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Philosophy of Physical Science

Edited by Hans Halvorson (Princeton University)
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  1. Mika Aaltonen (2011). Time-Space Contexts, Knowledge and Management. Philosophy of Management 10 (3):79-84.
    Our lives take place within specific time-space contexts, and in everyday life these contexts are taken as self-evident. Simultaneously, we have accepted the classical idea of fixed, permanent and acontextual truths. This paper argues that people use and are aware of various time-space contexts, and have implicitly created knowledge and approaches that work within them. The paper further argues that explicit consideration of time-space contexts should influence thetools, techniques and methods we use when making sense of each situation, and determining (...)
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  2. Claes Åberg (1974). Relativity Phenomena in Set Theory. Synthese 27 (1-2):189 - 198.
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  3. Ernest W. Adams (1965). Elements of a Theory of Inexact Measurement. Philosophy of Science 32 (3/4):205-228.
    Modifications of current theories of ordinal, interval and extensive measurement are presented, which aim to accomodate the empirical fact that perfectly exact measurement is not possible (which is inconsistent with current theories). The modification consists in dropping the assumption that equality (in measure) is observable, but continuing to assume that inequality (greater or lesser) can be observed. The modifications are formulated mathematically, and the central problems of formal measurement theory--the existence and uniqueness of numerical measures consistent with data--are re-examined. Some (...)
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  4. Diederik Aerts, Jan Broekaert & Ernest Mathijs (eds.) (1999). Einstein Meets Magritte: An Interdisciplinary Reflection: The White Book of "Einstein Meets Magritte". Kluwer Academic.
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  5. Alexander Afriat, Cartesian and Lagrangian Momentum.
    I compare the momenta of Descartes and Lagrange geometrically, and consider cases in which the full generality of Lagrangian momentum is necessary.
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  6. Jon Agar (1994). Edwin Hubble, the Discoverer of the Big Bang Universe. [REVIEW] British Journal for the History of Science 27 (4):479-480.
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  7. David Albert (2005). The Foundations of Physics. In Frank Jackson & Michael Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
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  8. S. Alexander (1920). Space, Time, and Deity. Macmillan.
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  9. Wilfried Allaerts (1991). On the Role of Gravity and Positional Information in Embryological Axis Formation and Tissue Compartmentalization. Acta Biotheoretica 39 (1):47-62.
    The idea that gravity affects dorso-ventral polarization in anouran development contrasts with the theories of self-organization through reaction-diffusion processes. As a result of a literature study we discuss the role of gravity in embryological axis formation and speculate on an influence of gravity on tissue compartmentalization. The involvement of compartmentalization in tissue homeostasis is discussed in the light of the recent progress in mammalian cell culture studies.
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  10. J. S. Alper, M. Bridger, J. Earman & J. D. Norton (2000). What is a Newtonian System? The Failure of Energy Conservation and Determinism in Supertasks. Synthese 124 (2):281-293.
    Supertasks recently discussed in the literature purport to display a failure ofenergy conservation and determinism in Newtonian mechanics. We debatewhether these supertasks are admissible as Newtonian systems, with Earmanand Norton defending the affirmative and Alper and Bridger the negative.
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  11. Sebastián Álvarez Toledo (1988). The Strife of Systems. Theoria 4 (1):256-259.
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  12. Scientific American, Parallel Universes.
    reading this article? A person who is not you but who lives on a planet called Earth, with misty mountains, fertile fields and sprawling cities, in a solar system with eight other planets? The life of this person has been identical to yours in every respect. But perhaps he or she now decides to put down this article without finishing it, while you read on. The idea of such an alter ego seems strange and implausible, but it looks as if (...)
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  13. James L. Anderson (2003). Timekeeping in an Expanding Universe. In A. Ashtekar (ed.), Revisiting the Foundations of Relativistic Physics. 275--280.
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  14. Holger Andreas (2004). Das Problem der Chronometerauswahl. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 35 (2):205 - 234.
    On Choice of Time Metric. What criteria ought to be satisfied by those observable processes which, accompanied by a function assigning values to intervals of that processes, serve as the standard for measurement of time? In how far do the criteria which can reasonably be established admit of an unambigous definition of time metric? That are the questions to which I have addressed myself in the paper. Peter Janich has aimed at solving the problem with careful avoidance of any reference (...)
