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Philosophy of Physical Science

Edited by Hans Halvorson (Princeton University)
Assistant editor: Joshua Luczak (University of Western Ontario, Georgetown University)
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  1. added 2016-07-26
    Nicholas Maxwell (forthcoming). In Praise of Natural Philosophy: A Revolution for Thought and Life. McGill-Queen's University Press.
    Nicholas Maxwell, 2017, In Praise of Natural Philosophy: A Revolution for Thought and Life, McGill-Queen's University Press: Montreal, Canada. The central thesis of this book is that we need to reform philosophy and join it to science to recreate a modern version of natural philosophy; we need to do this in the interests of rigour, intellectual honesty, and so that science may serve the best interests of humanity. The book seeks to redraw our intellectual landscape. It leads to a transformation (...)
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  2. added 2016-07-23
    Ilexa Yardley, The Identity of One: Conservation of the Circle.
    The line connecting everything to everything is both diameter and circumference of a circle. Thus, complementarity is the basis for identity (duplicity is the basis for a unit).
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  3. added 2016-07-23
    Akinbo Ojo (2016). Hypotheses Fingo. Booktango.
    Hypotheses Fingo is the culmination of over twenty years of following developments in theoretical physics, enriched with correspondence exchanged with leading names in the field. A postulate and four hypotheses are formulated which remove the infinities afflicting the cosmological singularities of Hawking and Penrose, resolve Zeno's paradoxes of motion and find the elusive elastic solid nature of space that makes it possible for light to be transmitted as transverse waves. Relativity - Special, General and Galilean and that which Isaac Newton (...)
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  4. added 2016-07-22
    Keying Guan, Important Notes on Lyapunov Exponents.
    It is shown that the famous Lyapunov exponents cannot be used as the numerical characteristic for distinguishing different kinds of attractors, such as the equilibrium point, the limit closed curve, the stable torus and the strange attractor.
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  5. added 2016-07-22
    Jan Heylen (forthcoming). Why is There Something Rather Than Nothing? A Logical Investigation. Erkenntnis:1-29.
    From Leibniz to Krauss philosophers and scientists have raised the question as to why there is something rather than nothing. Why-questions request a type of explanation and this is often thought to include a deductive component. With classical logic in the background only trivial answers are forthcoming. With free logics in the background, be they of the negative, positive or neutral variety, only question-begging answers are to be expected. The same conclusion is reached for the modal version of the Question, (...)
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  6. added 2016-07-22
    Stephen Strogatz (2001). Nonlinear Dynamics And Chaos: With Applications To Physics, Biology, Chemistry, And Engineering (Studies in Nonlinearity). Westview Press.
    This textbook is aimed at newcomers to nonlinear dynamics and chaos, especially students taking a first course in the subject. The presentation stresses analytical methods, concrete examples and geometric intuition. The theory is developed systematically, starting with first-order differential equations and their bifurcations, followed by phase plane analysis, limit cycles and their bifurcations, and culminating with the Lorenz equations, chaos, iterated maps, period doubling, renormalization, fractals, and strange attractors.A unique feature of the book is its emphasis on applications. These include (...)
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  7. added 2016-07-22
    H. D. I. Abarbanel (1992). Local Lyapunov Exponents Computed From Observed Data. Journal of Nonlinear Science 2 (3):343-365.
    We develop methods for determining local Lyapunov exponents from observations of a scalar data set. Using average mutual information and the method of false neighbors, we reconstruct a multivariate time series, and then use local polynomial neighborhood-to-neighborhood maps to determine the phase space partial derivatives required to compute Lyapunov exponents. In several examples we demonstrate that the methods allow one to accurately reproduce results determined when the dynamics is known beforehand. We present a new recursive QR decomposition method for finding (...)
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  8. added 2016-07-22
    Barry Saltzman (1962). Finite Amplitude Free Convection as an Initial Value Problem. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 19 (329).
