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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 2014-11-19
    G. F. Dell’Antonio (forthcoming). On Tracks in a Cloud Chamber. Foundations of Physics:1-11.
    It is an experimental fact that \(\alpha \) -decays produce in a cloud chamber at most one track (sequence of liquid droplets) and that this track points in a random direction. This seems to contradict the description of decay in Quantum Mechanics: according to Gamow a spherical wave is produced and moves radially according to Schrödinger’s equation. It is as if the interaction with the supersaturated vapor turned the wave into a particle. The aim of this note is to place (...)
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  2. added 2014-11-19
    Peter Holland (forthcoming). Quantum Potential Energy as Concealed Motion. Foundations of Physics:1-8.
    It is known that the Schrödinger equation may be derived from a hydrodynamic model in which the Lagrangian position coordinates of a continuum of particles represent the quantum state. Using Routh’s method of ignorable coordinates it is shown that the quantum potential energy of particle interaction that represents quantum effects in this model may be regarded as the kinetic energy of additional ‘concealed’ freedoms. The method brings an alternative perspective to Planck’s constant, which plays the role of a hidden variable, (...)
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  3. added 2014-11-19
    N. C. A. Da Costa & C. De Ronde (2014). Non-Reflexive Logical Foundation for Quantum Mechanics. Foundations of Physics 44 (12):1369-1380.
    On the one hand, non-reflexive logics are logics in which the principle of identity does not hold in general. On the other hand, quantum mechanics has difficulties regarding the interpretation of ‘particles’ and their identity, also known in the literature as ‘the problem of indistinguishable particles’. In this article, we will argue that non-reflexive logics can be a useful tool to account for such quantum indistinguishability. In particular, we will provide a particular non-reflexive logic that can help us to analyze (...)
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  4. added 2014-11-18
    Elise M. Crull (forthcoming). Less Interpretation and More Decoherence in Quantum Gravity and Inflationary Cosmology. Foundations of Physics:1-27.
    I argue that quantum decoherence—understood as a dynamical process entailed by the standard formalism alone—carries us beyond conceptual aspects of non-relativistic quantum mechanics deemed insurmountable by many contributors to the recent quantum gravity and cosmology literature. These aspects include various incarnations of the measurement problem and of the quantum-to-classical puzzle. Not only can such problems be largely bypassed or dissolved without default to a particular interpretation, but theoretical work in relativistic arenas stands to gain substantial physical and philosophical insight by (...)
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  5. added 2014-11-18
    Maurizio Consoli (forthcoming). Probing the Vacuum of Particle Physics with Precise Laser Interferometry. Foundations of Physics:1-22.
    The discovery of the Higgs boson at LHC confirms that what we experience as empty space should actually be thought as a condensate of elementary quanta. This condensate characterizes the physically realized form of relativity and could play the role of preferred reference frame in a modern Lorentzian approach. This observation suggests a new interpretative scheme to understand the unexplained residuals in the old ether-drift experiments where light was still propagating in gaseous systems. Differently from present vacuum experiments, where anyhow (...)
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  6. added 2014-11-18
    Carsten Held (forthcoming). Einstein's Boxes: Incompleteness of Quantum Mechanics Without a Separation Principle. Foundations of Physics:1-17.
    Einstein made several attempts to argue for the incompleteness of quantum mechanics (QM), not all of them using a separation principle. One unpublished example, the box parable, has received increased attention in the recent literature. Though the example is tailor-made for applying a separation principle and Einstein indeed applies one, he begins his discussion without it. An analysis of this first part of the parable naturally leads to an argument for incompleteness not involving a separation principle. I discuss the argument (...)
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  7. added 2014-11-18
    Andrei Khrennikov (forthcoming). CHSH Inequality: Quantum Probabilities as Classical Conditional Probabilities. Foundations of Physics:1-15.