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  15. Leonard Angel (2005). Evens and Odds in Newtonian Collision Mechanics. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (1):179-188.
    can prevent non-contact interactions in Newtonian collision mechanics. The proposal is weakened by the apparent arbitrariness of what will be shown as the requirement of only an odd number of sets of some ex nihilo-created self-exciting particles. There is, however, an initial condition such that, without the ex nihilo self-exciting particles, either there is a contradictory outcome, or there is a non-contact configuration law, or there are odds versus evens indeterminacies. With the various odds versus evens arbitrarinesses and other such (...)
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  16. Aristidis Arageorgis, John Earman & and Laura Ruetsche (2003). Fulling Non‐Uniqueness and the Unruh Effect. Philosophy of Science 70 (1):164-202.
    We discuss the intertwined topics of Fulling non-uniqueness and the Unruh effect. The Fulling quantization, which is in some sense the natural one for an observer uniformly accelerated through Minkowski spacetime to adopt, is often heralded as a quantization of the Klein-Gordon field which is both physically relevant and unitarily inequivalent to the standard Minkowski quantization. We argue that the Fulling and Minkowski quantizations do not constitute a satisfactory example of physically relevant, unitarily inequivalent quantizations, and indicate what it would (...)
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  17. Frank Arntzenius (ed.) (2012). Space, Time, and Stuff. OUP Oxford.
    Frank Arntzenius presents a series of radical new ideas about the structure of space and time. Space, Time, and Stuff is an attempt to show that physics is geometry: that the fundamental structure of the physical world is purely geometrical structure. Along the way, he examines some non-standard views about the structure of spacetime and its inhabitants, including the idea that space and time are pointless, the idea that quantum mechanics is a completely local theory, the idea that antiparticles are (...)
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  18. D. Atkinson & J. C. R. Bloch, QCD in the Infrared with Exact Angular Integrations.
    In a previous paper we have shown that in quantum chromodynamics the gluon propagator vanishes in the infrared limit, while the ghost propagator is more singular than a simple pole. These results were obtained after angular averaging, but in the current paper we go beyond this approximation and perform an exact calculation of the angular integrals. The powers of the infrared behaviour of the propagators are changed substantially. We find the very intriguing result that the gluon propagator vanishes in the (...)
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  19. David Atkinson, Dirac's Quantum Jump.
    This minicourse on quantum mechanics is intended for students who have already been rather well exposed to the subject at an elementary level. It is assumed that they have surmounted the first conceptual hurdles and also have struggled with the Schrödinger equation in one dimension.
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  20. David Atkinson, Infrared and Ultraviolet Coupling in Qcd.
    The coupled Dyson-Schwinger equations for the gluon and ghost propagators in QCD are shown to have solutions that correspond to a unique running coupling that has a nite infrared xed point and the expected logarithmic decrease in the ultraviolet. The infrared coupling is large enough to support chiral symmetry breaking and quarks are not con ned, but they cannot be isolated.
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  21. David Atkinson (2009). Nonconservation of Energy and Loss of Determinism I. Infinitely Many Colliding Balls. Foundations of Physics 39 (8):937-957.
    An infinite number of elastically colliding balls is considered in a classical, and then in a relativistic setting. Energy and momentum are not necessarily conserved globally, even though each collision does separately conserve them. This result holds in particular when the total mass of all the balls is finite, and even when the spatial extent and temporal duration of the process are also finite. Further, the process is shown to be indeterministic: there is an arbitrary parameter in the general solution (...)
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  22. David Atkinson & Porter Johnson, Nonconservation of Energy and Loss of Determinism.
    An infinite number of elastically colliding balls is considered in a classical, and then in a relativistic setting. Energy and momentum are not necessarily conserved globally, even though each collision does separately conserve them. This result holds in particular when the total mass of all the balls is finite, and even when the spatial extent and temporal duration of the process are also finite. Further, the process is shown to be indeterministic: there is an arbitrary parameter in the general solution (...)
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  23. Harald Atmanspacher, Mind and Matter as Asymptotically Disjoint, Inequivalent Representations with Broken Time-Reversal Symmetry.
    body. While the latter areas are discussed mainly in fields such as the philosophy of mind, cognitive Many philosophical and scientific discussions of top-.
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  24. Harald Atmanspacher (2006). Complementarity in Classical Dynamical Systems. Foundations of Physics 36 (2):291-306.