    The Oberbeck-Boussinesq equations are reduced to a two-dimensional form governing “roll” convection between two free surfaces maintained at a constant temperature difference. These equations are then transformed to a set of ordinary differential equations governing the time variations of the double-Fourier coefficients for the motion and temperature fields. Non-linear transfer processes are retained and appear as quadratic interactions between the Fourier coefficients. Energy and heat transfer relations appropriate to this Fourier resolution, and a numerical method for solution from arbitrary initial (...)
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  9. added 2016-07-21
    Edward Lorenz (1963). Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow. Journal of Atmospheric Sciences 20 (2):130-148.
    Finite systems of deterministic ordinary nonlinear differential equations may be designed to represent forced dissipative hydrodynamic flow. Solutions of these equations can be identified with trajectories in phase space. For those systems with bounded solutions, it is found that nonperiodic solutions are ordinarily unstable with respect to small modifications, so that slightly differing initial states can evolve into considerably different states. Systems with bounded solutions are shown to possess bounded numerical solutions.A simple system representing cellular convection is solved numerically. All (...)
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  10. added 2016-07-19
    Gabriel Vacariu, Quantum Mechanics: Unbelievable Similarities Between My EDWs and Bill Bill Poirier’s ‘Many Interacting Worlds’ (2016).
    Chapter 12 -/- Quantum mechanics: Unbelievable similarities between my EDWs and Bill Bill Poirier’s ‘Many Interacting Worlds’ (2016) .
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  11. added 2016-07-19
    Nicholas Maxwell (forthcoming). Understanding Scientific Progress: Aim-Oriented Empiricism. Paragon House.
    "Understanding Scientific Progress constitutes a potentially enormous and revolutionary advancement in philosophy of science. It deserves to be read and studied by everyone with any interest in or connection with physics or the theory of science. Maxwell cites the work of Hume, Kant, J.S. Mill, Ludwig Bolzmann, Pierre Duhem, Einstein, Henri Poincaré, C.S. Peirce, Whitehead, Russell, Carnap, A.J. Ayer, Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, Imre Lakatos, Paul Feyerabend, Nelson Goodman, Bas van Fraassen, and numerous others. He lauds Popper for advancing beyond (...)
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  12. added 2016-07-18
    Valia Allori (forthcoming). Primitive Ontology and the Classical World. In R. Kastner, J. Jeknic-Dugic & G. Jaroszkiewicz (eds.), Quantum Structural Studies: Classical Emergence from the Quantum Level. World Scientific
    In this paper I present the common structure of quantum theories with a primitive ontology, and discuss in what sense the classical world emerges from quantum theories as understood in this framework. In addition, I argue that the primitive ontology approach is better at answering this question than the rival wave function ontology approach or any other approach in which the classical world is nonreductively ‘emergent:’ even if the classical limit within this framework needs to be fully developed, the difficulties (...)
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  13. added 2016-07-18
    Hamid Reza Naeij & Afshin Shafiee (forthcoming). Double-Slit Interference Pattern for a Macroscopic Quantum System. Foundations of Physics:1-15.
    In this study, we solve analytically the Schrödinger equation for a macroscopic quantum oscillator as a central system coupled to two environmental micro-oscillating particles. Then, the double-slit interference patterns are investigated in two limiting cases, considering the limits of uncertainty in the position probability distribution. Moreover, we analyze the interference patterns based on a recent proposal called stochastic electrodynamics with spin. Our results show that when the quantum character of the macro-system is decreased, the diffraction pattern becomes more similar to (...)
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  14. added 2016-07-17
    Sebastian De Haro, Daniel R. Mayerson & Jeremy N. Butterfield (forthcoming). Conceptual Aspects of Gauge/Gravity Duality. Foundations of Physics:1-45.
    We give an introductory review of gauge/gravity duality, and associated ideas of holography, emphasising the conceptual aspects. The opening sections gather the ingredients, viz. anti-de Sitter spacetime, conformal field theory and string theory, that we need for presenting, in Sect. 5, the central and original example: Maldacena’s AdS/CFT correspondence. Sections 6 and 7 develop the ideas of this example, also in applications to condensed matter systems, QCD, and hydrodynamics. Sections 8 and 9 discuss the possible extensions of holographic ideas to (...)
