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100 entries most recently downloaded from the archive "PhilSci Archive"

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  1. Vincenzo De Florio, Behavior, Organization, Substance: Three Gestalts of General Systems Theory.
    The term gestalt, when used in the context of gen- eral systems theory, assumes the value of “systemic touchstone”, namely a figure of reference useful to categorize the properties or qualities of a set of systems. Typical gestalts used, e.g., in biology, are those based on anatomical or physiological characteristics, which correspond respectively to architectural and organizational design choices in natural and artificial systems. In this paper we discuss three gestalts of general systems theory: behavior, organization, and substance, which refer (...)
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  2. John D. Norton, A Demonstration of the Incompleteness of Calculi of Inductive Inference.
    A complete calculus of inductive inference captures the totality of facts about inductive support within some domain of propositions as relations or theorems within the calculus. It is demonstrated that there can be no complete, non-trivial calculus of inductive inference.
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  3. Roberta L. Millstein, Thinking About Populations and Races in Time.
    Biologists and philosophers have offered differing concepts of biological race. That is, they have offered different candidates for what a biological correlate of race might be; for example, races might be subspecies, clades, lineages, ecotypes, or genetic clusters. One thing that is striking about each of these proposals is that they all depend on a concept of population. Indeed, some authors have explicitly characterized races in terms of populations. However, including the concept of population into concepts of race raises three (...)
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  4. Christian List, Levels: Descriptive, Explanatory, and Ontological.
    Scientists and philosophers frequently speak about levels of description, levels of explanation, and ontological levels. This paper presents a framework for studying levels. I give a general definition of a system of levels and discuss several applications, some of which refer to descriptive or explanatory levels while others refer to ontological levels. I illustrate the usefulness of this framework by bringing it to bear on some familiar philosophical questions. Is there a hierarchy of levels, with a fundamental level at the (...)
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  5. Michel Bitbol, Quantum Mechanics as Generalised Theory of Probabilities.
    It is argued that quantum mechanics does not have merely a predictive function like other physical theories; it consists in a formalisation of the conditions of possibility of any prediction bearing upon phenomena whose circumstances of detection are also conditions of production. This is enough to explain its probabilistic status and theoretical structure.
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  6. Neil Dewar, Sophistication About Symmetries.
    Suppose that one thinks that certain symmetries of a theory reveal “surplus structure”. What would a formalism without that surplus structure look like? The conventional answer is that it would be a reduced theory: a theory which traffics only in structures invariant under the relevant symmetry. In this paper, I argue that there is a neglected alternative: one can work with a sophisticated version of the theory, in which the symmetries act as isomorphisms.
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  7. Florian Boge, Ψ-Epistemic Models, Einsteinian Intuitions, and No-Gos. A Critical Study of Recent Developments on the Quantum State.
    Quantum mechanics notoriously faces the measurement problem, the problem that if read thoroughly, it implies the nonexistence of definite outcomes in measurement procedures. A plausible reaction to this and to related problems is to regard a system's quantum state |ψ> merely as an indication of our lack of knowledge about the system, i.e., to interpret it epistemically. However, there are radically different ways to spell out such an epistemic view of the quantum state. We here investigate recent developments in the (...)
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  8. David Wallace, What is Orthodox Quantum Mechanics?
    What is called ``orthodox'' quantum mechanics, as presented in standard foundational discussions, relies on two substantive assumptions --- the projection postulate and the eigenvalue-eigenvector link --- that do not in fact play any part in practical applications of quantum mechanics. I argue for this conclusion on a number of grounds, but primarily on the grounds that the projection postulate fails correctly to account for repeated, continuous and unsharp measurements and that the eigenvalue-eigenvector link implies that virtually all interesting properties are (...)
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  9. Florian Boge, On Modern Approaches to the Einsteinian View of Quantum States.
    Quantum mechanics notoriously faces the measurement problem, the problem that if read thoroughly, it implies the nonexistence of definite outcomes in measurement procedures. A plausible reaction to this and to related problems is to regard a system’s quantum state |ψ> merely as an indication of our lack of knowledge about the system, i.e., to interpret it epistemically. However, there are radically different ways to spell out such an epistemic view of the quantum state. We here investigate new developments in the (...)
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  10. Sarita Rosenstock, Guilt and Costly Apology: Calculations of Expected Return.
    This manuscript is intended as a technical supplement to Rosenstock and O'Connor. Calculations are presented for the expected return for strategic players of an iterated prisoner's dilemma which includes guilt-prone grim trigger players, who apologize when they accidentally defect, as well as fake apologizers who in fact act as defectors. See Rosenstock and O'Connor for a discussion of how the results presented here can be interpreted, using ESS analysis and exploring basins of attraction under the replicator dynamics, to help understand (...)
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  11. Alexander Franklin, Universality Explained.
    It is commonly claimed, both by physicists and philosophers that the universality of critical phenomena is explained through particular applications of the Renormalisation Group. This paper seeks to clarify this explanation. The derivation of critical exponents proceeds in two ways: via a real-space and via a momentum-space application of the RG. Following Mainwood I argue that these approaches ought to be distinguished: while fails adequately to explain universality, succeeds in the satisfaction of this goal. depends on various extensions to the (...)
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  12. Neil Dewar, Maxwell-Cartan Gravitation.
    In this paper, I build upon and extend Weatherall’s answer to the question posed by Saunders: “What is the relation between a theory of gravity formulated in Maxwell space-time and one based on Newton-Cartan space-time?” I do so by showing how one can give an explicit dynamics for Newtonian gravitation, without presupposing any more structure than that found in Maxwell spacetime. Doing so helps to further illuminate the relationship between geometrised and non-geometrised formulations of Newtonian gravitation.
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  13. Neil Dewar, What the Humean Cannot Say About Entanglement.
    There has recently been debate in the literature over whether the metaphysical doctrine popularly known as Humean supervenience can be reconciled—in whole or in part—with certain empirical facts about quantum entanglement. In this paper, I undertake a critical analysis of Humean efforts to effect such a reconciliation. I begin with a discussion of the relationship between Humeanism and quantum mechanics; I suggest that there are some difficulties even when considering single-particle quantum mechanics, but agree that the real problems come when (...)
