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Gino Tarozzi

  • assesseur of the Conseil Académique
  • Acadèmie Internationale de Philosophie des Sciences
  • 1PublicationsNumber of items in Gino's My Publications folder on Mendeley.
  • 2Followers

Research interests

Foundations of Quantum Physics

About

Gino Tarozzi (Bologna, 1954) philosopher of science and non standard quantum theoretician, has investigated the relationship between physics and epistemology, showing the success of a reformulation of the main metaphysical assumptions in the history of philosophy, like realism, causality, holism, nothing, and mind-body problem, in terms of empirical meaningful philosophical principles, that can be usefully compared with the descriptions of the world provided by fundamental physical theories. He carried out his academic studies with two masters of the Bologna Alma Mater Studiorum: Alberto Pasquinelli, philosopher of science, pupil of Rudolf Carnap, and Antonio Pignedoli, distinguished scholar of classical analytical mechanics, in his youth deputy of the Constituent Assembly, who was very critical of the standard subjectivist interpretation of quantum mechanics. Tarozzi was thus influenced both by the anti metaphysical approach of the former and by the latter’s yearning for a realistic and causal interpretation of quantum mechanics: Accordingly, he studied the philosophy of physics, focusing on the open problems of quantum mechanics on the one hand, and on general questions in the theory of knowledge on the other. He received his degree in philosophy in 1977, upon discussing a thesis on the foundations of quantum theory. At that time he had already already begun to work together with one of the most authoritative scholars of foundations of quantum mechanics, the theoretical physicist Franco Selleri, with whom he subsequently developed a research program that shed new light on some crucial connections between physics and philosophy. He became then acquainted with the philosopher Evandro Agazzi, and was deeply influenced by his idea that philosophy of science cannot be restricted to the formal and linguistic problems of theories, but should tackle problems of content and of natural philosophy as well. The philosophy of physics should study both the epistemological foundations of theories and their philosophical implications. On the other hand, and this is his new proposal, those philosophical questions may be analyzed in a non-metaphysical way by applying the neopositivistic criteria of meaning: for, although they failed as a demarcation of scientific propositions, they allow the reformulation of some metaphysical propositions as philosophical principles endowed with empirical meaning. In 1985 Tarozzi begun his collaboration with the University of Urbino, organizing one of the main international congresses for the 50th anniversary of the Einstein, Podolsky, Rosen paradox (EPR), a subject he has always been particularly interested in, and “to the examination of which has made a substantial and original contribution” according to the collegial judgement expressed in 1987 by the commission of the competition for associate professor of Complements of General Physics, from which he withdrew his candidature having been approved in the meantime winner in another competition for professor of Philosophy of Science. With the result of this, the Urbino University appointed him as associate professor in Philosophy of Science (1987-93), then full professor in Logic and Philosophy of Science in 1994. In earlier years he served as Chairman of the Corso di laurea (B.A. program) in philosophy (1995-98), Head of the Institute of Philosophy “Arturo Massolo” (1998-2004), Coordinator of the Dottorato di Ricerca (Ph.D. program) in Philosophical Anthropology and Foundations of the Sciences (2001-2009) Chairman of the Corso di studi specialistico (M.A. program) in Theories of Knowledge, Morals and Communication (2004-05), Head of the Faculty of Literature and Philosophy (2005-09) and of the new Department of Philosophy (2009-10) of the Urbino University. Within this University he has gathered one of the prominent groups of research in the philosophy of science, and especially in the foundations of quantum physics. Members of this group are Vincenzo Fano, appointed to a second chair of Philosophy of Science, with whom he is fruitfully cooperating for several years, Mario Alai, professor of Theoretical Philosophy, Claudio Calosi, lecturer of Philosophy of Nature, Pierluigi Graziani, lecturer of Logic and Informatic, Isabella Tassani, lecturer of History of Science, and moreover Alexander Afriat, now maitre de conference in Philosophy at the University of Brest, Gennaro Auletta professor of Philosophy of Science at the Cassino University, Giulia Giannini, researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, Flavia Marcacci, professor of History of Scientific Thought at the Pontifical Lateran University. As was recently pointed out by Evandro Agazzi: "My contacts with Urbino were further consolidated after the arrival in this University of Gino Tarozzi, a philosopher of science who carried out important studies in the field of philosophy of physics and who, in particular, shares with me a realist conception of science. (...) On these occasions I also had the opportunity to know and appreciate some of his valuable collaborators and disciples, which ensure a continuity in this University in the field of philosophy of science that, despite appearances, it is not easy to achieve in most Italian universities”. From 1995 to 2000, and again since 