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Conference on Agency and (quantum) physics 



The international conference “Agency and (quantum) physics” (AQP2016) will take place in Konstanz, Germany, from 20-23 September 2016. The conference is devoted to the discussion of three key questions:

  1. What is agency? How can we spell out this important and far-reaching notion in such a way that it excludes trivial cases, includes human and animal agency, and leaves conceptual room for possible artificial agency?

  2. What is the physical basis for agency, and how do agents figure in theories and practices of physics, esp. quantum physics?

  3. What is the current and future status of artificial agency? Can artefacts be free agents?


The conference will feature speakers from the areas of philosophy, physics, and AI / cognitive science / robotics. The conference aims at bringing together a group of researchers from these disciplines for a real interdisciplinary exchange. By scheduling long slots (45min talk + 30min discussion) and ample breaks, we hope to create an atmosphere for open discussion across disciplinary borders.

Talks should start in a way that is accessible to a fairly general audience, and then move on to discipline-specific detail. The fairly large share of philosophy (approx. half of the talks) is meant to secure a solid conceptual foundation, while other disciplines are invited to contribute empirical questions and results. By the end of the conference we hope to have a clearer view on our three key questions.

The (preliminary) answers reached at the conference constitute important steps on a way towards a better picture of the place of agency in the natural world.

This is the main conference of the project Agency and (quantum) physics. For details of the project Agency and (quantum) physics, see our web-page. 

This event will be preceded by a Master class on Agency and (quantum) physics, for details see the Master class web-page.

The conference is funded by the Templeton World Charity Foundation. 


UPDATE: Picture from the conference:


List of speakers

We are pleased to announce the following list of speakers:

  • Toni Acín (Institute of Photonic Sciences, Castelldefels)

  • Andrew Briggs (University of Oxford)

  • Jan Broersen (Utrecht University)

  • Vedran Dunjko (University of Innsbruck)

  • Chris Fuchs (UMass Boston)

  • Nicolas Gisin (University of Geneva)

  • Pim Haselager (Donders Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen)

  • Robert Kane (University of Texas at Austin)

  • Erasmus Mayr (FAU Erlangen)

  • Kasia Paprzycka (University of Warsaw)

  • Justus Piater (University of Innsbruck)

  • Huw Price (University of Cambridge)

  • Verena Wagner (University of Konstanz)

Participation and registration

The program of the conference covers invited talks only.

The conference fee is EUR 80, and will cover coffee breaks and lunches.

Unfortunately, we have a limited capacity for the conference, and we cannot guarantee that all interested parties will be accepted.

To express your interest for participation in the conference, we ask you to send an application to aqp2016@uni-konstanz.de, with the subject line Application Conference aqp2016, and we encourage you to apply early.

Please include the following information in your message:

  1. Name and address
  2. Contact e-mail
  3. Academic affiliation
  4. A statement of interest, approximately 100 words.

This information, together with the order of applications, will help us in prioritizing among participants.

Conference program 

The tentative program of the conference is given by the following time-table:



20th Sept.


21st Sept.


22nd Sept.


23rd Sept.

09:00 - 10:15



Nicolas Gisin

Free Will comes First

Chris Fuchs

QBism and Danny Greenberger’s Big Red Button

Jan Broersen

A stit-logic approach to agency, power and opportunity in Newtonian time and space

10:15 - 10:45
- Coffee -
- Coffee -
- Coffee -
10:45 - 12:00

Toni Acín 

What can and cannot be said about randomness using quantum physics

Justus Piater

From Machine Learning to Agency

Huw Price

What Ramsey got right

12:00 - 13:30

Conference Reception

- Lunch -

- Lunch -
- Lunch -
- Lunch -
13:30 - 14:45

Hans Briegel and

 Thomas Müller


Andrew Briggs

The Unreasonable

Effectiveness of Curiosity


- Social Program- 




Vedran Dunjko

Quantum artificial intelligence

14:45 - 15:15
- Coffee -
- Coffee -
- Coffee -

15:15 - 16:30

Verena Wagner

Philosophical Debates on Agency

Erasmus Mayr

Doing nothing: Responsibility for omissions

Pim Haselager

The senses of agency: processes, distortions and implementations

16:30 - 17:00
- Coffee -
- Coffee -

17:00 - 18:15

 Kasia Paprzycka

Actions, Omissions, Events: In Defense of Externalism

 Robert Kane

The Complex Tapestry of Free Will Revisited: Control, Freedom and Will


- Conference Dinner -



The chairs of the sessions are:

Tue afternoon: Katja Ried (Innsbruck)

Wed morning: Cord Friebe (Konstanz / Bonn)

Wed afternoon: Thomas Müller (Konstanz)

Thu morning: Marius Backmann (Konstanz)

Fri morning: Daniel Wehinger (Innsbruck)

Fri afternoon: Hans Briegel (Innsbruck)


The book of abstracts is now available and can be downloaded by clicking here.


 The conference takes place at the University of Konstanz, room Y311.

Information on how to get to the university campus, and a map of the university campus with the conference venue (building Y), can be found here.



Hotels for invited participants have been booked and will be assigned to the speakers directly.

Other attendees are advised to book their accommodation early, and this can be done via Konstanz's official booking site:
http://www.konstanz-tourismus.de/ .

Note that Konstanz is a very popular tourist destination. If you wish to make individual arrangements, we advise you to book your hotel rooms well in advance.

Travel information


The nearest airports are the small regional airport of Friedrichshafen (with regular train and boat connections to Konstanz), Germany, and the international airport of Zurich, Switzerland (with regular direct train connections to Konstanz).

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