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  14. Cailin O'Connor, Ambiguity is Kinda Good, Sometimes.
    Santana shows that in common interest signaling games when signals are costly and when receivers can observe contextual environmental cues, ambiguous signaling strategies outperform precise ones and can, as a result, evolve. In this note, I show that if one assumes realistic structure on the state space of a common interest signaling game, ambiguous strategies can be explained without appeal to contextual cues. I conclude by arguing that there are multiple types of cases of payoff beneficial ambiguity, some of which (...)
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  15. Justin Bruner, Cailin O'Connor, Hannah Rubin & Simon Huttegger, David Lewis in the Lab: An Experimental Study of Signaling Convention.
    In this paper we use an experimental approach to investigate how linguistic conventions can emerge in a society without explicit agreement. As a starting point we consider the signaling game introduced by Lewis. We find that in experimental settings, small groups can quickly develop conventions of signal meaning in these games. We also investigate versions of the game where the theoretical literature indicates that meaning will be less likely to arise---when there are more than two states for actors to transfer (...)
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  16. Cailin O'Connor, The Evolution of Guilt.
    Using evolutionary game theory, I consider how guilt can provide individual fitness benefits to actors both before and after bad behavior. This supplements recent work by philosophers on the evolution of guilt with a more complete picture of the relevant selection pressures.
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  17. Justin Bruner & Cailin O'Connor, Power, Bargaining, and Collaboration.
    Collaboration is increasingly popular across academia. Collaborative work raises certain ethical questions, however. How will the fruits of collaboration be divided? How will the work for the collaborative project be split? In this paper, we consider the following question in particular. Are there ways in which these divisions systematically disadvantage certain groups? We use evolutionary game theoretic models to address this question. First, we discuss results from O'Connor and Bruner showing that underrepresented groups in academia can be disadvantaged in collaboration (...)
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  18. Cailin O'Connor & Justin Bruner, Dynamics and Diversity in Epistemic Communities.
    Academics and other researchers regularly engage in strategic interactions---bargaining, cooperation, collaboration, etc. Given this strategic setting, we ask: how do the dynamics of social learning in epistemic communities influence outcomes of various actors? We focus, in particular, on minority groups in academia. As we show, evolutionary game theoretic models indicate that such actors may be disadvantaged through social learning. These dynamics, in turn, can impact the course of scientific inquiry and theory change by preventing the diversification of epistemic communities.
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  19. David Wallace, More Problems for Newtonian Cosmology.
    I point out a radical indeterminism in potential-based formulations of Newtonian gravity once we drop the condition that the potential vanishes at infinity. This indeterminism, which is well known in theoretical cosmology but has received little attention in foundational discussions, can be removed only by specifying boundary conditions at all instants of time, which undermines the theory's claim to be fully cosmological, i.e., to apply to the Universe as a whole. A recent alternative formulation of Newtonian gravity due to Saunders (...)
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  20. Andrea Oldofredi, Dustin Lazarovici, Dirk-André Deckert & Michael Esfeld, From the Universe to Subsystems: Why Quantum Mechanics Appears More Stochastic Than Classical Mechanics.
    By means of the examples of classical and Bohmian quantum mechanics, we illustrate the well-known ideas of Boltzmann as to how one gets from laws defined for the universe as a whole to dynamical relations describing the evolution of subsystems. We explain how probabilities enter into this process, what quantum and classical probabilities have in common and where exactly their difference lies.
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  21. Loris Serafino, Abiogenesis as a Theoretical Challenge: Chance and Directionality Through the Lens of Scientific Realism.
    In this paper I intend to reflect on the intellectual rationale underlying the origin of life scientific research efforts by reconsidering some of its conceptual premises and difficulties.
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  22. Joshua Norton, Loop Quantum Ontology: Spin-Networks and Spacetime.
    The ontological issues at stake given the theory of loop quantum gravity include the status of spacetime, the nature and reality of spin-networks, the relationship of classical spacetime to issues of causation and the status of the abstract-concrete distinction. I this paper I argue that, while spacetime seems to disappear, the spirit of substantival spacetime lives on under certain interpretations of the theory. Moreover, in order for there to be physical spin-networks, and not merely mathematical artifacts, I argue that we (...)
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  23. Luigi Scorzato, A Simple Model of Scientific Progress - with Examples.
    One of the main goals of scientific research is to provide a description of the empirical data which is as accurate and comprehensive as possible, while relying on as few and simple assumptions as possible. In this paper, I propose a definition of the notion of few and simple assumptions that is not affected by known problems. This leads to the introduction of a simple model of scientific progress that is based only on empirical accuracy and conciseness. An essential point (...)
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  24. H. G. Callaway (forthcoming). Fundamental Physics, Partial Models and Time’s Arrow. In L. Magnani (ed.), Proceedings of MBR2015. Springer
    This paper explores the scientific viability of the concept of causality—by questioning a central element of the distinction between “fundamental” and non-fundamental physics. It will be argued that the prevalent emphasis on fundamental physics involves formalistic and idealized partial models of physical regularities abstracting from and idealizing the causal evolution of physical systems. The accepted roles of partial models and of the special sciences in the growth of knowledge help demonstrate proper limitations of the concept of fundamental physics. We expect (...)
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  25. Loris Serafino, On the de Finetti's Representation Theorem: An Evergreen Result at the Foundation of Statistics.
    This paper reconsider the fundamental de Finetti’s representation theorem. It is stressed its role at the front-line between Probability Theory and Inferential Statistics and its relation to the fundamental problem of relating past observations with future predictions i. e. the problem of induction.
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  26. Sebastian De Haro, Nicholas Teh & Jeremy Butterfield, Comparing Dualities and Gauge Symmetries.
