Pascal is a first-year doctoral student at Western University. Before joining this program and the Rotman Institute, he obtained a BA in Philosophy from the University of Chile (Universidad de Chile), and an MSc in History and Philosophy of Science from Utrecht University. His main areas of interest are the foundations and philosophy of physics, the general philosophy of science, and the metaphysics of science. Pascal is currently focused on researching the nature of temporal correlations in quantum mechanics and their relation with their spatial counterparts from a quantum informational perspective. He sees the concept of time as a touchstone in the foundational puzzles of quantum mechanics and its intertheoretical relations with relativity, quantum gravity and thermodynamics. Pascal is also interested in the more general discussion about the metaphysics of time and the possibility of having multiple temporal arrows (in opposite directions). During his undergraduate degree, he worked on causation, laws of nature,scientific models & scientific representation, and the realism-antirealism debate.
My current interest lies in the foundations of physics, with a special emphasis on quantum mechanics and its intertheoretical relations with relativity,quantum gravity and thermodynamics. My goal is to delve into the nature of time, using some tools of quantum information theory, such as the process matrix formalism and the quantum causal models both based on the Choi-Jamiolkowski isomorphism. In this context, my aim is to understand whether quantum temporal correlations should be conceptualised in terms of causality, brute global correlations, or non-separability (and/or temporal holism), and to account for the physical consequences of these different views. Some research questions include: (a) Are there non-trivial correlations between quantum histories? Are they analogous to the spatial correlations exhibited, for example, in an EPR-Bohm scenario? Are there superpositions and interferences between quantum histories? Do temporal and spatial correlations share a common structure? (b) What is the physical and epistemic status of the process matrix formalism, the quantum causal models and the CJ-isomorphism? What can we learn from them about reality (if anything)? Are, in this context, temporal correlations causal, non-separable or global? What’s the difference between characterising them by means of these different concepts? Do these correlations exhibit a preferred temporal order? As the literature on this topic grows, I plan to extend my research project and find new and different ways to study the nature of time in quantum mechanics, as well as its interrelationship to space and quantum gravity. In my HPS master’s thesis at Utrecht (supervised by Ronnie Hermens, Guido Bacciagaluppi and F.A. Muller), I researched time-symmetric quantum theories in the block universe and argued that, granting some assumptions, if quantum mechanics ‘lives’ in the block universe, then there is a smooth and natural peaceful coexistence with special relativity through temporal global correlations across quantum histories. These temporal global correlations would be different from retrocausality (against Price) and action-at-a-temporal-distance (against Adlam), as they involve only brute correlations between measurement outcomes. I showed that such correlations are exhibited by time-symmetric collapse models (Bedingham and Maroney 2019). During my undergraduate studies, I interested myself both in the metaphysics of science and the general philosophy of science, with special emphasis on the debates concerning scientific realism and anti-realism, laws of nature, metaphysics of science, models and scientific representation. In my final research project, I defended an experimentalist approach to dispositionalism, and then I argued that causality, capacities (dispositions) and modality are just different conceptualizations to refer to the same physical phenomena –they are three angles of the same triangle. I developed this project in the context of a research assistantship for a governmental research grant in charge of Cristian Soto. During these years, I participated in the organisation of several academic events, and I co-founded the Philosophy of Sciences Studies Group of the University of Chile.
2018, Metaphysics (undergraduate), in charge of prof. Cristian Soto, University of Chile. [TA]