    In this note we demonstrate that the results of observations in the EPR–Bohm–Bell experiment can be described within the classical probabilistic framework. However, the “quantum probabilities” have to be interpreted as conditional probabilities, where conditioning is with respect to fixed experimental settings. Our approach is based on the complete account of randomness involved in the experiment. The crucial point is that randomness of selections of experimental settings has to be taken into account within one consistent framework covering all events related (...)
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  8. added 2014-11-18
    Mark Zelcer (2014). Review of E. Brian Davies, Why Beliefs Matter: Reflections on the Nature of Science. [REVIEW] Science, Religion and Culture 1 (3):141-143.
  9. added 2014-11-18
    Dennis Dieks, Décio Krause & Christian de Ronde (2014). Preface Special Issue Foundations of Physics. Foundations of Physics 44 (12):1245-1245.
    The foundations of quantum mechanics are attracting new and significant interest in the scientific community due to the recent striking experimental and technical progress in the fields of quantum computation, quantum teleportation and quantum information processing. However, at a more fundamental level the understanding and manipulation of these novel phenomena require not only new laboratory techniques but also new understanding, development and interpretation of the formalism of quantum mechanics itself, a mathematical structure whose connection to what happens in physical reality (...)
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  10. added 2014-11-18
    J. Mei-Hia (2011). La Religion Cosmique: La Voie de l'Harmonie Universelle: Tomes I, Ii Et Iii. L'Arbre Fleuri.
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  11. added 2014-11-18
    Geert Keil (2011). Quine. Reclam.
    Den Spuren des amerikanischen Philosophen Willard Van Orman Quine (1908-2000) begegnet man in der theoretischen Philosophie der Gegenwart auf Schritt und Tritt. Dies zeigt schon die lange Liste der Thesen und Stichworte, die mit seinem Namen verbunden sind: Kritik der Analytisch-synthetisch-Unterscheidung, Duhem-Quine-These des wissenschaftstheoretischen Holismus, die Dogmen des Empirismus, radikale Übersetzung, Unbestimmtheit der Übersetzung, ontologische Relativität, Flucht vor den Intensionen, Naturalisierung der Erkenntnistheorie. -/- Quine verstand die Philosophie als ein wissenschaftliches oder wissenschaftsbegleitendes Unternehmen. Sein Werk lässt sich den Disziplinen Erkenntnistheorie, (...)
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  12. added 2014-11-15
    Anna Marmodoro & David Yates (eds.) (forthcoming). The Metaphysics of Relations. OUP.
    A collection of papers on ancient and contemporary approaches to the nature and ontological status of relations. Forthcoming in 2015. -/- Contributors: Theodore Scaltsas, Jeffrey Brower, Sydney Penner, Maureen Donnelly, Jonathan Lowe, Peter Simons, John Heil, David Yates, Nora Berenstain, James Ladyman, Sebastian Briceno, Stephen Mumford, Michael Esfeld, Mauro Dorato.
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  13. added 2014-11-13
    William C. Lane (2006). The Best of Possible Worlds: A Testable Claim of Choice. Theology and Science 4 (3):261-278.
    Leibniz said that the universe, if God-created, would exist at a unique, conjoint, physical maximum: Of all possible worlds, it would be richest in phenomena, but its richness would arise from the simplest physical laws and initial conditions. Using concepts of ‘‘variety’’ and algorithmic informational complexity, Leibniz’ claim can be reframed as a testable theory. This theory predicts that the laws and conditions of the actual universe should be simpler, and the universe richer in phenomena, than the presence of observers (...)
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  14. added 2014-11-11
    Mauro Dorato & Michael Esfeld (forthcoming). The Metaphysics of Laws: Dispositionalism Vs. Primitivism. In T. Bigaj & C. Wutrich (eds.), Metaphysics and Science (tentative title). Poznan Studies.
    The paper compares dispositionalism about laws of nature with primitivism. It argues that while the distinction between these two positions can be drawn in a clear-cut manner in classical mechanics, it is less clear in quantum mechanics, due to quantum non-locality. Nonetheless, the paper points out advantages for dispositionalism in comparison to primitivism also in the area of quantum mechanics, and of contemporary physics in general.
