PhD position in philosophy of physics / metaphysics of science

University Grenoble Alpes

The Chair of Excellence in Philosophy of Quantum Physics in Grenoble
solicits applications for a 3-year PhD position attached to the Chair
within the interdisciplinary project ‘The entanglement of physics and
philosophy’ starting 1 January 2019 (please see below for more
information on the project). The Chair is part of the Cross Disciplinary
Program ‘Quantum Engineering Grenoble’ (QuEnG), which aims to foster a
pluridisciplinary environment for quantum technologies in Grenoble; more
information on the QuEnG project and the Chair of Excellence can be found
at and

The successful applicant will conduct her or his doctoral research in
relation to the project under the co-supervision of Vincent Lam (Chair
holder, main supervisor), Cyril Branciard (Institut Néel UGA) and
Stéphanie Ruphy (PPL UGA / Lyon 3), in close collaboration with the
physicists of the Quantum Foundations Group at the Institut Néel and with
enrolment in the philosophy doctoral program in Grenoble. She or he will be
part of the QuEng Junior Board, and expected to actively participate to the
events organized by the Chair and the QuEnG collaboration.

Applicants with relevant background in philosophy of physics (quantum
physics, spacetime theories) and/or metaphysics of science (causation,
structural realism) and/or quantum foundations will be preferred.

Applicants should send a cover letter, a CV and a one-page research
statement describing the doctoral research to be pursued within the
project. The applications as well as 2 reference letters should be sent to
Vincent Lam ( and Cyril
Branciard (
(the reference letters should be directly sent by the persons writing the
letters). Review of the applications will start on 1 March 2018 and will
continue until the position is filled.

The application is a 2-step process: the selected applicant will have to
apply to the QuEnG PhD programme with the support of the Chair (see

Applications from women and underrepresented minorities are explicitly

The entanglement of physics and philosophy

This research project aims to articulate the interplay between fundamental
physics and metaphysics in the context of the foundations of quantum
theory, with a strong focus on quantum entanglement and its relationship to
spacetime and causal structures. We will investigate the fundamental
features (structures) of the world---in particular regarding its
spatio-temporal and causal aspects---quantum entanglement is pointing at,
across the main realist quantum ontologies and across the main quantum
theoretical frameworks, from non-relativistic quantum mechanics to quantum
field theory on curved spacetimes and various approaches to quantum
gravity. The goal is to develop a global perspective on quantum
entanglement, taking into account hints from various (quantum) theoretical
frameworks. We will pay particular attention to the suggestions about the
quantum entanglement structure being ontologically on a par or even more
fundamental than the spacetime structure. Accordingly, we will specifically
investigate from a global conceptual perspective recent work in quantum
foundations on indefinite causal/temporal order (where quantum correlations
violate some causal inequalities) and in quantum gravity (in particular
loop quantum gravity) on the status and role of quantum entanglement beyond
the (classical) spacetine structure.

These investigations aim to provide a much needed concrete case study for
the interplay between physics and metaphysics, highlighting how
genuine---somehow ‘symmetric’ or ‘balanced’---interactions between
the two may be fruitful both for our metaphysical conceptions of the
physical world as well as for physical theorizing itself.