2005, he has been the Director of the Centre for Research in the Philosophy and Foundations of Physics of the Universities of Bologna, Insubria, Salento and Urbino. Tarozzi is corresponding member of the Accademia Nazionale di Scienze, Lettere e Arti of Mutina (1989-), of the Accademia delle Scienze dell'Istituto of Bologna (1994-), and of the New York Academy of Sciences (1997-), permanent member (2009-) and from 2011 assesseur of the Académie Internationale de Philosophie des Sciences (AIPS). From 1996 to 1999 he chaired the Società Italiana di Logica e Filosofia delle Scienze (SILFS). His researches contributed to the critical analysis and conceptual clarification of some of the foundational problems still unsolved in the standard interpretation of quantum theory of the schools of Copenhagen and Göttingen. They cluster around three main questions: (a) the interpretation of the wave function, and the related problem of the dual behaviour of microphysical objects; (b) the theories of measurement and the postulate of reduction of the wave function, along with the problems concerning the formal description of measurement instruments in quantum formalism; (c) the incompatibility, displayed by the EPR argument and Bell’s theorem, between the empirical prescriptions of the principle of local reality and the predictions of quantum theory. Concerning the interpretation of the wave function, he rejected Born’s probabilistic and corpuscular approach, developing some ideas originally due to de Broglie and Selleri and suggesting a new realistic interpretation based on “quantum waves” endowed with merely relational properties. He then conceived some experiments able to discriminate between such a realistic interpretation and the orthodox one. More recently he has proposed with Gennaro Auletta a “crucial” experiment where wave-like properties are associated to “entangled” states, so that a denial of the physical reality of quantum waves would imply the disappearance of EPR correlations, thus shedding new light on the connections between the wave-particle dualism and Bell’s theorem. On the Einstein-Bell contradiction he suggested an extension of the validity domain of Bell’s theorem, showing that Bell’s inequality is satisfied also by the best known non-local theories, like Newtonian dynamics and de Broglie’s and Bohm’s hidden variables theories; he has found some proofs of the EPR paradox and Bell’s theorem based only on the principle of local reality, with no need of hidden variables; he criticized Clauser and Horn’s probabilistic proof of Bell’s theorem. In further works, some of which in cooperation with Franco Selleri, he has shown how a probabilistic proof of Bell’s theorem may be given without recourse to the factorizability hypothesis, thus avoiding Clauser and Horne’s (and many other authors’) unjustified identification between statistical independence and the physical notion of separability. As it was stressed by Karl Popper in 1985: "F. Selleri and G. Tarozzi found a model that satisfies Bell's definition of locality but not the Clauser-Horne definition of locality (also known as the 'factorizability condition'); this seems to show again that Clauser and Horne have not established the Universality Claim." In order to do so, he defined physical reality without using the notion of predictability with certainty, thus providing a probabilistic generalization of EPR’s criterion. Of the measurement problem he mainly discussed some epistemological aspects, with particular regard to the mind-body problem, negative result measurements, and the implications of macrorealistic theories, showing that even a satisfactory physico-mathematical account of the reduction process would still leave unsolved the more serious problem of the entangled superposition states. He also studied the epistemological and methodological aspects of measuring and experimental instruments in the history of classical mechanics and electromagnetism. These foundational researches are based on his reformulation of the demarcation criterion, allowing for philosophical sentences that are meaningful, but non-falsifiable. Cases in point are - the realistic hypothesis of Lewis “If all minds disappear from the universe, stars still go on on their courses”, analyzed in “Testability and Meaning” by Carnap, who highlighted how this was a statement satisfying the most stringent requirements of factual significance since it is testable, albeit incompletely; - the EPR principle of physical reality, indirectly veriafiable, according to the definition given by Alfred Ayer, who remarked in a letter to Tarozzi of 1981 “I agree you have shown the possibility to obtain non trivial empirical consequences from what you choose to call a realist philosophical hypothesis, but I am non persuaded that your result could be interpreted by an instrumentalist accordig to his own fashion” -the probabilistic generalizations of EPR principle. In a similar way Tarozzi has shown that there are at least four formulations of the principle of causality endowed with empirical meaning and contradicting the orthodox interpretation of quantum theory: Laplace’ determinism, causality as lawfulness according to Kant’s second analogy of experience, Mill’s principle of the uniformity of nature, and Hume’s causality as ordered connection which excludes any reversal of the temporal order. Moreover, he analyzed the mind-body problem with respect to von Neumann’s and Wigner’s subjectivistic interpretation, pointing out the paradoxical consequences of orthodox quantum mechanics and the need of alternative theories.