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  15. added 2014-11-05
    Giuliano Torrengo (2014). Il caso Tridim. In Elena Casetta & Valeria Giardino (eds.), Mettere a fuoco il mondo. © ISONOMIA – Epistemologica, University of Urbino. 86-94.
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  16. added 2014-11-04
    Vladislav Terekhovich, The Metaphysics of the Principle of Least Action.
    This paper investigates a metaphysical content of the principle of least action (PLA) of analytic mechanics. The PLA says that an actual path of a physical system differs from all other possible paths that its action is minimal. The main issue is how a system can “know”, in advance, which path will minimize the action. In addition to the old teleological question, I continue the recent discussion regarding the modal involvement of the PLA and its relations with the Humean view (...)
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  17. added 2014-11-04
    Vladislav Terekhovich (2013). Philosophical and Methodological Problems of the Principle of Least Action. Dissertation, St. Petersburg State University, Russia
    Twenty extremal principles of the natural sciences are reformulated to the general ontological scheme. The hypothesis is substantiated that the unique role of the principle of least action is based on its probabilistic interpretation. It is shown how most of the variational principles can be reduced to the principle of maximal probability, which is based on a realistic interpretation of Feynman’s path integral method.
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  18. added 2014-11-03
    Isabella Tassani, Gino Tarozzi, Alessandro Afriat, Gennaro Auletta, Stefano Bordoni, Marco Buzzoni, Claudio Calosi, Vincenzo Fano, Alberto Cappi, Giovanni Macchia, Fabio Minazzi & Arcangelo Rossi (eds.) (2013). Oltre la fisica normale. Interpretazioni alternative e teorie non standard nella fisica moderna. ISONOMIA - Epistemologica.
    Nella sua straordinaria opera scientifica, Franco Selleri si è sempre opposto alla rinuncia alla comprensione della struttura della realtà e della natura degli oggetti fisici, che egli considera come l’elemento caratterizzante delle principali teorie della fisica del Novecento e che è stata stigmatizzata da Karl Popper come tesi della “fine della strada in fisica”. Sin dalla fine degli anni ’60, egli ha sviluppato quella riflessione critica nei confronti delle teorie fondamentali della fisica moderna, in particolar modo della teoria delle particelle (...)
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  19. added 2014-10-29
    Samson Abramsky & Lucien Hardy (2012). Logical Bell Inequalities. Physical Review A 85:062114-1 - 062114-11.
    Bell inequalities play a central role in the study of quantum nonlocality and entanglement, with many applications in quantum information. Despite the huge literature on Bell inequalities, it is not easy to find a clear conceptual answer to what a Bell inequality is, or a clear guiding principle as to how they may be derived. In this paper, we introduce a notion of logical Bell inequality which can be used to systematically derive testable inequalities for a very wide variety of (...)
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  20. added 2014-10-28
    Marius Stan (forthcoming). Euler, Newton, and Foundations for Mechanics. In Chris Smeenk & Eric Schliesser (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Newton. Oxford University Press.
    This chapter looks at Euler’s relation to Newton, and at his role in the rise of ‘Newtonian’ mechanics. It aims to give a sense of Newton’s complicated legacy for Enlightenment science, and to raise awareness that some key ‘Newtonian’ results are really due to Euler.
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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. added 2014-10-16
    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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  26. added 2014-10-13
    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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  27. 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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  28. 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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  29. 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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  30. 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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  31. 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.
    Next to 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. I reconstruct here Kant’s answer, from his “Metaphysical Foundations of Phenomenology.” It turns out that Kant addresses just one part of Newton’s case, namely, his (...)
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  32. 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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  33. added 2014-09-06
    Gregor Betz (2013). Climate Engineering. In Armin Grunwald (ed.), Handbuch Technikethik. Metzler. 254-257.
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  34. 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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