    We discuss some aspects of the relation between dualities and gauge symmetries. Both of these ideas are of course multi-faceted, and we confine ourselves to making two points. Both points are about dualities in string theory, and both have the ‘flavour’ that two dual theories are ‘closer in content’ than you might think. For both points, we adopt a simple conception of a duality as an ‘isomorphism’ between theories: more precisely, as appropriate bijections between the two theories’ sets of states (...)
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  27. C. Kenneth Waters, No General Structure.
    This chapter introduces a distinctive approach for scientific metaphysics. Instead of drawing metaphysical conclusions by interpreting the most basic theories of science, this approach draws metaphysical conclusions by analyzing how multifaceted practices of science work. Broadening attention opens the door to drawing metaphysical conclusions from a wide range of sciences. This chapter analyzes conceptual practice in genetics to argue that the reality investigated by biologists lacks an overall structure. It expands this conclusion to motivate the no general structure thesis, which (...)
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  28. Steven French, Building Bridges with the Right Tools: Modality and the Standard Model.
    The current state of the relationship between metaphysics and the philosophy of science might appear to be one best described as ‘hostility on both sides’. In an attempt to bridge this gap, French and McKenzie have suggested a two fold strategy: on the one hand, if metaphysics is to be taken to have something direct to say about reality, the implications of physics need to be properly appreciated; on the other, one does not have to agree with the claim that (...)
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  29. Florian Boge, Ψ-Epistemic Models, Einsteinian Intuitions, and No-Gos. A Critical Study of Recent Developments on the Quantum State.
    Quantum mechanics notoriously faces the measurement problem, the problem that if read thoroughly, it implies the nonexistence of definite outcomes in measurement procedures. A plausible reaction to this and to related problems is to regard a system's quantum state |ψ> merely as an indication of our lack of knowledge about the system, i.e., to interpret it epistemically. However, there are radically different ways to spell out such an epistemic view of the quantum state. We here investigate recent developments in the (...)
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  30. Feraz Azhar, Polytopes as Vehicles of Informational Content in Feedforward Neural Networks.
    Localizing content in neural networks provides a bridge to understanding the way in which the brain stores and processes information. In this paper, I propose the existence of polytopes in the state space of the hidden layer of feedforward neural networks as vehicles of content. I analyze these geometrical structures from an information-theoretic point of view, invoking mutual information to help define the content stored within them. I establish how this proposal addresses the problem of misclassification, and provide a novel (...)
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  31. Feraz Azhar, Prediction and Typicality in Multiverse Cosmology.
    In the absence of a fundamental theory that precisely predicts values for observable parameters, anthropic reasoning attempts to constrain probability distributions over those parameters in order to facilitate the extraction of testable predictions. The utility of this approach has been vigorously debated of late, particularly in light of theories that claim we live in a multiverse, where parameters may take differing values in regions lying outside our observable horizon. Within this cosmological framework, we investigate the efficacy of top-down anthropic reasoning (...)
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  32. Feraz Azhar, Testing Typicality in Multiverse Cosmology.
    In extracting predictions from theories that describe a multiverse, we face the difficulty that we must assess probability distributions over possible observations, prescribed not just by an underlying theory, but by a theory together with a conditionalization scheme that allows for selection effects. This means we usually need to compare distributions that are consistent with a broad range of possible observations, with actual experimental data. One controversial means of making this comparison is by invoking the 'principle of mediocrity': that is, (...)
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  33. Feraz Azhar, Spectra of Conditionalization and Typicality in the Multiverse.
    An approach to testing theories describing a multiverse, that has gained interest of late, involves comparing theory-generated probability distributions over observables with their experimentally measured values. It is likely that such distributions, were we indeed able to calculate them unambiguously, will assign low probabilities to any such experimental measurements. An alternative to thereby rejecting these theories, is to conditionalize the distributions involved by restricting attention to domains of the multiverse in which we might arise. In order to elicit a crisp (...)
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  34. Peter Punin, Group-Theoretic Atemporality in Physics and its Boundaries.
    French philosopher H. Bergson criticizes general philosophy insofar as it neglects or even ignores the temporality of time. Concerning general philosophy, Bergson's remarks are probably outdated, whereas contemporary philosophy of science does continue to encounter analogous problems. For essentially group-theoretic reasons, physics, despite the presence of a temporal dimension in physical spaces, describes atemporal systems. These group-theoretic reasons being at the origin of physical atemporality also ensure the extraordinary epistemic power of physics based on the possibility of distortion-free partial approaches, (...)
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  35. Christian de Ronde, Quantum Superpositions and the Representation of Physical Reality Beyond Measurement Outcomes and Mathematical Structures.
    In this paper we intend to discuss the importance of providing a physical representation of quantum superpositions which goes beyond the mere reference to mathematical structures and measurement outcomes. This proposal goes in the opposite direction of the orthodox project which at- tempts to "bridge the gap" between the quantum formalism and common sense "classical reality" —precluding, right from the start, the possibility of interpreting quantum superpositions through non-classical notions. We will argue that in order to restate the problem of (...)
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  36. Elena Castellani, Duality and 'Particle' Democracy.
    Weak/strong duality is usually accompanied by what seems a puzzling ontological feature: the fact that under this kind of duality what is viewed as 'elementary' in one description gets mapped to what is viewed as 'composite' in the dual description. This paper investigates the meaning of this apparent 'particle democracy', as it has been called, by adopting an historical approach. The aim is to clarify the nature of the correspondence between 'dual particles' in the light of an historical analysis of (...)
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  37. Minseong Kim, What If We Have Only One Universe and Closed Timelike Curves Exist?
    David Deutsch provided us one possible solution to the grandfather paradox, Deutsch's closed timelike curves, or simply Deutsch CTC. Deutsch states that this gives us a tool to test many-worlds hypothesis since Deutsch CTC requires Everettian understanding. This paper explores the possibility of co-existence of Deutsch CTC with contextual/epistemic understanding of quantum mechanics. Then this paper presents the irrelevance hypothesis and the hypothetical application to quantum complexity theory.
