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Neil Dewar, Ph.D.

Summer Semester 2019

Neil Dewar – PortraitNeil Dewar is an Assistant Professor in the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy at LMU Munich. He studied physics and philosophy at the University of Oxford, and spent a year as a Procter Fellow at Princeton University. He finished his DPhil in 2016 with a thesis on "Symmetries in Physics, Metaphysics, and Logic".

Neil's research concerns the relationship between representation and reality in the context of physical theories. In physics, there is typically a distinction between the aspects of a theory which have genuine physical significance (e.g. the representations of observable quantities) and those aspects which are merely of computational or mathematical significance (e.g. coordinates). Distinguishing between the two is important for fully understanding the conceptual structure and predictive power of such theories, and bears on long-standing debates in philosophy of language, philosophy of science, and metaphysics.

Whilst at CAS, Neil Dewar will pursue a project on the concept of equivalence in physics, looking at both equivalent descriptions within one theories and relationships of equivalence between theories. To do so, he will draw on contemporary debates in physics, metaphysics, and philosophy of science, and on historical ideas from Ernst Cassirer, Hans Reichenbach, and Moritz Schlick. In this context, he has invited Professor James Read from University of Oxford as a Visiting Fellow and he will work together with Hans Halvorson at Yale University.

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