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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 2014-10-18
    Gabriel Vacariu, About Ionicioiu and Terno’s Article From 2011 and My “Epistemologically Different Worlds” Perspective From 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010.
    This paper is about Ionicioiu and Terno's paper (2011) about wave-particle duality and my EDWs pperspective (from 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2014).
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  2. added 2014-10-18
    Gabriel Vacariu (2006). THE EPISTEMOLOGICALLY DIFFERENT WORLDS PERSPECTIVE AND SOME PSEUDO-NOTIONS FROM QUANTUM MECHANICS. Analele Universitatii Bucuresti:127-138.
    In this paper, I argue that the wrong notion of the “world” (I called it the “unicorn-world”) has to be replaced by the “epistemologically different worlds” (EDWs). Working in the unicorn-world in the last century, the physicists have tried to solve some pseudo-problems of quantum mechanics like non-locality and entanglement with pseudo-alternatives like multiverse approach and decoherence. EDWs perspective clarifies many notions from quantum theory, in particular, and physics, in general.
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  3. added 2014-10-17
    Gabriel Vacariu, About Ionicioiu's Presentation on Quantum Mechanics Delayed Choice Experiments at Department of Philosophy, (University of Bucharest, Romania) on 15.10.2014.
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  4. added 2014-10-16
    David Ellerman, On Classical Finite Probability Theory as a Quantum Probability Calculus.
    This paper shows how the classical finite probability theory (with equiprobable outcomes) can be reinterpreted and recast as the quantum probability calculus of a pedagogical or "toy" model of quantum mechanics over sets (QM/sets). There are two parts. The notion of an "event" is reinterpreted from being an epistemological state of indefiniteness to being an objective state of indefiniteness. And the mathematical framework of finite probability theory is recast as the quantum probability calculus for QM/sets. The point is not to (...)
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  5. added 2014-10-16
    David Ellerman, Partitions and Objective Indefiniteness.
    Classical physics and quantum physics suggest two meta-physical types of reality: the classical notion of a objectively definite reality with properties "all the way down," and the quantum notion of an objectively indefinite type of reality. The problem of interpreting quantum mechanics (QM) is essentially the problem of making sense out of an objectively indefinite reality. These two types of reality can be respectively associated with the two mathematical concepts of subsets and quotient sets (or partitions) which are category-theoretically dual (...)
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  6. added 2014-10-16
    David Ellerman, Why Delayed Choice Experiments Do NOT Imply Retrocausality.
    There is a fallacy that is often involved in the interpretation of quantum experiments involving a certain type of separation such as the: double-slit experiments, which-way interferometer experiments, polarization analyzer experiments, Stern-Gerlach experiments, and quantum eraser experiments. The fallacy leads not only to flawed textbook accounts of these experiments but to flawed inferences about retrocausality in the context of delayed choice versions of separation experiments.
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  7. added 2014-10-14
    Rinat M. Nugayev (2014). Maxwellian Scientific Revolution: A Case Study in Kantian Epistemology. Logos and Episteme 5 (2):183-207.
    It is exhibited that maxwellian electrodynamics grew out of the old pre-maxwellian programmes reconciliation: the electrodynamics of Ampere-Weber, the wave theory of Young-Fresnel and Faraday’s scientific research programme. The programmes’ meeting led to construction of the whole hierarchy of theoretical objects starting from the genuine crossbreeds (the displacement current) and up to usual mongrels. After the displacement current invention the interpenetration of the pre-maxwellian programmes began that marked the beginning of theoretical schemes of optics and electromagnetism real unification. Maxwell’s programme (...)
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  8. added 2014-10-07
    Antonio Vassallo (forthcoming). General Covariance, Diffeomorphism Invariance, and Background Independence in 5 Dimensions. In Tomasz Bigaj & Christian Wüthrich (eds.), Metaphysics in Contemporary Physics. Rodopi.
    The paper considers the "GR-desideratum", that is, the way general relativity implements general covariance, diffeomorphism invariance, and background independence. Two cases are discussed where 5-dimensional generalizations of general relativity run into interpretational troubles when the GR-desideratum is forced upon them. It is shown how the conceptual problems dissolve when such a desideratum is relaxed. In the end, it is suggested that a similar strategy might mitigate some major issues such as the problem of time or the embedding of quantum non-locality (...)
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  9. added 2014-10-04
    Rinat M. Nugayev (2013). The Ptolemy-Copernicus Transition. Almagest 4:96-119.
    The model of scientific revolution genesis and structure, extracted from Einstein’s revolution and described in author’s previous publications, is applied to the Copernican one . In the case of Einstein’s revolution I had argued that its cause consisted in the clash between the main classical physics scientific programmes: newtonian mechanics, maxwellian electrodynamics, classical thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. Analogously in the present paper it is argued that the Copernican revolution took place due to realization of the dualism between mathematical astronomy and (...)
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  10. added 2014-09-22
    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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  11. 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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  12. 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.
    Beside 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 takes 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 Kant’s answer, from his “Metaphysical Foundations of Phenomenology.” It turns out that Kant addresses just one part of Newton’s case, namely, (...)
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  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. added 2014-09-06
    Gregor Betz (2013). Climate Engineering. In Armin Grunwald (ed.), Handbuch Technikethik. Metzler. 254-257.
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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. added 2014-08-22
    George Fleming & Jeremy Butterfield (1999). Strange Positions. In From Physics to Philosophy.
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  20. 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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  21. added 2014-08-06
    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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  22. 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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  23. added 2014-08-01
    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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  24. 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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