The Vienna Circle and its Philosophy

The next Naturwissenschaftscafé will take place on Friday 21st April at 6pm at Strudlhofgasse 4. The topic will be the Vienna Circle and its philosophy.

Please read into to material provided below to prepare for the meeting.

Level 1
To get an overview of the Vienna Circle just have a look at the Wikipedia article:

Level 2
For a bit more background there are some sources I can suggest you to look into:

Interview of A.J. Ayer on Logical Positivism and its Legacy :

Prof. Christian Damböck, who also held a talk on the Symposium, wrote a book about the Vienna Circle (Ausgewählte Texte des wiener Kreis). He published a postface which I strongly suggest you to read (unfortunately in German): Nachwort zu Ausgewählte texte des wiener Kreis:

Level 3
For those of you, that really want to spend more time learning about the Vienna Circle, read the following:

Book (which I will bring with me to the NWC): Sie nannten sich der Wiener Kreis, exaktes denken am rande des Untergangs by Karl Sigmund

and the article of Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

How to choose the right Quantum Interpretation: Macrorealism, Contextuality and Decoherence

The next NWC will be held upcoming Friday 7th April at 6pm at the faculty of physics in Strudlhofgasse 4.

First, I would like you to revisit the materials from last time about Bells Inequality and local realism. Also Flavio already included nice material about Leggett-Garg Inequalities and macrorealism.

Second, here are my resources:

Level 1: I will cover basically the Legget-Garg and Kochen-Specker Theorems and how they could be experimentally tested to rule out certain QM Interpretations similar to Bell’s Inequality and local realism. A good starting point:

Level 2: Kofler and Bruckner have written a nice comparison between Bell and L-G, also thinking about experiments that violate macrorealism:
And (my all-time favorite) Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has a review over Kochen-Specker and it’s implications:

Level Experimental Metaphysics:
Well, in one meeting we probably won’t have time to cover more, but for the sake of completeness on experimental tests of quantum foundations, one has to add the current notion of decoherence as most promising solution to the measurement problem. Also this gives an idea why the many-worlds interpretation gains momentum right now.

Here is a recent overview of how decoherence relates to different interpretations:

And the legendary lecture of Harvard Professor Sidney Coleman “Quantum Mechanics in your Face”:

Non-Locality and Macroscopic Realism

At our next meeting on 23rd March at 8pm we will discuss the topic of non-locality and macroscopic realism in quantum mechanics and its philosophical implications. For this please have a look into the material provided below. There are different levels you can choose from.

Level 1
Read the Presentation on non-locality and macrosopic realism and have a look at the basis of Bell’s theorem as a background.

Level 2
Read the more in in-depth paper on Condition for macroscopic realism beyond the Leggett-Garg inequalities.

Level 3
Read the full contemplation on Bell’s Inequalities: Foundations and Quantum Communication.

The Theory of Memes

Our next meeting will be held on 9. January 2017 at 8pm in the Café der Provinz.
There Annie will present the theory of memes.

Please prepare and read and go through the provided information below.

Level 1
or watch this video

Level 2
or with this video with some additional theory

Level 3
Read the book Dawkins – The Selfish Gene for more detaild information

Gain-of-Function research

At our next meeting on 12.12. we will discus the topic of gain-of-function research.

Before going into the problem, I would like to remind you that my aim in presenting this topic is not to talk about details of procedures in this type of research, but rather to make it possible for you to have an ethical discussion on its justifiability.

Level 1
Read this short blog entry on GoF research giving little introduction, but focusing mainly on issues of publicizing these studies.

Read this article explaining a bit of general aspects of GoF research and also giving suggestions on how the EU should approach the issue.

Level 2
Read this summary of a workshop held in 2014 explaining background, benefits and risks in a bit more detail.

Level 3
Listen to this very long, very detailed Gain of Function Symposium held in March 2016, explaining and discussing very many details on the subject. (If you really want to listen to someone explaining the issue, I would suggest watching the session2:overview and/or the workshop summary video)

Or read the also very long transcript of days 1 and 2 of the symposium.

P vs. NP Problem

At our next meeting on 28th November we will discuss the P vs. NP problem of complexity theory presented by Thomas Zauner. There are several levels of readings.

Level 1
Watch this video explaining the basics about the P vs. NP problem and complexity theory.

Level 2a
Read this article explaining not only the concepts, but also shedding some light on recent developments in research.

Level 2b
Watch these excellent and well explained lecture video on an introduction complexity.
(For further studies see:

Level 3
For further reading consult the always-insightful Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy.