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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 2015-02-26
    Jon Pérez Laraudogoitia (forthcoming). On the Atkinson–Johnson Homogeneous Solution for Infinite Systems. Foundations of Physics:1-11.
    This paper shows that the general homogeneous solution to equations of evolution for some infinite systems of particles subject to mutual binary collisions does not depend on a single arbitrary constant but on a potentially infinite number of such constants. This is because, as I demonstrate, a single self-excitation of a system of particles can depend on a potentially infinite number of parameters. The recent homogeneous solution obtained by Atkinson and Johnson, which depends on a single arbitrary constant, is only (...)
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  2. added 2015-02-26
    Allen Stairs (forthcoming). Quantum Logic and Quantum Reconstruction. Foundations of Physics:1-11.
    Quantum logic understood as a reconstruction program had real successes and genuine limitations. This paper offers a synopsis of both and suggests a way of seeing quantum logic in a larger, still thriving context.
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  3. added 2015-02-26
    Elias Okon & Daniel Sudarsky (forthcoming). The Black Hole Information Paradox and the Collapse of the Wave Function. Foundations of Physics:1-10.
    The black hole information paradox arises from an apparent conflict between the Hawking black hole radiation and the fact that time evolution in quantum mechanics is unitary. The trouble is that while the former suggests that information of a system falling into a black hole disappears, the latter implies that information must be conserved. In this work we discuss the current divergence in views regarding the paradox, we evaluate the role that objective collapse theories could play in its resolution and (...)
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  4. added 2015-02-26
    Paul Busch (forthcoming). Philosophical Problems of Modern Physics: Peter Mittelstaedt 1929–2014. Foundations of Physics:1-13.
    The University of Cologne and the international community of researchers in foundations of physics mourn the loss of Peter Mittelstaedt, who passed away on November 21, 2014, after a short period of illness. Peter Mittelstaedt held a chair in theoretical physics at the University of Cologne from 1965 until his retirement in 1995. In addition to his engagement as a scientist and academic teacher he was elected first as Dean of the Faculty of Science and then Rector of the University (...)
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  5. added 2015-02-22
    Michael Bennett McNulty (forthcoming). Chemistry in Kant's Opus Postumum. Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science.
    In his Metaphysische Anfangsgründe der Naturwissenschaft (MAN), Kant claims that chemistry is an improper, though rational science. The chemistry to which Kant confers this status is the phlogistic chemistry of, for instance, Georg Stahl. In his Opus Postumum (OP), however, Kant espouses a broadly Lavoiserian conception of chemistry. In particular, Kant endorses Antoine Lavoisier's elements, oxygen theory of combustion, and role for the caloric. As Lavoisier's lasting contribution to chemistry, according to some histories of the science, was his emphasis on (...)
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  6. added 2015-02-20
    Raymond Aaron Younis (2008). The Arrow of Time and the Moving Image of Eternity. Journal of Religious History 32 (1):109-116..
  7. added 2015-02-19
    Jos Uffink & Giovanni Valente (forthcoming). Lanford’s Theorem and the Emergence of Irreversibility. Foundations of Physics:1-35.
    It has been a longstanding problem to show how the irreversible behaviour of macroscopic systems can be reconciled with the time-reversal invariance of these same systems when considered from a microscopic point of view. A result by Lanford shows that, under certain conditions, the famous Boltzmann equation, describing the irreversible behaviour of a dilute gas, can be obtained from the time-reversal invariant Hamiltonian equations of motion for the hard spheres model. Here, we examine how and in what sense Lanford’s theorem (...)
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  8. added 2015-02-19
    Raymond Aaron Younis (1997). Science Reason and Rhetoric. [REVIEW] Australasian Journal of Philosophy 75 (4):548-550.
  9. added 2015-02-18
    Zhihua Guo, Huaixin Cao & Shixian Qu (forthcoming). Structures of Three Types of Local Quantum Channels Based on Quantum Correlations. Foundations of Physics:1-15.
    In a bipartite quantum system, quantum states are classified as classically correlated and quantum correlated states, the later are important resources of quantum information and computation protocols. Since correlations of quantum states may vary under a quantum channel, it is necessary to explore the influence of quantum channels on correlations of quantum states. In this paper, we discuss CC-preserving, QC-breaking and strongly CC-preserving local quantum channels of the form \ and obtain the structures of these three types of local quantum (...)
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  10. added 2015-02-18
    Alon Drory (forthcoming). Failure and Uses of Jaynes’ Principle of Transformation Groups. Foundations of Physics:1-22.
    Bertand’s paradox is a fundamental problem in probability that casts doubt on the applicability of the indifference principle by showing that it may yield contradictory results, depending on the meaning assigned to “randomness”. Jaynes claimed that symmetry requirements solve the paradox by selecting a unique solution to the problem. I show that this is not the case and that every variant obtained from the principle of indifference can also be obtained from Jaynes’ principle of transformation groups. This is because the (...)
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  11. added 2015-02-18
    Curt A. Moyer (forthcoming). Timelines and Quantum Time Operators. Foundations of Physics:1-22.
    The failure of conventional quantum theory to recognize time as an observable and to admit time operators is addressed. Instead of focusing on the existence of a time operator for a given Hamiltonian, we emphasize the role of the Hamiltonian as the generator of translations in time to construct time states. Taken together, these states constitute what we call a timeline. Such timelines are adequate for the representation of any physical state, and appear to exist even for the semi-bounded and (...)
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  12. added 2015-02-18
    Louis Marchildon (forthcoming). Why I Am Not a QBist. Foundations of Physics:1-8.
    Quantum Bayesianism, or QBism, is a recent development of the epistemic view of quantum states, according to which the state vector represents knowledge about a quantum system, rather than the true state of the system. QBism explicitly adopts the subjective view of probability, wherein probability assignments express an agent’s personal degrees of belief about an event. QBists claim that most if not all conceptual problems of quantum mechanics vanish if we simply take a proper epistemic and probabilistic perspective. Although this (...)
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  13. added 2015-02-18
    Arthur Jabs, A Conjecture Concerning Determinism and Phases in Quantum Mechanics. arXiv.
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  14. added 2015-02-18
    Arthur Jabs, Quantum Mechanics in Terms of Realism.
    In contrast to the Copenhagen interpretation of the formalism of quantum mechanics the proposed interpretation is formulated in the language of epistemological realism.
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  15. added 2015-02-18
    Raymond Aaron Younis (1998). Shattering the Mirror of Nature. [REVIEW] Metascience 7 (1):216-221.
  16. added 2015-02-15
    Rowan Grigg, It's Just About Time.
    Presented is a hypothetical model of reality that is consistent with the observational data incompletely addressed by existing models such as general relativity and quantum theory, including non-locality and the accelerating expansion of the universe. The model further suggests a theory of consciousness in which a physical mechanism accounts for interactions with remote agents that were previously categorized as 'spiritual'. I explore the wider implications of this model.
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  17. added 2015-02-14
    Barry Smith (1995). More Things in Heaven and Earth. Grazer Philosophische Studien 50:87-201.
    Philosophers in the field of analytic metaphysics have begun gradually to come to terms with the fact that there are entities in a range of categories not dreamt of in the set-theory and predicate-logic-based ontologies of their forefathers. Examples of such “entia minora” would include: boundaries, places, events, states holes, shadows, individual colour- and tone-instances (tropes), together with combinations of these and associated simple and complex universal species or essences, states of affairs, judgment-contents, and myriad abstract structures of the sorts (...)
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  18. added 2015-02-10
    Simon Friederich (2015). Re-Thinking Local Causality. Synthese 192 (1):221-240.
    There is widespread belief in a tension between quantum theory and special relativity, motivated by the idea that quantum theory violates J. S. Bell’s criterion of local causality, which is meant to implement the causal structure of relativistic space-time. This paper argues that if one takes the essential intuitive idea behind local causality to be that probabilities in a locally causal theory depend only on what occurs in the backward light cone and if one regards objective probability as what imposes (...)
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  19. added 2015-02-08
    A. F. Bennett (forthcoming). Spin-Statistics Connection for Relativistic Quantum Mechanics. Foundations of Physics:1-12.
    The spin-statistics connection has been proved for nonrelativistic quantum mechanics . The proof is extended here to the relativistic regime using the parametrized Dirac equation. A causality condition is not required.
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  20. added 2015-02-07
    Alexander Yu Rulev (forthcoming). Pegniochemistry as a New Branch of the Chemical Science. Foundations of Chemistry:1-8.
    The creation of new branch of chemistry is reported. The chemical research article was examined seriously and humorously from the pegniochemistry point of view.
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  21. added 2015-02-07
    Marcus Arvan, The Peer-to-Peer Simulation Hypothesis and a New Theory of Free Will. Scientia Salon.
  22. added 2015-02-06
    Gábor Hofer-Szabó (forthcoming). Relating Bell’s Local Causality to the Causal Markov Condition. Foundations of Physics:1-27.
    The aim of the paper is to relate Bell’s notion of local causality to the Causal Markov Condition. To this end, first a framework, called local physical theory, will be introduced integrating spatiotemporal and probabilistic entities and the notions of local causality and Markovity will be defined. Then, illustrated in a simple stochastic model, it will be shown how a discrete local physical theory transforms into a Bayesian network and how the Causal Markov Condition arises as a special case of (...)
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  23. added 2015-02-06
    Nikola Burić (2015). Relations Between Different Notions of Degrees of Freedom of a Quantum System and Its Classical Model. Foundations of Physics 45 (3):253-278.
    There are at least three different notions of degrees of freedom that are important in comparison of quantum and classical dynamical systems. One is related to the type of dynamical equations and inequivalent initial conditions, the other to the structure of the system and the third to the properties of dynamical orbits. In this paper, definitions and comparison in classical and quantum systems of the tree types of DF are formulated and discussed. In particular, we concentrate on comparison of the (...)
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  24. added 2015-02-06
    Daniel Rothbart (2003). The Revolution in Instrumentation. [REVIEW] Hyle 9:123-126.
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  25. added 2015-02-06
    David Knight (2002). Review of Chemical Sciences in the Twentieth Century. [REVIEW] Hyle 8:129-131.
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  26. added 2015-02-06
    Rom Harré (2001). Review of Philosophy of Chemistry. Between the Manifest and the Scientific Image. [REVIEW] Hyle 7:178-180.
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  27. added 2015-02-06
    Jaap van Brakel (1999). Review of The Autonomy of Chemistry. 3rd Erlenmeyer-Colloquy for the Philosophy of Chemistry. [REVIEW] Hyle 5:166-168.
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  28. added 2015-02-06
    John Cleave & Ian J. Thompson (1988). Chaos and Order: An Interview with Professor Michael Berry F.R.S. Cogito 2 (1):1-5.
  29. added 2015-02-05
    Christopher Peacocke (forthcoming). Magnitudes: Metaphysics, Explanation, and Perception. In D. Moyal-Sharrock, V. Munz & A. Coliva (eds.), Mind, Language, and Action: Proceedings of the 36th International Wittgenstein Symposium. de Gruyter.
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  30. added 2015-02-04
    G. Anthony Bruno (forthcoming). Varieties of Transcendental Idealism: Kant and Heidegger Thinking Beyond Life. Idealistic Studies.
  31. added 2015-02-02
    Thomas Mormann (forthcoming). From Mathematics to Quantum Mechanics - On the Conceptual Unity of Cassirer's Philosophy of Science (1907 - 1937). In J. Tyler Friedman & Sebastian Luft (eds.), The Philosophy of Ernst Cassirer. A Novel Assessment. de Gruyter.
  32. added 2015-01-22
    Bert Schroer (2015). A Hilbert Space Setting for Interacting Higher Spin Fields and the Higgs Issue. Foundations of Physics 45 (3):219-252.
    Wigner’s famous 1939 classification of positive energy representations, combined with the more recent modular localization principle, has led to a significant conceptual and computational extension of renormalized perturbation theory to interactions involving fields of higher spin. Traditionally the clash between pointlike localization and the the Hilbert space was resolved by passing to a Krein space setting which resulted in the well-known BRST gauge formulation. Recently it turned out that maintaining a Hilbert space formulation for interacting higher spin fields requires a (...)
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  33. added 2015-01-22
    Vladimir Garcia-Morales (2015). Quantum Mechanics and the Principle of Least Radix Economy. Foundations of Physics 45 (3):295-332.
    A new variational method, the principle of least radix economy, is formulated. The mathematical and physical relevance of the radix economy, also called digit capacity, is established, showing how physical laws can be derived from this concept in a unified way. The principle reinterprets and generalizes the principle of least action yielding two classes of physical solutions: least action paths and quantum wavefunctions. A new physical foundation of the Hilbert space of quantum mechanics is then accomplished and it is used (...)
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  34. added 2015-01-22
    Wayne Cheng-Wei Huang & Herman Batelaan (2015). Discrete Excitation Spectrum of a Classical Harmonic Oscillator in Zero-Point Radiation. Foundations of Physics 45 (3):333-353.
    We report that upon excitation by a single pulse, a classical harmonic oscillator immersed in the classical electromagnetic zero-point radiation exhibits a discrete harmonic spectrum in agreement with that of its quantum counterpart. This result is interesting in view of the fact that the vacuum field is needed in the classical calculation to obtain the agreement.
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  35. added 2015-01-19
    Kelvin J. McQueen (2015). Four Tails Problems for Dynamical Collapse Theories. Studies in the History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 49:10-18.
    The primary quantum mechanical equation of motion entails that measurements typically do not have determinate outcomes, but result in superpositions of all possible outcomes. Dynamical collapse theories (e.g. GRW) supplement this equation with a stochastic Gaussian collapse function, intended to collapse the superposition of outcomes into one outcome. But the Gaussian collapses are imperfect in a way that leaves the superpositions intact. This is the tails problem. There are several ways of making this problem more precise. But many authors dismiss (...)
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  36. added 2015-01-15
    Molly Kao (forthcoming). Unificatory Power in the Old Quantum Theory: Informational Relevance of the Quantum Hypothesis. Philosophy of Science.
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  37. added 2015-01-09
    Marian Kupczynski (forthcoming). Bell Inequalities, Experimental Protocols and Contextuality. Foundations of Physics:1-19.
    In this paper we give additional arguments in favor of the point of view that the violation of Bell, CHSH and CH inequalities is not due to a mysterious non locality of nature. We concentrate on an intimate relation between a protocol of a random experiment and a probabilistic model which is used to describe it. We discuss in a simple way differences between attributive joint probability distributions and generalized joint probability distributions of outcomes from distant experiments which depend on (...)
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  38. added 2015-01-09
    Gil Jannes (2015). Condensed Matter Lessons About the Origin of Time. Foundations of Physics 45 (3):279-294.
    It is widely hoped that quantum gravity will shed light on the question of the origin of time in physics. The currently dominant approaches to a candidate quantum theory of gravity have naturally evolved from general relativity, on the one hand, and from particle physics, on the other hand. A third important branch of twentieth century ‘fundamental’ physics, condensed-matter physics, also offers an interesting perspective on quantum gravity, and thereby on the problem of time. The bottomline might sound disappointing: to (...)
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  39. added 2015-01-07
    Marina Paola Banchetti-Robino (2014). From Corpuscles to Elements: Chemical Ontologies From Van Helmon to Lavoisier. In Lee McIntyre & Eric Scerri (eds.), Philosophy of Chemistry: Growth of a New Discipline. Springer. 141-154.
  40. added 2014-12-26
    Joffrey K. Peters, Jingyun Fan, Alan L. Migdall & Sergey V. Polyakov (forthcoming). Experimental Bounds on Classical Random Field Theories. Foundations of Physics:1-9.
    Alternative theories to quantum mechanics motivate important fundamental tests of our understanding and descriptions of the smallest physical systems. Here, using spontaneous parametric downconversion as a heralded single-photon source, we place experimental limits on a class of alternative theories, consisting of classical field theories which result in power-dependent normalized correlation functions. In addition, we compare our results with standard quantum mechanical interpretations of our spontaneous parametric downconversion source over an order of magnitude in intensity. Our data match the quantum mechanical (...)
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  41. added 2014-12-24
    Haichao Li, Guoqin Ge, Lingmin Liao & Shunbin Feng (2015). Electromagnetically Induced Transparency and Autler–Townes Splitting in a Superconducting Quantum Circuit with a Four-Level V-Type Energy Spectrum. Foundations of Physics 45 (2):198-210.
    We investigate electromagnetically induced transparency and Autler–Townes splitting in a superconducting quantum circuit with a four-level V-type energy spectrum constructed by two coupled superconducting charge qubits. We show that it is possible for this four-level superconducting system to exhibit multiple dips in the absorption spectrum of a probe field, with at most three dips resulting from a combination of two ATS subsystems, which indicates the breakdown of the traditional correspondence between a \\) -level system and \ dips. It is also (...)
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  42. added 2014-12-24
    Eolo Di Casola, Stefano Liberati & Sebastiano Sonego (2015). Between Quantum and Classical Gravity: Is There a Mesoscopic Spacetime? Foundations of Physics 45 (2):171-176.
    Between the microscopic domain ruled by quantum gravity, and the macroscopic scales described by general relativity, there might be an intermediate, “mesoscopic” regime, where spacetime can still be approximately treated as a differentiable pseudo-Riemannian manifold, with small corrections of quantum gravitational origin. We argue that, unless one accepts to give up the relativity principle, either such a regime does not exist at all—hence, the quantum-to-classical transition is sharp—, or the only mesoscopic, tiny corrections conceivable are on the behaviour of physical (...)