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  15. added 2016-07-17
    V. M. Tkachuk (forthcoming). Galilean and Lorentz Transformations in a Space with Generalized Uncertainty Principle. Foundations of Physics:1-14.
    We consider a space with Generalized Uncertainty Principle which can be obtained in the frame of the deformed commutation relations. In the space with GUP we have found transformations relating coordinates and times of moving and rest frames of reference in the first order over the parameter of deformation. In the non-relativistic case we find the deformed Galilean transformation which is rotation in Euclidian space–time. This transformation is similar to the Lorentz one but written for Euclidean space–time where the speed (...)
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  16. added 2016-07-16
    Maarten Steenhagen (forthcoming). False Reflections. Philosophical Studies:1-16.
    Philosophers and psychologists often assume that mirror reflections are optical illusions. According to many authors, what we see in a mirror appears to be behind it. I discuss two strategies to resist this piece of dogma. As I will show, the conviction that mirror reflections are illusions is rooted in a confused conception of the relations between location, direction, and visibility. This conception is unacceptable to those who take seriously the way in which mirrors contribute to our experience of the (...)
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  17. added 2016-07-15
    Nicholas Maxwell (forthcoming). Relativity Theory May Not Have the Last Word on the Nature of Time: Quantum Theory and Probabilism. In G. Ghirardi & S. Wuppulur (eds.), Space, Time and the Limits of Human Understanding. Springer
    Two radically different views about time are possible. According to the first, the universe is three dimensional. It has a past and a future, but that does not mean it is spread out in time as it is spread out in the three dimensions of space. This view requires that there is an unambiguous, absolute, cosmic-wide "now" at each instant. According to the second view about time, the universe is four dimensional. It is spread out in both space and time (...)
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  18. added 2016-07-15
    Valia Allori (forthcoming). Space, Time, and (How They) Matter: A Discussion About Some Metaphysical Insights Provided by Our Best Fundamental Physical Theories. In G. C. Ghirardi & J. Statchel (eds.), Space, Time, and Frontiers of Human Understanding. Springer
    This paper is a brief (and hopelessly incomplete) non-standard introduction to the philosophy of space and time. It is an introduction because I plan to give an overview of what I consider some of the main questions about space and time: Is space a substance over and above matter? How many dimensions does it have? Is space-time fundamental or emergent? Does time have a direction? Does time even exist? Nonetheless, this introduction is not standard because I conclude the discussion by (...)
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  19. added 2016-07-15
    Valia Allori (2002). Decoherence and the Classical Limit of Quantum Mechanics. Dissertation, University of Genova, Italy
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  20. added 2016-07-14
    Georgy I. Burde (forthcoming). Special Relativity Kinematics with Anisotropic Propagation of Light and Correspondence Principle. Foundations of Physics:1-25.
    The purpose of the present paper is to develop kinematics of the special relativity with an anisotropy of the one-way speed of light. As distinct from a common approach, when the issue of anisotropy of the light propagation is placed into the context of conventionality of distant simultaneity, it is supposed that an anisotropy of the one-way speed of light is due to a real space anisotropy. In that situation, some assumptions used in developing the standard special relativity kinematics are (...)
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  21. added 2016-07-14
    G. M. Prosperi (forthcoming). Introduction of a Classical Level in Quantum Theory. Foundations of Physics:1-35.
    In an old paper of our group in Milano a formalism was introduced for the continuous monitoring of a system during a certain interval of time in the framework of a somewhat generalized approach to quantum mechanics. The outcome was a distribution of probability on the space of all the possible continuous histories of a set of quantities to be considered as a kind of coarse grained approximation to some ordinary quantum observables commuting or not. In fact the main aim (...)