Followers (2)

Following (3)

Publications (1)

  • List of articles and books (1978-2009)

    • G. Tarozzi
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Professional experience

assesseur of the Conseil Académique

Acadèmie Internationale de Philosophie des Sciences

April 2011 - Present

permanent member

Acadèmie Internationale de Philosophie des Sciences

September 2009 - Present

director

Centre for Research in the Philosophy and Foundations of Physics of the Universities of Bologna "Alma Mater Studiorum", Insubria, Salento and Urbino "Carlo Bo"

September 2006 - Present

corresponding member

New York Academy of Sciences

April 1997 - Present

full professor of Logic and Philosophy of science

University of Urbino "Carlo Bo"

November 1994 - Present

corresponding member

Accademia delle scienze dell'istituto di Bologna

July 1994 - Present

corresponding member

Accademia nazionale di scienze, lettere e arti di Modena

February 1989 - Present

head

Department of Philosophy

May 2009 - December 2010(2 years)

dean

Faculty of Literature and Philosophy

November 2005 - May 2009(4 years)

chairman

Faculty Board (M.A. program) in Theories of Knowledge, Morals and Communication

October 2004 - October 2005(a year)

coordinator

Dottorato di Ricerca (Ph.D. program) in Philosophical Anthropology and Foundations of Sciences

April 2001 - October 2005(5 years)

head

Institute of Philosophy “Arturo Massolo”

November 1998 - October 2004(6 years)

vice president

Italian Society for Logic and Philosophy of Science (SILFS)

April 1999 - May 2002(3 years)

director

School of Advanced Studies in The Foundations and Philosophy of Physics

September 1998 - September 2000(2 years)

director

Centre for Research in the Philosophy and Foundations of Physics of the Universities of Bologna and Urbino

April 1995 - September 2000(5 years)

president

Italian Society for Logic and Philosophy of Science (SILFS)

February 1996 - March 1999(3 years)

head of the local operative unit

C.N.R. research project of the Universities of Bologna, Florence, Urbino

February 1995 - May 1998(3 years)

chairman

Faculty Board (B.A. program) in Philosophy

February 1995 - February 1998(3 years)

national coordinator

joint research project of the Universities of Bologna, Chieti and Urbino

January 1994 - November 1997(4 years)

associate professor of Philosophy of science

Faculty of Literature and Philosophy, University of Urbino

June 1988 - November 1994(6 years)

local coordinator

operative unit of the MURST 40% research group (national coordinator A. Pasquinelli)

January 1991 - November 1993(3 years)

researcher

Istituto per i Beni Culturali della Regione Emilia Romagna

June 1978 - June 1988(10 years)

lecturer of History of philosophy

Faculty of Education , University of Urbino

November 1985 - June 1987(2 years)

lecturer of Contemporary philosophy

Faculty of Literature and Philosophy, University of Perugia

November 1977 - June 1981(4 years)