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  38. J. Brian Pitts, Einstein's Physical Strategy, Energy Conservation, Symmetries, and Stability: "But Grossmann & I Believed That the Conservation Laws Were Not Satisfied".
    Recent work on the history of General Relativity by Renn, Sauer, Janssen et al. shows that Einstein found his field equations partly by a physical strategy including the Newtonian limit, the electromagnetic analogy, and energy conservation. Such themes are similar to those later used by particle physicists. How do Einstein's physical strategy and the particle physics derivations compare? What energy-momentum complex did he use and why? Did Einstein tie conservation to symmetries, and if so, to which? How did his work (...)
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  39. Michel Bitbol, Form and Actuality.
    Physics could be defined, inter alia, as a systematic attempt at pushing actuality aside and bringing form to the fore. On the other hand, the formal descriptions which are the theoretical end-products of physics have to connect somewhere with actuality. Having to connect with actuality but holding no appropriate counterpart of actuality in it: such is the particularity of physics. As a consequence, many well-known enigma appear as paradoxes OF physics rather than just difficulties IN physics.
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  40. David Wallace, Who's Afraid of Coordinate Systems? An Essay on Representation of Spacetime Structure.
    Coordinate-based approaches to physical theories remain standard in mainstream physics but are largely eschewed in foundational discussion in favour of coordinate-free differential-geometric approaches. I defend the conceptual and mathematical legitimacy of the coordinate-based approach for foundational work. In doing so, I provide an account of the Kleinian conception of geometry as a theory of invariance under symmetry groups; I argue that this conception continues to play a very substantial role in contemporary mathematical physics and indeed that supposedly ``coordinate-free'' differential geometry (...)
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  41. Harvey R. Brown & James Read, Clarifying Possible Misconceptions in the Foundations of General Relativity.
    We discuss what we take to be three possible misconceptions in the foundations of general relativity, relating to: the interpretation of the weak equivalence principle and the relationship between gravity and inertia; the connection between gravitational redshift results and spacetime curvature; and the Einstein equivalence principle and the ability to ``transform away" gravity in local inertial coordinate systems.
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  42. Svend E. Rugh & Henrik Zinkernagel, Limits of Time in Cosmology.
    We provide a discussion of some main ideas in our project about the physical foundation of the time concept in cosmology. It is standard to point to the Planck scale as a limit for how far back we may extrapolate the standard cosmological model. In our work we have suggested that there are several other interesting limits -- located at least thirty orders of magnitude before the Planck time -- where the physical basis of the cosmological model and its time (...)
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  43. Víctor Luque, One Equation To Rule Them All: A Philosophical Analysis of the Price Equation.
    This paper provides a philosophical analysis of the Price equation and its role in evolutionary theory. Traditional models in population genetics postulate simplifying assumptions in order to make the models mathematically tractable. On the contrary, the Price equation implies a very specific way of theorizing, starting with assumptions that we think are true and then deriving from them the mathematical rules of the system. I argue that the Price equation is a generalization-sketch, whose main purpose is to provide a unifying (...)
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  44. Sebastian Fortin, Olimpia Lombardi & Juan Camilo Martínez González, Isomerism and Decoherence.
    In the present paper we address the problem of optical isomerism embodied in the socalled “Hund’s paradox”, which points to the difficulty to account for chirality by means of quantum mechanics. In particular, we explain the answer to the problem proposed by the theory of decoherence. The purpose to this article is to challenge this answer on the basis of a conceptual analysis of the phenomenon of decoherence, that reveals the limitations of the theory of decoherence to solve the difficulties (...)
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  45. Minseong Kim, PBR Theorem and Sub-Ensemble of Quantum State.
    Pusey-Barrett-Rudolph theorem claims that $\psi$-epistemic understanding of quantum mechanics is in trouble. Not considering whether the theorem only applies for realist understanding of quantum theory, this paper instead shows that the actual issue the theorem exposes is whether every quantum state should be interpreted as representing all sub-ensemble possibilities. For example, if $|+\rangle$ was ``measured'' at time $t=0$ where $|+\rangle = /\sqrt{2}$, should we consider this quantum state as being solely $|+\rangle$, or representing all possible sub-ensembles such as $, $? (...)
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  46. Davide Romano, Bohmian Classical Limit in Bounded Regions.
    Bohmian mechanics is a realistic interpretation of quantum theory. It shares the same ontology of classical mechanics: particles following continuous trajectories in space through time. For this ontological continuity, it seems to be a good candidate for recovering the classical limit of quantum theory. Indeed, in a Bohmian framework, the issue of the classical limit reduces to showing how classical trajectories can emerge from Bohmian ones, under specific classicality assumptions. In this paper, we shall focus on a technical problem that (...)
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  47. John D. Norton, Thermodynamically Reversible Processes in Statistical Physics.
    Equilibrium states are used as limit states to define thermodynamically reversible processes. When these processes are implemented in statistical physics, these limit states become unstable and can change with time, due to thermal fluctuations. For macroscopic systems, the changes are insignificant on ordinary time scales and what little there is can be suppressed by macroscopically negligible, entropy-creating dissipation. For systems of molecular sizes, the changes are large on short time scales and can only sometimes be suppressed with significant entropy-creating dissipation. (...)
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  48. Sarita Rosenstock & Cailin O'Connor, Selective Advantages of Guilt.
    Using results from evolutionary game theory, we analyze the conditions under which guilt can provide individual fitness benefits to actors, and so evolve. In particular, we focus on the individual benefits of guilty apology. We find that guilty apology is more likely to evolve in cases where actors interact repeatedly over long periods of time, where the costs of apology are low or moderate, and where guilt is hard to fake.
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  49. Erik Curiel, Kinematics, Dynamics, and the Structure of Physical Theory.
    Every physical theory has two different forms of mathematical equations to represent its target systems: the dynamical and the kinematical. Kinematical constraints are differentiated from equations of motion by the fact that their particular form is fixed once and for all, irrespective of the interactions the system enters into. By contrast, the particular form of a system's equations of motion depends essentially on the particular interaction the system enters into. All contemporary accounts of the structure and semantics of physical theory (...)
