity (from string theory and loop quantum gravity) to investigate the foundational and conceptual issues arising from quantum treatments of the big bang. While the classical singularity is erased, the quantum evolution that replaces it may not correspond to classical spacetime: it may instea...

Information theory presupposes the notion of an epistemic agent, such as a scientist or an idealized human. Despite that, information theory is increasingly invoked by physicists concerned with fundamental physics, physics at very high energies, or generally with the physics of situations in which even idealized epistemic agents cannot exist. In th...

Spacetime as we know and love it is lost in most approaches to quantum gravity. For many of these approaches, as inchoate and incomplete as they may be, one of the main challenges is to relate what they take to be the fundamental non-spatiotemporal structure of the world back to the classical spacetime of general relativity (GR). The present essay...

This book is a collection of essays whose topics center around relations between analytic metaphysics and modern physical theories. The contributions to the volume cover a broad spectrum of issues, ranging from metaphysical implications of selected physical theories (quantum mechanics, quantum field theory, general relativity, string theory etc.),...

Unlike the relativity theory it seeks to replace, causal set theory (CST) has been interpreted to leave space for a substantive, though perhaps ‘localized’, form of ‘becoming’. The possibility of fundamental becoming is nourished by the fact that the analogue of Stein’s theorem from special relativity does not hold in CST. Despite this, we find tha...

Hilary Putnam (1965, 2005) has argued that from a realist perspective,
quantum mechanics stands in need of an interpretation. Ironically, this
hypothesis may appear vulnerable against arguments drawing on Putnam's own
work. Nancy Cartwright (2005) has urged that his 1962 essay on the meaning of
theoretical terms suggests that quantum mechanics need...

Spacetime as we know and love it is lost in most approaches to quantum
gravity. For many of these approaches, as inchoate and incomplete as they may
be, one of the main challenges is to relate what they take to be the
fundamental non-spatiotemporal structure of the world back to the classical
spacetime of GR. The present essay investigates how spac...

There exists a growing literature on the so-called physical Church-Turing
thesis in a relativistic spacetime setting. The physical Church-Turing thesis
is the conjecture that no computing device that is physically realizable (even
in principle) can exceed the computational barriers of a Turing machine. By
suggesting a concrete implementation of a b...

This is the introduction to the special issue of Studies in the History and Philosophy of Modern Physics on the emergence of spacetime in quantum theories of spacetime.

Radical ontic structural realism (ROSR) asserts an ontological commitment to ‘free-standing’ physical structures understood solely in terms of fundamental relations, without any recourse to relata that stand in these relations. Bain ([ 2013 ], pp.1621–35) has recently defended ROSR against the common charge of incoherence by arguing that a reformul...

More often than not, recently popular structuralist interpretations of
physical theories leave the central concept of a structure insufficiently
precisified. The incipient causal sets approach to quantum gravity offers a
paradigmatic case of a physical theory predestined to be interpreted in
structuralist terms. It is shown how employing structural...

There has been a recent spate of essays defending presentism, the view in the
metaphysics of time according to which all and only present events or entities
exist. What is particularly striking about this resurgence is that it takes
place on the background of the significant pressure exerted on the position by
the relativity of simultaneity asserte...

This paper issues a call to arms and seeks to entice the reader with some of the most captivating philosophical puzzles arising in quantum gravity. The analysis will be prefaced, in Section 1, by general considerations concerning the need for finding a quantum theory of gravity and the methods used in the pursuit of this goal. After mapping the fie...

Physical time plays a different role in general relativity than in quantum mechanics and the particle physics based on it. The first section of this chapter provides a brief survey of the main approaches to quantum gravity and then proceeds to consider the lessons that can be drawn from two distinct strategies for discovering a theory of quantum gr...

Numerous approaches to a quantum theory of gravity posit fundamental
ontologies that exclude spacetime, either partially or wholly. This situation
raises deep questions about how such theories could relate to the empirical
realm, since arguably only entities localized in spacetime can ever be
observed. Are such entities even possible in a theory wi...

Approaches to quantum gravity often involve the disappearance of space and time at the fundamental level. The metaphysical consequences of this disappearance are profound, as is illustrated with David Lewis's analysis of modality. As Lewis's possible worlds are unified by the spatiotemporal relations among their parts, the non-fundamentality of spa...

