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Philosophy of Physical Science

Edited by Hans Halvorson (Princeton University)
Assistant editor: Joshua Luczak (University of Western Ontario)
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  1. added 2014-09-21
    Amit Hagar, Ed Fredkin and the Physics of Information - An Inside Story of an Outsider Scientist.
    This article tells the story of Ed Fredkin, a pilot, programmer, engineer, hardware designer and entrepreneur, whose work inside and outside academia has influenced major developments in computer science and in the foundations of theoretical physics for the past fifty years.
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  2. added 2014-09-19
    H. G. Callaway (2014). Arthur S. Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World, An Annotated Edition. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
    Arthur S. Eddington, FRS, (1882–1944) was one of the most prominent British scientists of his time. He made major contributions to astrophysics and to the broader understanding of the revolutionary theories of relativity and quantum mechanics. He is famed for his astronomical observations of 1919, confirming Einstein’s prediction of the curving of the paths of starlight, and he was the first major interpreter of Einstein’s physics to the English-speaking world. His 1928 book, The Nature of the Physical World, here re-issued (...)
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  3. added 2014-09-15
    Marius Stan (forthcoming). Absolute Space and the Riddle of Rotation: Kant’s Response to Newton. Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy 7.
    Besides theological grounds, Newton also has a fivefold kinematico-dynamical argument for absolute space, from “the properties, causes, and effects” of true motion. Like Newton, Kant holds that bodies have true motions. Unlike him, though, Kant declares all motion to be relative to matter, not absolute space. In consequence, he must respond to Newton’s argument above. In this paper, I reconstruct in detail Kant’s answer, from his “Metaphysical Foundations of Phenomenology.” It turns out that Kant addresses just one part of Newton’s (...)
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  4. added 2014-09-09
    Mauro Dorato, Presentism and the Experience of Time.
    Presentists have typically argued that the Block View is incapable of explaining our experience of time. In this paper I argue that the phenomenology of our experience of time is, on the contrary, against presentism. My argument is based on a dilemma: presentists must either assume that the metaphysical present has no temporal extension, or that it is temporally extended. The former horn leads to phenomenological problems. The latter renders presentism metaphysically incoherent, unless one posits a discrete present that, however, (...)
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  5. added 2014-09-06
    Gregor Betz (2013). Chaos, Plurality and Model Metrics in Climate Science. In Ulrich V. Gähde & Stephan Hartmann (eds.), Models, Simulation, and the Reduction of Complexity. de Gruyter. 255-264.
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  6. added 2014-09-06
    Gregor Betz (2013). Climate Engineering. In Armin Grunwald (ed.), Handbuch Technikethik. Metzler. 254-257.
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  7. added 2014-08-25
    Mauro Dorato (forthcoming). Dynamical Versus Structural Explanations in Scientific Revolutions. Synthese.
    By briefly reviewing three well-known scientific revolutions in fundamental physics (the discovery of inertia, of special relativity and of general relativity), I claim that problems that were supposed to be crying for a dynamical explanation in the old paradigm ended up receiving a structural explanation in the new one. This claim is meant to give more substance to Kuhn’s view that revolutions are accompanied by a shift in what needs to be explained, while suggesting at the same time the existence (...)
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  8. added 2014-08-22
    David Wallace, Emergence of Particles From Bosonic Quantum Field Theory.
    An examination is made of the way in which particles emerge from linear, bosonic, massive quantum field theories. Two different constructions of the one-particle subspace of such theories are given, both illustrating the importance of the interplay between the quantum-mechanical linear structure and the classical one. Some comments are made on the Newton-Wigner representation of one-particle states, and on the relationship between the approach of this paper and those of Segal, and of Haag and Ruelle.
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  9. added 2014-08-22
    Tracy Lupher (2010). Not Quite Particles, Not Quite Fields. Humana.Mente 13:155-173.
    There are significant problems involved in determining the ontology of quantum field theory (QFT). An ontology involving particles seems to be ruled out due to the problem of defining localized position operators, issues involving interactions in QFT, and, perhaps, the appearance of unitarily inequivalent representations. While this might imply that fields are the most natural ontology for QFT, the wavefunctional interpretation of QFT has significant drawbacks. A modified field ontology is examined where determinables are assigned to open bounded regions of (...)
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  10. added 2014-08-22
    George Fleming & Jeremy Butterfield (1999). Strange Positions. In From Physics to Philosophy.
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  11. added 2014-08-22
    David Malament (1996). In Defense of Dogma: Why There Cannot Be a Relativistic Quantum Mechanical Theory of (Localizable) Particles. In R. Clifton (ed.), Perspectives on Quantum Reality. Kluwer.
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  12. added 2014-08-21
    Iñaki San Pedro (forthcoming). Measurement Independence, Parameter Independence and Non-Locality. European Journal for Philosophy of Science:1-6.
    In a recent paper in this Journal San Pedro (2012) I formulated a conjecture relating Measurement Independence and Parameter Independence, in the context of common cause explanations of EPR correlations. My conjecture suggested that a violation of Measurement Independence would entail a violation of Parameter Independence as well. Leszek Wroński (2014) has shown that conjecture to be false. In this note, I review Wroński’s arguments and agree with him on the fate of the conjecture. I argue that what is interesting (...)