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  50. Hyo-eun Kim, Nina Poth, Kevin Reuter & Justin Sytsma, Where is Your Pain? A Cross-Cultural Comparison of the Concept of Pain in Americans and South Korea.
    Philosophical orthodoxy holds that pains are mental states, taking this to reflect the ordinary conception of pain. Despite this, evidence is mounting that English speakers do not tend to conceptualize pains in this way; rather, they tend to treat pains as being bodily states. We hypothesize that this is driven by two primary factors—the phenomenology of feeling pains and the surface grammar of pain reports. There is reason to expect that neither of these factors is culturally specific, however, and thus (...)
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  51. Tim Räz, The Necessity of Learning for Agency.
    The present paper examines the notion of agency using a model from artificial intelligence. The main thesis of the paper is that learning is a necessary condition for agency: Agency presupposes control, and control is acquired in a learning process. This thesis is explored using the so-called PS model. After substantiation the thesis, the paper explores the relation between agency and different kinds of learning using the PS model.
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  52. Cailin O'Connor & James Owen Weatherall, Black Holes, Black Scholes, and Prairie Voles: An Essay Review of Simulation and Similarity by Michael Weisberg.
    An essay review of Michael Weisberg's Simulation and Similarity.
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  53. Kian Mintz-Woo, Climate Economics and Normative Expertise.
    I discuss three families of methodologies that could be used to assign values to the normative parameters relevant to social discounting in welfare economics generally, and climate economics more specifically. First, I argue that in particular circumstances, there cannot be philosophical argumentation for normative questions; specifically, this occurs when the particular values being sought are both non-critical and from a quantitative range. Second, I argue that social preferences are insufficient if we take the problem to be normative and that proposals (...)
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  54. John Byron Manchak, On the Inextendibility of Spacetime.
    It has been argued that spacetime must be inextendible – that it must be “as large as it can be” in some sense. Here, we register some skepticism with respect to this position.
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  55. Milena Ivanova (forthcoming). Poincaré’s Aesthetics of Science. Synthese:1-14.
    This paper offers a systematic analysis of Poincaré’s understanding of beauty in science. In particular, the paper examines the epistemic significance Poincaré attributes to aesthetic judgement by reconstructing and analysing his arguments on simplicity and unity in science. I offer a consistent reconstruction of Poincaré’s account and show that for Poincaré simplicity and unity are regulative principles, linked to the aim of science—that of achieving understanding of how phenomena relate. I show how Poincaré’s account of beauty in science can be (...)
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  56. Paul M. Näger, A Stronger Bell Argument for Parameter Dependence.
    It is widely accepted that the violation of Bell inequalities excludes local theories of the quantum realm. This paper presents a stronger Bell argument which even forbids certain non-local theories. The conclusion of the stronger Bell argument presented here provably is the strongest possible consequence from the violation of Bell inequalities on a qualitative probabilistic level. Since among the excluded non-local theories are those whose only non-local probabilistic connection is a dependence between the space-like separated measurement outcomes of EPR/B experiments, (...)
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  57. Jeffrey Alan Barrett, Truth and Probability in Evolutionary Games.
    This paper concerns two composite Lewis-Skyrms signaling games. Each consists in a base game that evolves a language descriptive of nature and a metagame that coevolves a language descriptive of the base game and its evolving language. The first composite game shows how a pragmatic notion of truth might coevolve with a simple descriptive language. The second shows how a pragmatic notion of probability might similarly coevolve. Each of these pragmatic notions is characterized by the particular game and role that (...)
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  58. John D. Norton, The Ideal of the Completeness of Calculi of Inductive Inference: An Introductory Guide to its Failure.
    Non-trivial calculi of inductive inference are incomplete. This result is demonstrated formally elsewhere. Here the significance and background to the result is described. This note explains what is meant by incompleteness, why it is desirable, if only it could be secured, and it gives some indication of the arguments needed to establish its failure. The discussion will be informal, using illustrative examples rather than general results. Technical details and general proofs are presented in Norton.
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  59. Jeffrey Alan Barrett, Quantum Worlds.
    Because of the conceptual difficulties it faces, quantum mechanics provides a salient example of how alternative metaphysical commitments may clarify our understanding of a physical theory and the explanations it provides. Here we will consider how postulating alternative quantum worlds in the context of Hugh Everett III's pure wave mechanics may serve to explain determinate measurement records and the standard quantum statistics. We will focus here on the properties of such worlds, then briefly consider other metaphysical options available for interpreting (...)
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  60. Jeffrey Alan Barrett, Typicality in Pure Wave Mechanics.
    Hugh Everett III's pure wave mechanics is a deterministic physical theory with no probabilities. He nevertheless sought to show how his theory might be understood as making the same statistical predictions as the standard collapse formulation of quantum mechanics. We will consider Everett's argument for pure wave mechanics, how it depends on the notion of branch typicality, and the relationship between the predictions of pure wave mechanics and the standard quantum probabilities.
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  61. Matteo Colombo & Dominik Klein, Mystery, Explanation, and Credence.
    How should the information that a proposition p is a mystery impact your credence in p? To answer this question, we first provide a taxonomy of mysteries; then, we develop a test to distinguish two types of mysteries. When faced with mysteries of the first type, rational epistemic agents should lower their credence in p upon learning that p is a mystery. The same information should not impact agents’ credence in p, when they face mysteries of the second type. Our (...)
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  62. Minseong Kim, Can Everettian Interpretation Survive Continuous Spectrum?
    This paper raises a simple continuous spectrum issue in many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, or Everettian interpretation. I will assume that Everettian interpretation refers to many-worlds understanding based on quantum decoherence. The fact that some operators in quantum mechanics have continuous spectrum is used to propose a simple thought experiment based on probability theory. Then the paper concludes it is untenable to think of each possibility that wavefunction $\Psi \rangle$ gives probability as actual universe. While the argument that continuous spectrum (...)
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  63. Alan McKenzie, Some Remarks on the Mathematical Structure of the Multiverse.