Numerous approaches to a quantum theory of gravity posit fundamental ontologies that exclude spacetime, either partially or wholly. This situation raises deep questions about how such theories could relate to the empirical realm, since arguably only entities localized in spacetime can ever be observed. Are such entities even possible in a theory wi...

This chapter argues that recent arguments to the effect that the debate between presentism and eternalism lacks any metaphysical
substance ultimately fail, although important lessons can be gleaned from them in how to formulate a non-vacuous version of
presentism. It suggests that presentism can best be characterized in the context of spacetime the...

Structural realist interpretations of generally relativistic spacetimes have recently come to enjoy a remarkable degree of popularity among philosophers. I present a challenge to these structuralist interpretations that arises from considering cosmological models in general relativity. As a consequence of their high degree of spacetime symmetry, th...

This essay offers a reaction to the recent resurgence of presentism in the philosophy of time. What is of particular interest
in this renaissance is that a number of recent arguments supporting presentism are crafted in an untypically naturalistic
vein, breathing new life into a metaphysics of time with a bad track record of co-habitation with mode...

This paper argues that recent arguments to the effect that the debate between presentism and eternalism lacks any metaphysical substance ultimately fail, although important lessons can be gleaned from them in how to formulate a non-vacuous version of presentism. It suggests that presentism can best be characterized in the context of spacetime theor...

This essay considers and evaluates recent results and arguments from classical chaotic systems theory and non-relativistic quantum mechanics that pertain to the question of whether our world is deterministic or indeterministic. While the classical results are inconclusive, quantum mechanics is often assumed to establish indeterminism insofar as the...

Structural realist interpretations of generally relativistic spacetimes have recently come to enjoy a remarkable degree of popularity among philosophers. I present a challenge to these structuralist interpretations that arises from considering cosmological models in general relativity. As a consequence of their high degree of spacetime symmetry, th...

This paper is an enquiry into the logical, metaphysical, and physical possibility of time travel understood in the sense of the existence of closed worldlines that can be traced out by physical objects. We argue that none of the purported paradoxes rule out time travel either on grounds of logic or metaphysics. More relevantly, modern spacetime the...

We address the question of whether it is possible to operate a time machine by manipulating matter and energy so as to manufacture closed timelike curves. This question has received a great deal of attention in the physics literature, with attempts to prove no-go theorems based on classical general relativity and various hybrid theories serving as...

We investigate Kerr-Newman black holes in which a rotating charged
ring-shaped singularity induces a region which contains closed timelike curves
(CTCs). Contrary to popular belief, it turns out that the time orientation of
the CTC is opposite to the direction in which the singularity or the ergosphere
rotates. In this sense, CTCs "counter-rotate"...

My dissertation studies the foundations of loop quantum gravity (LQG), a candidate for a quantum theory of gravity based on classical general relativity. At the outset, I discuss two---and I claim separate---questions: first, do we need a quantum theory of gravity at all; and second, if we do, does it follow that gravity should or even must be quan...

Does the need to find a quantum theory of gravity imply that the gravitational field must be quantized? Physicists working in quantum gravity routinely assume an affirmative answer, often without being aware of the metaphysical commitments that tend to underlie this assumption. The ambition of this article is to probe these commitments and to analy...

We discuss the possibility to build and operate a time machine, a device that produces closed timelike curves (CTCs). We specify the spacetime structure needed to implement a time machine and assess attempted no-go results against time machines in classical general relativity, semi-classical quantum gravity, quantum field theory on curved spacetime...

In support of a recent conjecture by Nielsen (1999), we prove that the phenomena of 'incomparable entanglement'--whereby, neither member of a pair of pure entangled states can be transformed into the other via local operations and classical communication (LOCC)--is a generic feature when the states at issue live in an infinite-dimensional Hilbert s...

In Thomas Müller (ed.), Philosophie der Zeit: Neue analytische Ansätze, Frankfurt a.M.: Klostermann, 2007, pp. 191-219. Im vorliegenden Aufsatz soll geklärt werden, was unter Zeitreisen und Zeitma-schinen in der Philosophie der Physik genau zu verstehen ist. Dabei wird das Auftreten von geschlossenen kausalen Kurven als hinreichende Bedingung für d...