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  13. added 2014-08-06
    Vincenzo Fano, Enrico Giannetto, Giulia Giannini & Pierluigi Graziani (2012). Complessità E Riduzionismo. ISONOMIA - Epistemologica Series Editor.
    The enormous increasing of connections between people and the noteworthy enlargement of domains and methods in sciences have augmented extraordinarily the cardinality of the set of meaningful human symbols. We know that complexity is always on the way to become complication, i.e. a non-tractable topic. For this reason scholars engage themselves more and more in attempting to tame plurality and chaos. In this book distinguished scientists, philosophers and historians of science reflect on the topic from a multidisciplinary point of view. (...)
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  14. added 2014-08-05
    Barry Loewer, Brad Weslake & Eric Winsberg (eds.) (forthcoming). Time's Arrows and the Probability Structure of the World. Harvard University Press.
    A collection of newly commissioned papers on themes from David Albert's Time and Chance (HUP, 2000), with replies by Albert. Confirmed contributors: Sean Carroll, Sidney Felder, Alison Fernandes, Mathias Frisch, Nick Huggett, Jenann Ismael, Doug Kutach, Barry Loewer, Tim Maudlin, Chris Meacham, David Wallace, and Eric Winsberg.
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  15. added 2014-07-31
    Christopher Gregory Weaver, On the Carroll-Chen Model.
    I argue that the Carroll-Chen cosmogenic model does not provide a plausible scientific explanation of our universe's initial low-entropy state.
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  16. added 2014-07-31
    Christopher J. G. Meacham (forthcoming). The Meta-Reversibility Objection. In Barry Loewer, Brad Weslake & Eric Winsberg (eds.), Time's Arrow and the Probability Structure of the World.
    One popular approach to statistical mechanics understands statistical mechanical probabilities as measures of rational indifference. Naive formulations of this ``indifference approach'' face reversibility worries - while they yield the right prescriptions regarding future events, they yield the wrong prescriptions regarding past events. This paper begins by showing how the indifference approach can overcome the standard reversibility worries by appealing to the Past Hypothesis. But, the paper argues, positing a Past Hypothesis doesn't free the indifference approach from all reversibility worries. For (...)
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  17. added 2014-07-26
    Alexander Reutlinger (forthcoming). Are Causal Facts Really Explanatorily Emergent? Ladyman and Ross on Higher-Level Causal Facts and Renormalization Group Explanation. Synthese.
    In their Every Thing Must Go, Ladyman and Ross defend a novel version of Neo- Russellian metaphysics of causation, which falls into three claims: (1) there are no fundamental physical causal facts (orthodox Russellian claim), (2) there are higher-level causal facts of the special sciences, and (3) higher-level causal facts are explanatorily emergent. While accepting claims (1) and (2), I attack claim (3). Ladyman and Ross argue that higher-level causal facts are explanatorily emergent, because (a) certain aspects of these higher-level (...)
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  18. added 2014-07-23
    Mauro Dorato (1993). Ph.D. In Stanely Tweyman (ed.), Studies in early modern philosophy. Caravan Books Delmar. 127-156.
    In this paper I sketch the evolution of the main theories of the relationship between time and motion from Descartes to Newton, by defending an hypothesis that traces back Newton’s realism about time to Barrow’s “metric realism”, which Newton developed as the claim that measuring a magnitude X implies that X exists independently of our measures.
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  19. added 2014-07-22
    Moti Mizrahi (forthcoming). The Fine-Tuning Argument and the Simulation Hypothesis. Think.
    In this paper, I propose that, in addition to the multiverse hypothesis, which is commonly taken to be an alternative explanation for fine-tuning, other than the design hypothesis, the simulation hypothesis is another explanation for fine-tuning. I then argue that the simulation hypothesis undercuts the alleged evidential connection between ‘designer’ and ‘supernatural designer of immense power and knowledge’ in much the same way that the multiverse hypothesis undercuts the alleged evidential connection between ‘fine-tuning’ and ‘fine-tuner’ (or ‘designer’). If this is (...)
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  20. added 2014-07-15
    Baptiste Le Bihan (2014). The Unrealities of Time. Dialogue.
    Is time flowing? A-theorists say yes, B-theorists say no. But both take time to be real. It means that B-theorists accept that time might be real, even if lacking a property usually ascribed to it. In this paper, I want to ask what are the different properties usually ascribed to time in order to draw the list of different possible kinds of realism and anti-realism about time. As we will see, there are three main kinds of anti-realism. I will claim (...)
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  21. added 2014-07-03
    Yann Benétreau-Dupin (forthcoming). Blurring Out Cosmic Puzzles. Philosophy of Science.
    The Doomsday argument and anthropic arguments are illustrations of a paradox. In both cases, a lack of knowledge apparently yields surprising conclusions. Since they are formulated within a Bayesian framework, the paradox constitutes a challenge to Bayesianism. Several attempts, some successful, have been made to avoid these conclusions, but some versions of the paradox cannot be dissolved within the framework of orthodox Bayesianism. I show that adopting an imprecise framework of probabilistic reasoning allows for a more adequate representation of ignorance (...)
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