    The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum entanglement experiments is at best incomplete, since the intermediate state induced by collapse of the wave function apparently depends upon the inertial rest frame in which the experiment is observed. While Everett’s Many Worlds Interpretation avoids the issue of wave function collapse, it, too, is a casualty of the special theory of relativity. This requires all events in the universe, past, present and future, to be unique, as in the block-universe picture, which rules out Everett-style (...)
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  64. Jan Sprenger, Foundations for a Probabilistic Theory of Causal Strength.
    This paper develops axiomatic foundations for a probabilistic-interventionist theory of causal strength. Transferring methods from Bayesian confirmation theory, I proceed in three steps: I develop a framework for defining and comparing measures of causal strength; I argue that no single measure can satisfy all natural constraints; I prove two representation theorems for popular measures of causal strength: Pearl's causal effect measure and Eells' difference measure. In other words, I demonstrate these two measures can be derived from a set of plausible (...)
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  65. Rodolfo Gambini & Jorge Pullin, Event Ontology in Quantum Mechanics and the Problem of Emergence.
    We introduce an ontology of objects and events that is particularly well suited for several interpretations of quantum mechanics. It leads to an important revision of the notion of matter and its implications. Within this context one can show that systems in entangled states present emergent new properties and downward causation where certain behavior of parts of the system are only determined by the state of the whole. Interpretations of quantum mechanics that admit such an event ontology solve the problem (...)
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  66. Yang Liu, On Completeness of the First-Order System in the Begriffsschrift.
    A short proof of completeness of the first-order part of Begriffsschrift.
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  67. Wolfgang Pietsch, A Difference-Making Account of Causation.
    A difference-making account of causality is proposed that is based on a counterfactual definition, but differs from traditional counterfactual approaches to causation in a number of crucial respects: it introduces a notion of causal irrelevance; it evaluates the truth-value of counterfactual statements in terms of difference-making; it renders causal statements background-dependent. On the basis of the fundamental notions 'causal relevance' and 'causal irrelevance', further causal concepts are defined including causal factors, alternative causes, and importantly inus-conditions. Problems and advantages of the (...)
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  68. Alexander Reutlinger, Do Renormalization Group Explanations Conform to the Commonality Strategy?
    Renormalization group explanations account for the astonishing phenomenon that microscopically very different physical systems display the same macro-behavior when undergoing phase-transitions. Among philosophers, this explanandum phenomenon is often described as the occurrence of a particular kind of multiply realized macro-behavior. In several recent publications, Robert Batterman denies that RG explanations account for this explanandum phenomenon by following the commonality strategy, i.e. by identifying properties that microscopically very different physical systems have in common. Arguing against Batterman’s claim, I defend the view (...)
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  69. Raphaël Künstler, Aggregating Judgement in Scientifc Practice.
    This paper argues that standard theories of judgment aggregation cannot apply to scientific practice, since science is a temporally extended process that involves both different individuals and different hypotheses during that process. Thus, for example, we seem to have no idea how to determine the judgments of dead scientists about theoretical alternatives that were proposed after their death. The paper then proposes an algorithm for judgment aggregation to try to address some of these challenges.
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  70. Antonio Vassallo (forthcoming). A Metaphysical Reflection on the Notion of Background in Modern Spacetime Physics. In L. Felline, F. Paoli & E. Rossanese (eds.), New Developments in Logic and Philosophy of Science. College Publications
    The paper presents a metaphysical characterization of spatiotemporal backgrounds from a realist perspective. The conceptual analysis is based on a heuristic sketch that encompasses the common formal traits of the major spacetime theories, such as Newtonian mechanics and general relativity. It is shown how this framework can be interpreted in a fully realist fashion, and what is the role of background structures in such a picture. In the end it is argued that, although backgrounds are a source of metaphysical discomfort, (...)
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  71. Lev Vaidman, All is Psi.
    It is argued that standard quantum theory without collapse provides a satisfactory explanation of everything we experience in this and in numerous parallel worlds. The only fundamental ontology is the universal wave function evolving in a deterministic way without action at a distance.
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  72. Uwe Saint-Mont, Roads to Consciousness: Crucial Steps in Mental Development.
    For a long time, philosophers have considered the conundrums of consciousness, self-awareness and free will. Much more recently, scientists have joined in and begun to unravel the secrets of mind. Biologists, physicians and psychologists, studying the human brain, but also physicists, engineers, and computer scientists, working on organizational principles of intelligent information processing systems, have contributed to the subject. This contribution explains several “roads to self-awareness”, all of them based on the natural sciences. The first one follows our bio-psychological evolution. (...)
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  73. Christian de Ronde, Representational Realism, Closed Theories and the Quantum to Classical Limit.
    In this paper we discuss the representational realist stance as a pluralist ontic approach to inter-theoretic relationships. Our stance stresses the fact that physical theories require the necessary consideration of a conceptual level of discourse which determines and configures the specific field of phenomena discussed by each particular theory. We will criticize the orthodox line of research which has grounded the analysis about QM in two metaphysical presuppositions —accepted in the present as dogmas that all interpretations must follow. We will (...)
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  74. Sarita Rosenstock, Cailin O'Connor & Justin Bruner, In Epistemic Networks, is Less Really More?
    We show that previous results from epistemic network models showing the benefits of decreased connectivity in epistemic networks are not robust across changes in parameter values. Our findings motivate discussion about whether and how such models can inform real-world epistemic communities. As we argue, only robust results from epistemic network models should be used to generate advice for the real-world, and, in particular, decreasing connectivity is a robustly poor recommendation.
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  75. Shan Gao, The Measurement Problem Revisited.
    It has been realized that in order to solve the measurement problem, the physical state representing the measurement result is required to be also the physical state on which the mental state of an observer supervenes. This introduces an additional restriction on the solutions to the measurement problem. In this paper, I give a new formulation of the measurement problem which lays more stress on psychophysical connection, and analyze whether Everett's theory, Bohm's theory and dynamical collapse theories can satisfy the (...)