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  43. added 2014-12-24
    S. R. Vatsya (2015). Formulation of Spinors in Terms of Gauge Fields. Foundations of Physics 45 (2):142-157.
    It is shown in the present paper that the transformation relating a parallel transported vector in a Weyl space to the original one is the product of a multiplicative gauge transformation and a proper orthochronous Lorentz transformation. Such a Lorentz transformation admits a spinor representation, which is obtained and used to deduce the transportation properties of a Weyl spinor, which are then expressed in terms of a composite gauge group defined as the product of a multiplicative gauge group and the (...)
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  44. added 2014-12-24
    M. Gadella (2015). A Discussion on the Properties of Gamow States. Foundations of Physics 45 (2):177-197.
    Gamow states are vector states for the pure decaying part of a quantum resonance. We review and analyze the properties of Gamow vectors in different representations. In particular, we discuss the controversial problem of assigning a mean value of the energy for a Gamow state from several points of view. The question on whether a Gamow state is a pure state or not is also analyzed here, as has relevance on the assignation of a non-zero value for the entropy for (...)
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  45. added 2014-12-24
    Ramandeep S. Johal, Renuka Rai & Günter Mahler (2015). Reversible Heat Engines: Bounds on Estimated Efficiency From Inference. Foundations of Physics 45 (2):158-170.
    We consider work extraction from two finite reservoirs with constant heat capacity, when the thermodynamic coordinates of the process are not fully specified, i.e., are described by probabilities only. Incomplete information refers to both the specific value of the temperature as well as the label of the reservoir to which it is assigned. Based on the concept of inference, we characterize the reduced performance resulting from this lack of control. Indeed, the estimates for the average efficiency reveal that uncertainty regarding (...)
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  46. added 2014-12-24
    Adrian Kent (2015). Does It Make Sense to Speak of Self-Locating Uncertainty in the Universal Wave Function? Remarks on Sebens and Carroll. Foundations of Physics 45 (2):211-217.
    Following a proposal of Vaidman The Stanford encyclopaedia of philosophy, 2014) The probable and the improbable: understanding probability in physics, essays in memory of Itamar Pitowsky, 2011), Sebens and Carroll , have argued that in Everettian quantum theory, observers are uncertain, before they complete their observation, about which Everettian branch they are on. They argue further that this solves the problem of making sense of probabilities within Everettian quantum theory, even though the theory itself is deterministic. We note some problems (...)
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  47. added 2014-12-22
    Andreas Dorschel (2011). Ort und Raum. Saeculum. Jahrbuch Für Universalgeschichte 61 (1):1-15.
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  48. added 2014-12-20
    Mihai Vacariu & Gabriel Vacariu (forthcoming). (2015) The Unbelievable Similarities Between My Ideas (2002-2008) and the Ideas of Other People (2011-2014). Bucharest University Press.
    I posted on the Internet (on various webpages) all my first five published books (2008-2014) immediately after being published and the majority of my articles published at various journals. So, everybody had immediate access to my works, and therefore could have been possible for someone to write a book/paper with very similar ideas to mine’s in no more than 2 years! Amazingly, the people that are referred to in this book had not published any ideas in the past that were (...)
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  49. added 2014-12-15
    Louis Vervoort & Yves Gingras, Macroscopic Oil Droplets Mimicking Quantum Behavior: How Far Can We Push an Analogy?
    We describe here a series of experimental analogies between fluid mechanics and quantum mechanics recently discovered by a team of physicists. We argue that these experimental facts put ancient theoretical work by Madelung on the analogy between fluid and quantum mechanics into new light. We place these analogies in their historic and philosophical context, relating them to the de Broglie-Bohm interpretation of quantum mechanics. Finally we point out several advantages of the ‘fluid-mechanical’ interpretation of quantum mechanics over the Bohm interpretation.
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  50. added 2014-12-12
    Nicholas Maxwell (forthcoming). Can Scientific Method Help Us Create a Wiser World? In N. Dalal, A. Intezari & M. Heitz (eds.), Practical Wisdom in the Age of Technology: Insights, Issues and Questions for a New Millennium. Ashgate.
    Two great problems of learning confront humanity: (1) learning about the universe, and about ourselves as a part of the universe, and (2) learning how to make progress towards as good a world as possible. We solved the first problem when we created modern science in the 17th century, but we have not yet solved the second problem. This puts us in a situation of unprecedented danger. Modern science and technology enormously increase our power to act, but not our power (...)
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