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  22. added 2016-07-11
    Yu V. Kononets (forthcoming). Novel Principles and the Charge-Symmetric Design of Dirac’s Quantum Mechanics: I. Enhanced Eriksen’s Theorem and the Universal Charge-Index Formalism for Dirac’s Equation in External Static Fields. Foundations of Physics:1-36.
    The presented enhanced version of Eriksen’s theorem defines an universal transform of the Foldy–Wouthuysen type and in any external static electromagnetic field reveals a discrete symmetry of Dirac’s equation, responsible for existence of a highly influential conserved quantum number—the charge index distinguishing two branches of DE spectrum. It launches the charge-index formalism obeying the charge-index conservation law. Via its unique ability to manipulate each spectrum branch independently, the CIF creates a perfect charge-symmetric architecture of Dirac’s quantum mechanics, which resolves all (...)
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  23. added 2016-07-11
    John-Michael Kuczynski (2016). Time Travel. PHILOSOPHYPEDIA.
    It is clearly stated what time-travel would be, were it possible, and it is thereby shown that the very concept of time-travel is incoherent.
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  24. added 2016-07-10
    John-Michael Kuczynski (2016). Aggregative Properties and Emergent Properties. Amazon Digital Services LLC.
    It is said what aggregative properties are and also what emergent properties are, and examples are given each of kind of property. It is also explained why, even though all emergent properties are aggregative properties, not all aggregative properties are emergent properties. It is further made clear that, strictly speaking, emergence is a property of one's knowledge of a given kind of aggregate, and not of such aggregates themselves, this being why a property that is emergent at one time will, (...)
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  25. added 2016-07-09
    Claudio Borghi (forthcoming). Physical Time and Thermal Clocks. Foundations of Physics:1-6.
    In this paper I discuss the concept of time in physics. I consider the thermal time hypothesis and I claim that thermal clocks and atomic clocks measure different physical times, whereby thermal time and relativistic time are not compatible with each other. This hypothesis opens the possibility of a new foundation of the theory of physical time, and new perspectives in theoretical and philosophical researches.
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  26. added 2016-07-07
    Carlo Rovelli (forthcoming). An Argument Against the Realistic Interpretation of the Wave Function. Foundations of Physics:1-9.
    Testable predictions of quantum mechanics are invariant under time reversal. But the evolution of the quantum state in time is not so, neither in the collapse nor in the no-collapse interpretations of the theory. This is a fact that challenges any realistic interpretation of the quantum state. On the other hand, this fact raises no difficulty if we interpret the quantum state as a mere calculation device, bookkeeping past real quantum events.
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  27. added 2016-07-07
    Ray Scott Percival (1998). Nitpicking Newton Review Of: (Pierre Simon Laplace: A Life in Exact Science). [REVIEW] New Scientist (2123).
    ONE of the most celebrated mathematical physicists, Pierre-Simon Laplace is often remembered as the mathematician who showed that despite appearances, the Solar System does conform to Newton’s theories. Together with distinguished scholars Robert Fox and Ivor Grattan-Guinness, Charles Gillispie gives us a new perspective, showing that Laplace did not merely vindicate Newton’s system, but had a uniquely creative and independent mind.
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  28. added 2016-07-05
    Elliott Sober (2005). Is Drift a Serious Alternative to Natural Selection as an Explanation of Complex Adaptive Traits? Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 56:10-11.
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  29. added 2016-07-04
    Antonio Vassallo & Pui Him Ip (2016). On the Conceptual Issues Surrounding the Notion of Relational Bohmian Dynamics. Foundations of Physics 46 (8):943-972.
    The paper presents a program to construct a non-relativistic relational Bohmian theory, that is, a theory of N moving point-like particles that dispenses with space and time as fundamental background structures. The relational program proposed is based on the best-matching framework originally developed by Julian Barbour. In particular, the paper focuses on the conceptual problems that arise when trying to implement such a program. It is argued that pursuing a relational strategy in the Bohmian context leads to a more parsimonious (...)
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  30. added 2016-07-04
    Sietske Fransen (2015). Ute Frietsch.Häresie und Wissenschaft: Eine Genealogie der paracelsischen Alchemie. 474 pp., illus., tables, bibl., index. Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 2013. €49.90. [REVIEW] Isis 106 (3):699-700.
  31. added 2016-07-02
    Matthew E. Gladden (2016). Organizational Posthumanism. In Sapient Circuits and Digitalized Flesh: The Organization as Locus of Technological Posthumanization. Defragmenter Media 93-131.
    Building on existing forms of critical, cultural, biopolitical, and sociopolitical posthumanism, in this text a new framework is developed for understanding and guiding the forces of technologization and posthumanization that are reshaping contemporary organizations. This ‘organizational posthumanism’ is an approach to analyzing, creating, and managing organizations that employs a post-dualistic and post-anthropocentric perspective and which recognizes that emerging technologies will increasingly transform the kinds of members, structures, systems, processes, physical and virtual spaces, and external ecosystems that are available for organizations (...)
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  32. added 2016-06-30
    Aldo Filomeno (forthcoming). Fundamentality, Effectiveness and Objectivity of Gauge Symmetries. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science.
    Much recent philosophy of physics has investigated the process of symmetry breaking. Here, I critically assess the alleged symmetry restoration at the fundamental scale. I draw attention to the contingency that gauge symmetries exhibit, i.e. the fact that they have been chosen from among a countably infinite space of possibilities. I appeal to this feature of group theory to argue that any metaphysical account of fundamental laws that expects symmetry restoration up to the fundamental level is not fully satisfactory. This (...)
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  33. added 2016-06-29
    Adam_Morton (forthcoming). Review of Franklin *What Makes a Good Experiment?*. [REVIEW] Metascience 102.
    I praise Franklin's full descriptions of important and exemplary experiments, and wish that he had said more about why they are exemplary.
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  34. added 2016-06-29
    Nahuel Sznajderhaus (forthcoming). On the Received Realist View of Quantum Mechanics. Cadernos de História E Filosofia da Ciência.
    In this article I defend that an underlying framework exists among those interpretations of quantum mechanics which crucially consider the measurement problem as a central obstacle. I characterise that framework as the Received View on the realist interpretation of quantum mechanics. In particular, I analyse the extent to which two of the most relevant attempts at quantum mechanics, namely, many worlds interpretations and Bohmian mechanics, belong within the Received View. However, I claim that scientific realism in itself does not entail (...)
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  35. added 2016-06-28
    Janusz Gluza & Jerzy Kosek (forthcoming). Pilot-Wave Quantum Theory in Discrete Space and Time and the Principle of Least Action. Foundations of Physics:1-20.
    The idea of obtaining a pilot-wave quantum theory on a lattice with discrete time is presented. The motion of quantum particles is described by a \-distributed Markov chain. Stochastic matrices of the process are found by the discrete version of the least-action principle. Probability currents are the consequence of Hamilton’s principle and the stochasticity of the Markov process is minimized. As an example, stochastic motion of single particles in a double-slit experiment is examined.
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  36. added 2016-06-26
    Saad Rfifi & Fatimazahra Siyouri (forthcoming). Effect of Cavity QED on Entanglement. Foundations of Physics:1-10.
    We use a quantum electrodynamics model, to study the evolution of maximally entangled bipartite states, as well as a maximally entangled tripartite states as a multipartite system. Furthermore, we study the entanglement behaviour of these output states in cavity QED as function of interaction time and the coupling strength. The present study discusses the separability and the entanglement limit of such states after interaction with a cavity QED.
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  37. added 2016-06-26
    Takayuki Miyadera (forthcoming). Energy-Time Uncertainty Relations in Quantum Measurements. Foundations of Physics:1-29.
