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Home > Archives > Past sponsored research projects > ERC Project Philosophy of Canonical Quantum Gravity

ERC Project Philosophy of Canonical Quantum Gravity


ERC (European Research Council) Project, principal investigator: Gabriel Catren

Contact : gabriel.catren(at)

Research Axes
Seminar "Philosophy
& mathematical physics"
Seminar "(Id)entity :: (Id)entification"
Calls for application
Practical Information


This research proposal addresses from a philosophical perspective one of the most important unsolved problem of theoretical physics, namely the formulation of a quantum theory of gravity. Quantum mechanics and Einstein’s theory of gravity—i.e. general relativity—are the two main revolutions of 20th century physics. These theories have radically challenged and modified our conceptions about time, space, motion, matter and causality. However, the formulation of an unanimously accepted and experimentally tested quantum theory of gravity capable of harmonizing these new insights in a consistent synthesis remains—since 1930s—an open problem. The state-of-the-art in the field of quantum gravity includes several more-or-less developed alternative approaches such as canonical quantum gravity—in both the geometrodynamical and loop versions—, superstring theory, non-commutative geometry, causal sets, etc. The absence of an experimental guidance for the quantization of gravity, the conceptual nature of some of the obstructions encountered by the different research programs, and the philosophical origin and scope of the problems to which both general relativity and quantum mechanics provided a provisional solution explain why philosophy can play a fundamental role in helping to accomplish this “unfinished revolution” (Rovelli). ...