Antonio Vassallo, PhD

Philosopher of physics, assistant professor at the Department of Philosophy and Ethics in Administration. He is the coordinator of the Philosophy of Physics group at the International Center for Formal Ontology. He is also the principal investigator in the research project Self-subsisting structures in quantum gravity, funded by the Polish National Science Centre (OPUS grant 2019/33/B/HS1/01772).

Areas of Specialization

  • Philosophy of spacetime physics
  • Philosophy of quantum physics

Areas of Competence

  • Philosophy of science
  • Metaphysics
  • Epistemology
  • Logic

Education

  • 2013 Ph.D. in Philosophy, University of Lausanne and University of Warsaw.
    • Dissertation title: The Metaphysics of Quantum Gravity: A Causal Approach.
    • Supervisors: Michael Esfeld, Tomasz Bigaj.
    • External referees: Gordon Belot, Tim Maudlin, Christian Wüthrich.
  • 2005 Laurea (B.Sc. + M.Sc.) in Physics, University of Catania.

Experience

  • 2020– Assistant Professor, Warsaw University of Technology, Department of Philosophy and Ethics in Administration.
  • 2017–2019 Juan de la Cierva Fellow, University of Barcelona, Faculty of Philosophy.
  • 2016–2017 Lecturer, University of Warsaw, Institute of Philosophy.
  • 2013–2016 SNSF Research Fellow, University of Lausanne, Section of Philosophy.
  • 2013–2015 Research Coordinator, University of Lausanne, Section of Philosophy, and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Institute of Theoretical Physics.
  • 2008–2013 Doctoral Researcher, University of Lausanne, Section of Philosophy, and University of Warsaw, Institute of Philosophy.
  • 2006–2008 Science Writer, www.tifeoweb.it, Italy.

Publications

  1. T. Bigaj, A. Vassallo. How Humean is Bohumianism? Foundations of Physics, 2020. DOI 10.1007/s10701-020-00361-5.
  2. A. Vassallo. Dependence relations in general relativity. European Journal for Philosophy of Science, 2019. DOI 10.1007/s13194-019-0265-5 .
  3. A. Vassallo. Review of ‘Philosophy of physics: Quantum theory’ by T. Maudlin (Princeton University Press, 2019). Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, 2019.
  4. A. Vassallo and C. Hoefer. The metaphysics of Machian frame-dragging. In C. Beisbart, T. Sauer, and C. Wüthrich, editors, Thinking about space and time, Einstein Studies. Birkhäuser, 2019.
  5. M. Esfeld, D.-A. Deckert, D. Lazarovici, A. Oldofredi, and A. Vassallo. A minimalist ontology of the natural world. Routledge, 2018.
  6. A. Vassallo, D.-A. Deckert, and M. Esfeld. Relationalism about mechanics based on a minimalist ontology of matter. European Journal for Philosophy of Science, 7(2):299–318, 2017.
  7. A. Vassallo and M. Esfeld. Leibnizian relationalism for general relativistic physics. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 55:101–107, 2016.
  8. A. Vassallo. A metaphysical reflection on the notion of background in modern spacetime physics. In L. Felline, A. Ledda, F. Paoli, and E. Rossanese, editors, New Directions in Logic and the Philosophy of Science, pages 349–365. College Publications, 2016.
  9. A. Vassallo and P. H. Ip. On the conceptual issues surrounding the notion of relational Bohmian dynamics. Foundations of Physics, 46(8):943–972, 2016.
  10. A. Vassallo. Can Bohmian mechanics be made background independent?. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 52:242–250, 2015.
  11. A. Vassallo and M. Esfeld. On the importance of interpretation in quantum physics: A reply to Elise Crull. Foundations of Physics, 45(12):1533–1536, 2015.
  12. A. Vassallo. General covariance, diffeomorphism invariance, and background independence in 5 dimensions. In T. Bigaj and C. Wüthrich, editors, Metaphysics in Contemporary Physics, pages 237–258. Brill/Rodopi, 2015.
  13. A. Vassallo and M. Esfeld. A proposal for a Bohmian ontology of quantum gravity. Foundations of Physics, 44(1):1–18, 2014.
  14. M. Esfeld and A. Vassallo. From quantum gravity to classical phenomena. In T. Sauer and A. Wüthrich, editors, New Vistas on Old Problems: Recent Approaches to the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, volume 3 of Proceedings, pages 35–57. Max Planck Research Library for the History and Development of Knowledge, 2013.