    Quantum measurement is a physical process. A system and an apparatus interact for a certain time period, and during this interaction, information about an observable is transferred from the system to the apparatus. In this study, we quantify the energy fluctuation of the quantum apparatus required for this physical process to occur autonomously. We first examine the so-called standard model of measurement, which is free from any non-trivial energy–time uncertainty relation, to find that it needs an external system that switches (...)
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  38. added 2016-06-25
    Todd A. Oliynyk (forthcoming). Classical-Quantum Limits. Foundations of Physics:1-22.
    We introduce a new approach to analyzing the interaction between classical and quantum systems that is based on a limiting procedure applied to multi-particle Schrödinger equations. The limit equations obtained by this procedure, which we refer to as the classical-quantum limit, govern the interaction between classical and quantum systems, and they possess many desirable properties that are inherited in the limit from the multi-particle quantum system. As an application, we use the classical-quantum limit equations to identify the source of the (...)
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  39. added 2016-06-25
    Fabio Costa & Sally Shrapnel (2016). Quantum Causal Modelling. New Journal of Physics 18 (6):063032.
    Causal modelling provides a powerful set of tools for identifying causal structure from observed correlations. It is well known that such techniques fail for quantum systems, unless one introduces 'spooky' hidden mechanisms. Whether one can produce a genuinely quantum framework in order to discover causal structure remains an open question. Here we introduce a new framework for quantum causal modelling that allows for the discovery of causal structure. We define quantum analogues for core features of classical causal modelling techniques, including (...)
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  40. added 2016-06-25
    Alfred Gierer (2002). Cusanus - Philosophie im Vorfeld moderner Naturwissenschaft. Königshausen&Neumann.
    Nikolaus von Kues ist eine der faszinierendsten Persönlichkeiten im Übergang vom Mittelalter zur Neuzeit. Während seine theologischen und neuplatonischen Vorstellungen viel beachtet werden, gilt das weniger für seine naturphilosophischen Ideen: Wie Gott die Welt in Wirklichkeit, so schafft der Mensch sie in Gedanken. Beobachtung, Experiment und Mathematik sind zum Verständnis der Natur notwendig. Die biblische Überlieferung ist nicht wörtlich zu nehmen. Er propagierte ein fast unendliches Universum ohne Mittelpunkt und Begrenzung mit einer sich bewegenden Erde. Besonders bedeutsam im Hinblick auf (...)
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  41. added 2016-06-24
    Isaac Wilhelm, Chaos Regained: On the Possibility of a New Era of Orbital Dynamics.
    In this paper I explore how the nature, scope, and limits of the knowledge obtained in orbital dynamics—the science concerned with the motions of bodies in the solar system—has changed in recent years. Innovations in the design of spacecraft trajectories, as well as in astronomy, have led to a new hybrid of theory and experiment, and suggest that the kind of knowledge achieved in orbital dynamics today is dramatically different from the knowledge achieved prior to those innovations. Thus, orbital dynamics (...)
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  42. added 2016-06-24
    Federico Zalamea (2015). The Mathematical Description of a Generic Physical System. Topoi 34:339-348.
    When dealing with a certain class of physical systems, the mathematical characterization of a generic system aims to describe the phase portrait of all its possible states. Because they are defined only up to isomorphism, the mathematical objects involved are ‘‘schematic struc- tures’’. If one imposes the condition that these mathemat- ical definitions completely capture the physical information of a given system, one is led to a strong requirement of individuation for physical states. However, we show there are not enough (...)
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  43. added 2016-06-24
    D. Sen (2014). The Uncertainty Relations in Quantum Mechanics. Current Science 107 (7):203-218.
    The notion of uncertainty in the description of a physical system has assumed prodigious importance in the development of quantum theory. Overcoming the early misunderstanding and confusion, the concept grew continuously and still remains an active and fertile research field. Curious new insights and correlations are gained and developed in the process with the introduction of new ‘measures’ of uncertainty or indeterminacy and the development of quantum measurement theory. In this article we intend to reach a fairly uptodate status report (...)
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  44. added 2016-06-22
    Charlotte Werndl, Determinism.
