Lam, Vincent

Chair holder - Chair of Excellence in Philosophy of Quantum Physics
SNSF Assistant Professor at the University of Bern (from Jan 2019) - Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Queensland.


A PhD student and a postdoctoral collaborator will join the Chair in 2019 and 2020. 

Collaborations in Grenoble include:
-       Aléxia Auffèves (Institut Néel, UGA)
-       Aurélien Barreau (Laboratoire de Physique Subatomique et de Cosmologie, UGA)
-       Cyril Branciard (Institut Néel, UGA)
-       Aurélien Drézet (Institut Néel, UGA)
-       Stéphanie Ruphy (PPL, UGA  & Institut de Recherches Philosophiques de Lyon)

Research areas

  • Philosophy and foundations of physics
  • Philosophy of science
  • Metaphysics
  • Epistemology

Project ‘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 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 suggestion about the quantum entanglement structure being ontologically on a par or even more fundamental than the spacetime 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.
The following positions will be soon advertised in relation to this project: 
3-year PhD position - CLOSED
1-year postdoc position.


Peer-reviewed journal articles
  • (2017) Lam, V. Structuralism in the philosophy of physics. Philosophy Compass, 12: e12421. [ABSTRACT]
  •  (2017) Egg, M., Lam, V. and Oldofredi, A. Particles, Cutoffs and Inequivalent Representations. Foundations of Physics 47: 453-466. [ABSTRACT, PREPRINT]
  • (2017) Esfeld, M., Lazarovici, D., Lam, V. and Hubert, M. The Physics and Metaphysics of Primitive Stuff. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68: 133-161. [ABSTRACT, PREPRINT]
  •  (2015) Lam, V. Primitive ontology and quantum field theory. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 5: 387-397. [ABSTRACT, PREPRINT]
  • (2015) Lam, V. and Wu?thrich, C. No categorial support for radical ontic structural realism. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66: 605-634. [ABSTRACT, PREPRINT]
  •  (2014) Lam, V. Entities without intrinsic physical identity. Erkenntnis 79: 1157-1171. [ABSTRACT, PREPRINT]
  • (2013) Lam, V. The entanglement structure of quantum field systems. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27: 59-72. [ABSTRACT, PREPRINT]
  • (2013) Lam, V. and Esfeld, M. A dilemma for the emergence of spacetime in canonical quantum gravity. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44: 286-293. [ABSTRACT, PREPRINT]
  • (2012) Lam, V. and Esfeld, M. The structural metaphysics of quantum theory and general relativity. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 43: 243-258. [ABSTRACT]
  •  (2011) Lam, V. Gravitational and non-gravitational energy: the need for background structures. Philosophy of Science 78: 1012-1023. [ABSTRACT, PREPRINT]
  • (2008) Esfeld, M. and Lam, V. Moderate structural realism about space-time. Synthese 160: 27-46. [ABSTRACT, PREPRINT]
  • (2007) Lam, V. The singular nature of space-time. Philosophy of Science 74:712-723. [ABSTRACT, PREPRINT]
  •  (2005) Lam, V. Causation and Space-time. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 27: 483-499.
Peer-reviewed articles in edited volumes
  • (2015) Lam, V. Quantum structure and spacetime. In T. Bigaj and C. Wu?thrich (eds.), Metaphysics in Contemporary Physics. New York: Rodopi, 209-228.
  • (2014) Lam, V. Protective measurements and the status of the wave function within the primitive ontology approach. In S. Gao (ed.), Protective Measurement and Quantum Reality : Toward a New Understanding of Quantum Mechanics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 195-210.
  • (2008) Lam, V. Structural aspects of the singular feature of space-time. In D. Dieks (ed.), Ontology of Spacetime. Philosophy and Foundations of Physics Series. Vol. 2. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 111-131.

Invited articles in edited volumes
  • (2013) Lam, V. Aspects structuraux de l’espace-temps dans la théorie de la relativité générale. In S. Le Bihan (ed.), Précis de Philosophie de la Physique. Paris: Vuibert, 204-221.
  • (2011) Esfeld, M. and Lam, V. Ontic structural realism as a metaphysics of objects. In P. Bokulich and A. Bokulich (eds.), Scientific Structuralism. Dordrecht: Springer, 143-159.
  • (2010) Lam, V. Metaphysics of causation and physics of general relativity. In C. Calosi (ed.), Physics and Metaphysics. Pisa: Edizioni ETS, 61-80.
  • (2010) Esfeld, M. and Lam, V. Holism and structural realism. In R. Vanderbeeken and B. D’Hooghe (eds.), Worldviews, science and us: Studies of analytical metaphysics. A selection of topics from a methodological perspective. Singapore: World Scientific, 10-31.
  • (2009) Lam, V. Métaphysique de la causalité et physique de la relativité générale. Klesis 13, 106-122.
  • (2009) Esfeld, M. and Lam, V. Structures as the objects of fundamental physics. In U. Feest and H.-J. Rheinberger (eds.), Epistemic Objects. Max Planck Institute for the History of Science 374: 3-16.
  • (2006) Lam, V. Is a world only made up of relations possible? A structural realist point of view. In M. Esfeld (ed.), John Heil.

Invited book reviews
  • (2018) Lam, V. Review of ‘Naturgesetze in einer kausalen Welt’ by Andreas Bartels (Mu?nster: mentis, 2015). Forthcoming in Journal for General Philosophy of Science.
  • (2015) Lam, V. Review of ‘Discrete or Continuous? The Quest for Fundamental Length in Modern Physics’ by Amit Hagar (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014). Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
  • (2012) Lam, V. Review of ‘From Current Algebra to Quantum Chromodynamics’ by Tian Yu Cao (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010). Philosophy in Review 32: 447-449.
  • (2012) Lam, V. Review of ‘Geometric Possibility’ by Gordon Belot (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).

Published on March 25, 2018