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Master class on Agency and (quantum) physics  

AQP2016: Master class


The master class on ‘Agency and (quantum) physics’ will take place in Konstanz, Germany, from 19-20 September 2016. The master class will introduce students from physics, philosophy, and computer science/AI to the issue of agency, bringing them up to speed for the discussions at the AQP2016 conference. The conference immediately follows the master class. Participants of the master class are expected to attend the conference.

The master class will consist of the following four sessions:

1. Jesse Mulder (Utrecht University):
Limited indeterminism

What does it mean to say that the future is open? In this philosophical exploration, we contrast two very different ways of understanding indeterminism: a static-global one, and a dynamic-local one. We trace out the implications of both conceptions for our general understanding of objects, causality, and time.

2. Vedran Dunjko and Tim Räz (University of Innsbruck, University of Konstanz): 
The Projective Simulation (PS) model for learning agents

The PS model is a novel approach to modelling learning agents, which is inspired by fundamental physical processes. We will cover the basics of this model and its connections to physics. Following this we will use the model as a case study to explore the relations between the notions of agency, control and learning.

3. Josef Quitterer and Daniel Wehinger (University of Innsbruck):
What is Agency?

In contemporary philosophy of action, different concepts of agency can be found. In order to get a better understanding of the current debate, we will draw several distinctions. We will discuss the most important philosophical models of action, as well as the relation between agency and consciousness. This will allow us to get a clearer view of what philosophers mean when they speak of agency. 

4. Rüdiger Schack (Royal Holloway, University of London):
QBism - quantum mechanics for agents

QBism is an approach to quantum theory which is grounded in the personalist conception of probability pioneered by Ramsey, de Finetti and Savage. According to QBism, a quantum state represents an agent's personal degrees of belief regarding the consequences of her actions on her external world. The quantum formalism provides consistency criteria that enable the agent to make better decisions. This session gives an introduction to QBism with a particular emphasis on the role of the agent.

The four sessions will be held in seminar format, with a lot of time for questions and discussions. The master class will be taught in English.

AQP2016 the main conference of the project Agency and (quantum) physics. For details of the project Agency and (quantum) physics, see our web-page. The conference is funded by the Templeton World Charity Foundation. 

Master class programme


Masterclass Programme 
  Monday, Sept. 19 Tuesday, Sept. 20
9:00 - 9:30 Introduction  
9:30 - 10:30

Jesse M. Mulder: 

Limited indeterminism

10:30 - 11:00

10:30 - 12:00

Rüdiger Schack:

QBism - quantum mechanics for agents

11:00 - 11:30 Coffee break
11:30 - 13:00

Vedran Dunjko & Tim Räz: 

The Projective Simulation (PS)
model for learning agents

AQP2016 conference


13:00 - 14:30 Lunch                                            
14:30 - 16:00

Josef Quitterer & Daniel Wehinger:

What is Agency? 

 16:00 -  Evening programme








Participation and registration

The master class is intended for master and PhD students, but also advanced bachelor students.

The four sessions will be in seminar format, with emphasis on discussions. Upon acceptance, to help you prepare, we will provide you with supporting reading material. You will be asked to read 1-2 papers for each session in advance and to prepare for the discussions.

The master class has a limited capacity. If you would like to attend, please submit an application containing the following information: 1. Name, 2. Contact information, 3. Academic affiliation, 4. CV, 5. A brief letter stating your interest in the master class. Please submit your application in a single pdf file to aqp2016@uni-konstanz.de, with the subject line Application Master Class aqp2016.

Applications should be sent by July 26. A notification of acceptance will be sent by August 3.

The fee for the master class is EUR 120, including coffee, lunch, and the conference package. Please indicate if you would like to be considered for a fee waiver and travel reimbursement.

You will receive a certificate of participation.


The master class 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.



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).