    The concept of complementarity, originally defined for non-commuting observables of quantum systems with states of non-vanishing dispersion, is extended to classical dynamical systems with a partitioned phase space. Interpreting partitions in terms of ensembles of epistemic states (symbols) with corresponding classical observables, it is shown that such observables are complementary to each other with respect to particular partitions unless those partitions are generating. This explains why symbolic descriptions based on an ad hoc partition of an underlying phase space description should (...)
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  25. Randall E. Auxier (1999). The Bluffton Charge. The Personalist Forum 15 (1):193-196.
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  26. Jeremy Avigad, A Decision Procedure for Linear “Big o” Equations.
    Let F be the set of functions from an infinite set, S, to an ordered ring, R.
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  27. Emmon Bach (1986). The Algebra of Events. Linguistics and Philosophy 9 (1):5--16.
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  28. Jonathan Bain & John Norton (2001). What Should Philosophers of Science Learn From the History of the Electron? In A. Warwick (ed.), Histories of the Electron: The Birth of Microphysics. 451--465.
    We have now celebrated the centenary of J. J. Thomson’s famous paper (1897) on the electron and have examined one hundred years of the history of our first fundamental particle. What should philosophers of science learn from this history? To some, the fundamental moral is already suggested by the rapid pace of this history. Thomson’s concern in 1897 was to demonstrate that cathode rays are electrified particles and not aetherial vibrations, the latter being the “almost unanimous opinion of German physicists” (...)
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  29. Yuri Balashov, Two Theories of the Universe.
    Cosmology as Weltanschauung is as old as the world. Cosmology as a physical discipline, however, is a child of this century, born in 1917, when Albert Einstein and Willem de Sitter first applied the theory of general relativity to the space-time of the entire universe. When did the child come of age and become a fully-fledged science? A popular myth shared by many practitioners holds that this did not happen until 1965, when the discovery of the 2.7K cosmic microwave background (...)
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  30. Yuri Balashov (1999). Zero-Value Physical Quantities. Synthese 119 (3):253-286.
    To state an important fact about the photon, physicists use such expressions as (1) “the photon has zero (null, vanishing) mass” and (2) “the photon is (a) massless (particle)” interchangeably. Both (1) and (2) express the fact that the photon has no non-zero mass. However, statements (1) and (2) disagree about a further fact: (1) attributes to the photon the property of zero-masshood whereas (2) denies that the photon has any mass at all. But is there really a difference between (...)
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  31. Aristides Baltas (1991). On Some Structural Aspects of Physical Problems. Synthese 89 (2):299 - 320.
    Bachelard's concept of the problématique is used in order to classify physical problems and their interrelations. This classification is effectuated along two dimensions. Along the horizontal dimension, physical problems are divided into the kinds that the different modes of physics' development define. These modes are themselves determined by the interplay among the conceptual system, the object and the experimentation transactions specific to physics. Along the vertical dimension, physical problems are classified according to the different stages of maturation they have to (...)
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  32. Julian B. Barbour & Bruno Bertotti (1977). Gravity and Inertia in a Machian Framework. Nuovo Cimento 38:1--27.
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  33. V. Barger (1969). Phenomenological Theories of High Energy Scattering. New York, W. A. Benjamin.
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  34. Patrick A. Barker (1988). Physics of the Universe a Universe of Strings : A Theory of Everything : The Gyroquantum Theory. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
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  35. H. Barreau (1980). Pour le centenaire d'Albert Einstein: Einstein et les concepts d'espace et de temps. Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 85 (3):357 - 369.
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  36. Ted Bastin (1974). Probability in a Discrete Model of Particles and Observations. Synthese 29 (1-4):203 - 227.
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  37. Vadim Batitsky & Zoltan Domotor (2007). When Good Theories Make Bad Predictions. Synthese 157 (1):79 - 103.
    Chaos-related obstructions to predictability have been used to challenge accounts of theory validation based on the agreement between theoretical predictions and experimental data . These challenges are incomplete in two respects: they do not show that chaotic regimes are unpredictable in principle and, as a result, that there is something conceptually wrong with idealized expectations of correct predictions from acceptable theories, and they do not explore whether chaos-induced predictive failures of deterministic models can be remedied by stochastic modeling. In this (...)
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  38. Robert Batterman (2005). Critical Phenomena and Breaking Drops: Infinite Idealizations in Physics. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 36 (2):225-244.
    Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics are related to one another through the so-called "thermodynamic limit'' in which, roughly speaking the number of particles becomes infinite. At critical points (places of physical discontinuity) this limit fails to be regular. As a result, the "reduction'' of Thermodynamics to Statistical Mechanics fails to hold at such critical phases. This fact is key to understanding an argument due to Craig Callender to the effect that the thermodynamic limit leads to mistakes in Statistical Mechanics. I discuss (...)
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  39. Robert W. Batterman (1991). Randomness and Probability in Dynamical Theories: On the Proposals of the Prigogine School. Philosophy of Science 58 (2):241-263.
    I discuss recent work in ergodic theory and statistical mechanics, regarding the compatibility and origin of random and chaotic behavior in deterministic dynamical systems. A detailed critique of some quite radical proposals of the Prigogine school is given. I argue that their conclusion regarding the conceptual bankruptcy of the classical conceptions of an exact microstate and unique phase space trajectory is not completely justified. The analogy they want to draw with quantum mechanics is not sufficiently close to support their most (...)
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  40. Mark H. Bauer (1951). Cosmic Radiation and its Biological Effects. Thought 26 (3):476-477.
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  41. Maximilian Beck (1946). The Static Character of Time and Flux. New Scholasticism 20 (2):179-182.
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  42. Katherine Bedard (1999). Material Objects in Bohm's Interpretation. Philosophy of Science 66 (2):221-242.
    According to the traditional presentation of Bohm's interpretation, we have immediate epistemic access to particle properties but not wavefunction properties, and mental states, pointer states, and ink patterns supervene on particle properties alone. I argue that these claims do not make physical sense, and I offer an alternative account that does.
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  43. John Bell, Cosmological Theories and the Question of the Existence of a Creator.
    In a Vedic hymn, Reality or Being is proclaimed as having “arisen from Nothing”. By contrast, in Jaina cosmology time has no beginning; the universe, uncreated, has always existed.In Plato’s Timaeus the universe is conceived as not having existed eternally, but as having been created at some past time by a demiurge acting on pre-existing substance. We are all familiar with the arresting first line of Genesis.
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  44. Nue Belnap, Branching Space-Time, Postprint January, 2003.
    ``Branching space-time'' is a simple blend of relativity and indeterminism. Postulates and definitions rigorously describe the ``causal order'' relation between possible point events. The key postulate is a version of ``everything has a causal origin''; key defined terms include ``history'' and ``choice point.'' Some elementary but helpful facts are proved. Application is made to the status of causal contemporaries of indeterministic events, to how ``splitting'' of histories happens, to indeterminism without choice, and to Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen distant correlations.
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  45. G. Belot, J. Earman & and L. Ruetsche (1999). The Hawking Information Loss Paradox: The Anatomy of Controversy. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 50 (2):189-229.
    Stephen Hawking has argued that universes containing evaporating black holes can evolve from pure initial states to mixed final ones. Such evolution is non-unitary and so contravenes fundamental quantum principles on which Hawking's analysis was based. It disables the retrodiction of the universe's initial state from its final one, and portends the time-asymmetry of quantum gravity. Small wonder that Hawking's paradox has met with considerable resistance. Here we use a simple result for C*-algebras to offer an argument for pure-to-mixed state (...)
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  46. Gordon Belot (2005). Whose Devil? Which Details? Philosophy of Science 72 (1):128-153.
    Batterman has recently argued that fundamental theories are typically explanatorily inadequate, in that there exist physical phenomena whose explanation requires that the conceptual apparatus of a fundamental theory be supplemented by that of a less fundamental theory. This paper is an extended critical commentary on that argument: situating its importance, describing its structure, and developing a line of objection to it. The objection is that in the examples Batterman considers, the mathematics of the less fundamental theory is definable in terms (...)
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  47. Gordon Belot, John Earman & Laura Ruetsche (1999). The Hawking Information Loss Paradox: The Anatomy of a Controversy. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 50 (2):189 - 229.
    Stephen Hawking has argued that universes containing evaporating black holes can evolve from pure initial states to mixed final ones. Such evolution is non-unitary and so contravenes fundamental quantum principles on which Hawking's analysis was based. It disables the retrodiction of the universe's initial state from its final one, and portends the time-asymmetry of quantum gravity. Small wonder that Hawking's paradox has met with considerable resistance. Here we use a simple result for C*-algebras to offer an argument for pure-to-mixed state (...)
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  48. D. W. Belousek (forthcoming). Interpretation and Ontology in Modern Physics. Metascience.
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