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  76. Gergei Bana, On the Formal Consistency of the Principal Principle.
    Rédei and Gyenis suggest that Lewis’s Principal Principle is meaningful only if it satisfies certain consistency conditions: starting from any assignment of subjective probabilities to some algebra of events, we should always be able to extend our algebra with events of the form “the value of the objective probability of event E is p” and assign subjective probabilities to such events in a consistent manner. We show that this extension is indeed possible in most cases. However, we also argue that (...)
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  77. Ruth Kastner, The Born Rule and Free Will.
    In the libertarian ``agent causation'' view of free will, free choices are attributable only to the choosing agent, as opposed to a specific cause or causes outside the agent. An often-repeated claim in the philosophical literature on free will is that agent causation necessarily implies lawlessness, and is therefore ``antiscientific." That claim is critiqued and it is argued, on the contrary, that the volitional powers of a free agent need not be viewed as anomic, specifically with regard to the quantum (...)
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  78. Ronnie Hermens, Philosophy of Quantum Probability - An Empiricist Study of its Formalism and Logic.
    The use of probability theory is widespread in our daily life as well as in scientific theories. In virtually all cases, calculations can be carried out within the framework of classical probability theory. A special exception is given by quantum mechanics, which gives rise to a new probability theory: quantum probability theory. This dissertation deals with the question of how this formalism can be understood from a philosophical and physical perspective. The dissertation is divided into three parts. In the first (...)
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  79. Milena Ivanova & Matt Farr (2015). Conventional Principles in Science: On the Foundations and Development of the Relativized a Priori. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 52:111-113.
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  80. Richard Dawid & Stephan Hartmann, The No Miracles Argument Without the Base Rate Fallacy.
    According to an argument by Colin Howson, the no-miracles argument is contingent on committing the base-rate fallacy and is therefore bound to fail. We demonstrate that Howson's argument only applies to one of two versions of the no-miracles argument. The other, more considerate version is not adequately reconstructed in Howson's approach and thus remains unaffected by his line of reasoning. We provide a Bayesian reconstruction of this version of the no-miracles argument and show that it is valid. We then proceed (...)
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  81. Zvi Biener, De Gravitatione Reconsidered: The Changing Significance of Empirical Evidence for Newton's Metaphysics of Space.
    I argue that Isaac Newton's _De Gravitatione_ should not be considered an authoritative expression of his thought about the metaphysics of space and its relation to physical inquiry. I establish the following narrative: In _De Gravitatione_, Newton claimed he had direct experimental evidence for the work's central thesis: that space had ``its own manner of existing'' as an affection or emanative effect. In the 1710s, however, through the prodding of both Roger Cotes and G. W. Leibniz, he came to see (...)
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  82. Edoardo Datteri & Federico Laudisa, Large-Scale Simulations of Brain Mechanisms: Beyond the Synthetic Method.
    In recent years, a number of research projects have been proposed whose goal is to build large-scale simulations of brain mechanisms at unprecedented levels of biological accuracy. Here it is argued that the roles these simulations are expected to play in neuroscientific research go beyond the “synthetic method” extensively adopted in Artificial Intelligence and biorobotics. In addition we show that, over and above the common goal of simulating brain mechanisms, these projects pursue various modelling ambitions that can be sharply distinguished (...)
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  83. Samuel Schindler, A Theory of Everything. Review of Richard Dawid: String Theory and the Scientific Method.
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  84. Daniel Weiskopf, Integrative Modeling and the Role of Neural Constraints.
    Neuroscience constrains psychology, but stating these constraints with precision is not simple. Here I consider whether mechanistic analysis provides a useful way to integrate models of cognitive and neural structure. Recent evidence suggests that cognitive systems map onto overlapping, distributed networks of brain regions. These highly entangled networks often depart from stereotypical mechanistic behaviors. While this casts doubt on the prospects for classical mechanistic integration of psychology and neuroscience, I argue that it does not impugn a realistic interpretation of either (...)
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  85. David Neil Corfield, Expressing ‘The Structure of’ in Homotopy Type Theory.
    In this article I show that when working in the new foundational language, homotopy type theory, there is no need to use the word 'structure', since it intrinsically built into the language. I also explain how we can consider mathematicians' use of 'the' where there appear to be multiple possible referents.
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  86. Erik Curiel, A Simple Proof of the Uniqueness of the Einstein Field Equation in All Dimensions.
    The standard argument for the uniqueness of the Einstein field equation is based on Lovelock's Theorem, the relevant statement of which is restricted to four dimensions. I prove a theorem similar to Lovelock's, with a physically modified assumption: that the geometric object representing curvature in the Einstein field equation ought to have the physical dimension of stress-energy. The theorem is stronger than Lovelock's in two ways: it holds in all dimensions, and so supports a generalized argument for uniqueness; it does (...)
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  87. Eddy Keming Chen, Our Fundamental Physical Space: An Essay on the Metaphysics of the Wave Function.
    The mathematical structure of realist quantum theories has given rise to an interesting ongoing debate about how our ordinary 3-dimensional space is related to the 3N-dimensional configuration space on which the wave function is defined. Which of the two spaces is our fundamental physical space? In this essay, I review the debate between the 3N-Fundamentalists and the 3D-Fundamentalists. Instead of framing the debate as putting different weights on different kinds of evidence, I shall evaluate them on how they are overall (...)
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  88. Zvi Biener (forthcoming). Hobbes on the Order of Sciences: A Partial Defense of the Mathematization Thesis. Southern Journal of Philosophy.
    Accounts of Hobbes’s ‘system’ of sciences oscillate between two extremes. On one extreme, the system is portrayed as wholly axiomtic-deductive, with statecraft being deduced in an unbroken chain from the principles of logic and first philosophy. On the other, it is portrayed as rife with conceptual cracks and fissures, with Hobbes’s statements about its deductive structure amounting to mere window-dressing. This paper argues that a middle way is found by conceiving of Hobbes’s _Elements of Philosophy_ on the model of a (...)
