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Arjun Khemani Podcast
#9 – Chiara Marletto: Knowledge, Constraints and Good Explanations

#9 – Chiara Marletto: Knowledge, Constraints and Good Explanations

Chiara is a quantum physicist and research fellow at Wolfson College, University of Oxford. Her research interests are at the foundations of physics. Together with David Deutsch she is the pioneer of constructor theory, a new mode of scientific explanation which expresses physical laws in terms of counterfactuals, i.e. what can and cannot happen.

She is the author of The Science of Can and Can’t subtitled “A Physicist’s Journey Through the Land of Counterfactuals” which is all about constructor theory and its implications.

We talk about Chiara’s lovely childhood that led to her developing an interest in fundamental physics, people being a force of nature, knowledge, instrumentalism, reductionism, information having physical properties, updates on constructor theory, productive constraints and more!

Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.


1:40 - Chiara’s childhood and why she came to do what she does today

11:44 - Man, a force in nature & what makes knowledge resilient

21:45 - In an information-less universe / why information and knowledge are physical (not abstract) entities

26:00 - Explanatory and non-explanatory knowledge

28:45 - How constructor theory has been received by the physics community so far

33:28 - Bad philosophy / instrumentalism and reductionism

45:17 - Constraints are good!

51:50 - Why Chiara isn’t on Twitter + closing remarks


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