    This article focuses on three recent discussions on determinism in the philosophy of science. First, determinism and predictability will be discussed. Then, second, the paper turns to the topic of determinism, indeterminism, observational equivalence and randomness. Finally, third, there will be a discussion about deterministic probabilities. The paper will end with a conclusion.
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  45. added 2016-06-19
    Nuno Francisco, Carla Morais, João C. Paiva & Paula Gameiro (forthcoming). A Colourful Bond Between Art and Chemistry. Foundations of Chemistry:1-14.
    How can a work of art give us clues about scientific aspects? How can chemistry help a painter enhance his creativity and, above all, preserve the original characteristics of his work? Does an artist require scientific knowledge to innovate or, at least, not to be faked? Other symbiotic fields between art and science are: tattoos, as body art with physical and chemical consequences; pigments, as basic materials with interesting historiographical preparations; spectroscopy diagnosis, as very broad and thorough method of analysis (...)
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  46. added 2016-06-18
    Paul Teller, Measurement Accuracy Realism.
    This paper challenges “traditional measurement-accuracy realism”, according to which there are in nature quantities of which concrete systems have definite values. An accurate measurement outcome is one that is close to the value for the quantity measured. For a measurement of the temperature of some water to be accurate in this sense requires that there be this temperature. But there isn’t. Not because there are no quantities “out there in nature” but because the term ‘the temperature of this water’ fails (...)
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  47. added 2016-06-18
    Ray Scott Percival (2000). Bergson: Challenger to Einstein's Theory of Time. [REVIEW] Times Higher Education:1 - 2.
    Henri Bergson is perhaps most remembered for his bold challenge to Einstein's theory of the relativity of simultaneity. Bergson maintained that Einstein's theory did not cope with our intuition of time, which is an intuition of duration. Einstein retorted that there may be psychological time, but there is no special philosopher's time. For Einstein, time forms the fourth dimension of a so-called Parmenidean "block universe". I argue that we must be on our guard not to read into the work of (...)
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  48. added 2016-06-16
    Charles T. Sebens & Sean M. Carroll (forthcoming). Self-Locating Uncertainty and the Origin of Probability in Everettian Quantum Mechanics. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axw004.
    A longstanding issue in attempts to understand the Everett (Many-Worlds) approach to quantum mechanics is the origin of the Born rule: why is the probability given by the square of the amplitude? Following Vaidman, we note that observers are in a position of self-locating uncertainty during the period between the branches of the wave function splitting via decoherence and the observer registering the outcome of the measurement. In this period it is tempting to regard each branch as equiprobable, but we (...)
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  49. added 2016-06-16
    Sean M. Carroll (forthcoming). In What Sense Is the Early Universe Fine-Tuned? In Barry Loewer, Brad Weslake & Eric Winsberg (eds.), Time's Arrows and the Probability Structure of the World. Harvard University Press
    It is commonplace in discussions of modern cosmology to assert that the early universe began in a special state. Conventionally, cosmologists characterize this fine-tuning in terms of the horizon and flatness problems. I argue that the fine-tuning is real, but these problems aren't the best way to think about it: causal disconnection of separated regions isn't the real problem, and flatness isn't a problem at all. Fine-tuning is better understood in terms of a measure on the space of trajectories: given (...)
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  50. added 2016-06-16
    Sean M. Carroll & Charles T. Sebens (2014). Many Worlds, the Born Rule, and Self-Locating Uncertainty. In Daniele C. Struppa & Jeffrey M. Tollaksen (eds.), Quantum Theory: A Two-Time Success Story. Springer 157-169.
    We provide a derivation of the Born Rule in the context of the Everett (Many-Worlds) approach to quantum mechanics. Our argument is based on the idea of self-locating uncertainty: in the period between the wave function branching via decoherence and an observer registering the outcome of the measurement, that observer can know the state of the universe precisely without knowing which branch they are on. We show that there is a uniquely rational way to apportion credence in such cases, which (...)
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