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  89. Patrick Dürr, Do Gravitational Waves Carry Energy? -Critique of a Procrustean Practice.
    We submit that, contrary to the standard view, gravitational waves do not carry energy-momentum. Analysing the four standard arguments on which the standard view rests - viz. the kinetic effects of a GW on a detector, Feynman’s Sticky Bead Argument, an application of Noether’s Theorem and a general perturbative approach – we find none of them to be successful: Pre-relativistic premises underlie each of them – premises that, as we argue, no longer hold in General Relativity. Finally, we outline a (...)
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  90. Richard A. Healey, Quantum States as Informational Bridges.
    A quantum state represents neither properties of a physical system nor anyone's knowledge of its properties. The important question is not what quantum states represent but how they are used as informational bridges. Knowing about some physical situations, an agent may assign a quantum state to form expectations about other possible physical situations. Quantum states are objective: only expectations based on correct state assignments are generally reliable. If a quantum state represents anything, it is the objective probabilistic relations between its (...)
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  91. Richard A. Healey, Local Causality, Probability and Explanation.
    In papers published in the 25 years following his famous 1964 proof John Bell refined and reformulated his views on locality and causality. Although his formulations of local causality were in terms of probability, he had little to say about that notion. But assumptions about probability are implicit in his arguments and conclusions. Probability does not conform to these assumptions when quantum mechanics is applied to account for the particular correlations Bell argues are locally inexplicable. This account involves no superluminal (...)
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  92. Patrick Dürr, The Meaning of Relativity and the Liberation of the Relationalists.
    We analyse the various conceptual notions that go under the umbrella “relationalism/substantivalism”. Our focus will be on evaluating the ontological status of spacetime in General Relativity. To this end we systematically develop the ontological framework that implicitly underlies the traditional debate and common understanding of physics. We submit that spacetime with its chronogeometric and inertial structure, represented by the triple of the bare manifold, the metric and the affine structure, is best construed as the totality of possible and actual spatiotemporal (...)
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  93. Joachim L. Dagg, The Parallactic Recognition of an Evolutionary Paradox.
    George C. Williams and John Maynard Smith arrived at slightly different conclusions about the evolutionary maintenance of sexual reproduction, despite the fact that both were staunch neo-Darwinians, simply because they approached the problem from different angles. This parallax between their perspectives made them notice the so-called paradox of sex for the first time. That is, Williams and Maynard Smith used their difference in perspective constructively, in order to raise a problem that had previously been overlooked with ‘monocular’ views. Evidence form (...)
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  94. Edoardo Datteri, The Epistemic Value of Brain-Machine Systems for the Study of the Brain.
    Leading researchers have claimed that bionic systems, connecting biological tissues with computer or robotic devices through brain-machine interfaces, can contribute not only to the restoration of lost sensory-motor abilities but also to neuroscientific research. This claim has been recently undermined by philosopher of neuroscience Carl Craver, who has proposed a sceptical argument on the epistemic value of bionic systems. This paper has a specific and a more general goal. The first one is to show that Craver’s argument, though logically sound, (...)
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  95. Harvey R. Brown & James Read, Three Common Misconceptions in General Relativity.
    We highlight and resolve what we take to be three common misconceptions in general relativity, relating to the interpretation of the weak equivalence principle and the relationship between gravity and inertia; the connection between gravitational redshift results and spacetime curvature; and the strong equivalence principle and the local recovery of special relativity in curved, dynamical spacetime.
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  96. Radin Dardashti, Stephan Hartmann, Karim P. Y. Thebault & Eric Winsberg, Confirmation Via Analogue Simulation: A Bayesian Analysis.
    Analogue simulation is a novel mode of scientific inference found increasingly within modern physics, and yet all but neglected in the philosophical literature. Experiments conducted upon a table-top ‘source system’ are taken to provide insight into features of an inaccessible ‘target system’, based upon a syntactic isomorphism between the relevant modelling frameworks. An important example is the use of acoustic ‘dumb hole’ systems to simulate gravitational black holes. In a recent paper it was argued that there exists circumstances in which (...)
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  97. Jon Lawhead (forthcoming). Structural Modeling Error and the System Individuation Problem. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Recent work by Frigg et. al. and Mayo-Wilson have called attention to a particular sort of error associated with attempts to model certain complex systems: structural modeling error. The assessment of the degree of SME in a model presupposes agreement between modelers about the best way to individuate natural systems, an agreement which can be more problematic than it appears. This problem, which we dub “the system individuation problem” arises in many of the same contexts as SME, and the two (...)
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  98. Charlotte Werndl, The Diversity of Model Tuning Practices in Climate Science.
    Many examples of calibration in climate science raise no alarms regarding model reliability. We examine one example and show that, in employing Classical Hypothesis-testing, it involves calibrating a base model against data that is also used to confirm the model. This is counter to the "intuitive position". We argue, however, that aspects of the intuitive position are upheld by some methods, in particular, the general Cross-validation method. How Cross-validation relates to other prominent Classical methods such as the Akaike Information Criterion (...)
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  99. Alexander Reutlinger (forthcoming). Is There A Monist Theory of Causal and Non-Causal Explanations? The Counterfactual Theory of Scientific Explanation. Philosophy of Science.
    The goal of this paper is to develop a counterfactual theory of explanation. The CTE provides a monist framework for causal and non-causal explanations, according to which both causal and non-causal explanations are explanatory by virtue of revealing counterfactual dependencies between the explanandum and the explanans. I argue that the CTE is applicable to two paradigmatic examples of non-causal explanations: Euler’s explanation and renormalization group explanations of universality.
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  100. Chiara Lisciandra, Robustness Analysis and Tractability in Modeling.
    In the philosophy of science and epistemology literature, robustness analysis has become an umbrella term that refers to a variety of strategies. One of the main purposes of this paper is to argue that different strategies rely on different criteria for justifications. More specifically, I will claim that: i) robustness analysis differs from de-idealization even though the two concepts have often been conflated in the literature; ii) the comparison of different model frameworks requires different justifications than the comparison of models (...)
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