Grants, Fellowships, and Awards

  • 2020–2022 OPUS research grant, National Science Centre, Poland.
  • 2020–2025 Stimulus research grant (principal researcher level), Foundation for Science and Technology, Portugal.
  • 2017–2019 Juan de la Cierva-incorporación fellowship, Ministry of Science, Innovation, and Universities, Spain.
  • 2017–2019 SONATA research grant, National Science Centre, Poland.
  • 2013–2016 Post-doctoral fellowship, Swiss National Science Foundation.
  • 2014–2015 Research grant, Unil/EPFL Collaborative Research on Science and Society.
  • 2012 Research subsidy, Foundation for the University of Lausanne.
  • 2010–2011 Sciex-NMSch fellowship, Rectors’ Conference of the Swiss Universities.
  • Notes: 
    • Qualified for the second stage of evaluation in the 2018 call of the ERC starting grant.
    • Stimulus grant turned down due to incompatibility with OPUS grant.
    • SONATA grant turned down due to incompatibility with Juan de la Cierva fellowship.

Recent Talks

  • 21/01/2020 Does general relativity highlight necessary connections in nature?, philosophy seminar, Warsaw University of Technology.
  • 12/11/2019 Towards an ontology of quantum gravity, philosophy seminar, Warsaw University of Technology.
  • 27/09/2019 Some critical remarks on relational quantum mechanics, IV POND conference: “Science and objectivity”, Barcelona.
  • 30/05/2019 On the nomic status of the Einstein field equations, workshop “What does mathematics tell us about the physical world?”, Prague.
  • 25/02/2019 Dependence relations in general relativity, FraMEPhys Colloquium, Birmingham.
  • 29/11/2018 A primitive ontology for quantum spacetime, workshop “New topics in quantum foundations”, Lausanne.
  • 28/11/2018 A primitive ontology for quantum spacetime, conference “The origins and evolution of space-time”, Vatican City.
  • 28/07/2018 How Humean is Bohumianism?, conference “Humeanisms”, Budapest, (with T. Bigaj).
  • 16/03/2018 Can grounding help to solve the hole problem in general relativity?, conference “The logic and metaphysics of ground”, Glasgow.
  • 16/01/2018 Comment on “Constitutive principles, analyticity and explanation in spacetime theories”, workshop on explanation and realism in physical and biomedical sciences, Barcelona.
  • 14/09/2017 Grounding as metaphysical causation in spacetime physics, conference “Thinking about space and time”, Bern.
  • 19/07/2017 Relationalism motivated by a parsimonious ontology of matter, 5th International summer school in philosophy of physics, Saig, (with M. Esfeld).
  • 28/06/2017 Grounding as metaphysical causation in spacetime physics, 3rd international conference “Philosophy of quantum gravity”, Geneva.
  • 23/06/2017 Grounding as metaphysical causation in spacetime physics, Triennial international conference of the Italian society for logic and philosophy of science, Bologna.

Teaching

  • 2017–2019 Foundations of philosophy of science.
    • Master in Analytic Philosophy, Universitay of Barcelona, Faculty of Philosphy.
  • 2016–2017 Philosophical problems in physics.
    • I year Philosophy Studies in English, University of Warsaw, Institute of Philosophy.
  • 2016–2017 Ontology.
    • II year Philosophy Studies in English, University of Warsaw, Institute of Philosophy.
  • 2016–2017 Logic.
    • I year English Studies, University of Warsaw, Institute of English Studies.
  • 2016–2017 The metaphysics of laws of nature.
    • Graduate seminar, University of Warsaw, Institute of Philosophy.
  • 2013–2016 Philosophical perspectives on the exact sciences and their history.
    • SHS Master Projects, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne.
  • 2012–2013 Structures in mathematics, physics and philosophy.
    • Graduate seminar, University of Warsaw, Institute of Philosophy.
  • 2012–2013 Philosophical foundations of special sciences.
    • I year Philosophy Studies in English, University of Warsaw, Institute of Philosophy.
  • 2009–2010 Analytic philosophy.
    • III year Philosophy Studies in English, University of Warsaw, Institute of Philosophy.

Miscellaneous

  • 2020– Member of the International Center for Formal Ontology, Poland
  • 2017–2019 Senior member of LOGOS Research Group in Analytic Philosophy, Spain.
  • 2017–2019 Senior member of the Barcelona Institute of Analytic Philosophy, Spain.
  • Expert reviewer for the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and the Research Grants Council (RGC) of Hong Kong.
  • Reviewer for Foundations of Physics, Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Erkenntnis, Synthese, Foundations of Science, Journal of the American Philosophical Association, Philosophia Scientiae, Kairos, Filozofia Nauki, Theoria.
  • 2014-2017 Discussion group organizer and leader for the Saig summer school in philosophy of physics.

Profiles