Tomasz Bigaj Warsaw University, University of Illinois at Springfield
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  • Faculty, Warsaw University
  • Faculty, University of Illinois at Springfield
  • PhD, Warsaw University, 1996.

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About me
My recent research includes counterfactual analysis of non-locality in quantum mechanics and dispositional account of quantum properties. I am also interested in the problem of identity and individality in quantum mechanics and other physical theories. Currently I teach an introductory course in metaphysics and an upper-level and graduate seminar in philosophy of physics, as well as on-line courses in philosophy of science and philosophy of mind. My blog http://uwpseontology.blogspot.com/ contains some materials from my metaphysics course.
My works
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  1. Tomasz Bigaj (forthcoming). On Discernibility and Symmetries. Erkenntnis:1-19.
    This paper addresses the issue of the multiplicity of various grades of discernibility that can be defined in model theory. Building upon earlier works on the subject, I first expand the known logical categorizations of discernibility by introducing several symmetry-based concepts of discernibility, including one I call “witness symmetry-discernibility”. Then I argue that only grades of discernibility stronger than this one possess certain intuitive features necessary to individuate objects. Further downsizing of the set of non-equivalent grades of discernibility can be (...)
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  2. Christian Wüthrich & Tomasz Bigaj (eds.) (forthcoming). Metaphysics in Contemporary Physics.
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  3. Tomasz Bigaj (2013). How to Evaluate Counterfactuals in the Quantum World. Synthese 190 (4):619-637.
    In the article I discuss possible amendments and corrections to Lewis’s semantics for counterfactuals that are necessary in order to account for the indeterministic and non-local character of the quantum world. I argue that Lewis’s criteria of similarity between possible worlds produce incorrect valuations for alternate-outcome counterfactuals in the EPR case. Later I discuss an alternative semantics which rejects the notion of miraculous events and relies entirely on the comparison of the agreement with respect to individual facts. However, a controversy (...)
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  4. Jesús Adrián Escudero, Dan Zahavi, Romana Bassi, Alessandra Fussi, Alfredo Ferarin, Yi Zhao, Michael Martin, Veronique Munoz-Darde, David Grünberg & Tomasz Bigaj (2013). Visiting Professors From Abroad. Review of Metaphysics 67:273-280.
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  5. James Ladyman, Øystein Linnebo & Tomasz Bigaj (2013). Entanglement and Non-Factorizability. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (3):215-221.
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  6. Tomasz Bigaj (2012). Counterfactual Semantics and Quantum Physics. Semiotica 2012 (188).
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  7. Tomasz Bigaj (2012). Causation Without Influence. Erkenntnis 76 (1):1-22.
    David Lewis’s latest theory of causation defines the causal link in terms of the relation of influence between events. It turns out, however, that one event’s influencing another is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for its being a cause of that event. In the article one particular case of causality without influence is presented and developed. This case not only serves as a counterexample to Lewis’s influence theory, but also threatens earlier counterfactual analyses of causation by admitting a particularly (...)
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  8. Tomasz Bigaj (2012). Metaphysics. A Guided Tour for Beginners.
    This book contains a concise introduction to one of the most fundamental branches of philosophy, which deals with reality and its nature. Among the topics discussed are such metaphysical questions as "Are we fundamentally free?", "Does time really pass?", "Are there any abstract objects?", "What is causation?", "What are necessary and possible truths?". The book is aimed at absolute beginners, so it does not presuppose any previous knowledge of philosophy from the reader. For those who would like to pursue the (...)
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  9. Tomasz Bigaj (2012). Ungrounded Dispositions in Quantum Mechanics. Foundations of Science 17 (3):205-221.
    General metaphysical arguments have been proposed in favour of the thesis that all dispositions have categorical bases (Armstrong; Prior, Pargetter, Jackson). These arguments have been countered by equally general arguments in support of ungrounded dispositions (Molnar, Mumford). I believe that this controversy cannot be settled purely on the level of abstract metaphysical considerations. Instead, I propose to look for ungrounded dispositions in specific physical theories, such as quantum mechanics. I explain why non-classical properties such as spin are best interpreted as (...)
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  10. Tomasz Bigaj (2010). Dispositional Monism and the Circularity Objection. Metaphysica 11 (1):39-47.
    Three basic positions regarding the nature of fundamental properties are: dispositional monism, categorical monism and the mixed view. Dispositional monism apparently involves a regress or circularity, while an unpalatable consequence of categorical monism and the mixed view is that they are committed to quidditism. I discuss Alexander Bird's defence of dispositional monism based on the structuralist approach to identity. I argue that his solution does not help standard dispositional essentialism, as it admits the possibility that two distinct dispositional properties can (...)
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  11. Tomasz Bigaj (2010). How to (Properly) Strengthen Bell's Theorem Using Counterfactuals. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 41 (1):58-66.
    Bell’s theorem in its standard version demonstrates that the joint assumptions of the hidden-variable hypothesis and the principle of local causation lead to a conflict with quantum-mechanical predictions. In his latest counterfactual strengthening of Bell’s theorem, Stapp attempts to prove that the locality assumption itself contradicts the quantum-mechanical predictions in the Hardy case. His method relies on constructing a complex, non-truth functional formula which consists of statements about measurements and outcomes in some region R, and whose truth value depends on (...)
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  12. James Ladyman & Tomasz Bigaj (2010). The Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles and Quantum Mechanics. Philosophy of Science 77 (1):117-136.
    It is argued that recent discussion of the principle of the identity of indiscernibles (PII) and quantum mechanics has lost sight of the broader philosophical motivation and significance of PII and that the `received view' of the status of PII in the light of quantum mechanics survives recent criticisms of it by Muller, Saunders, and Seevinck.
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  13. Tomasz Bigaj (2008). On Temporal Becoming, Relativity, and Quantum Mechanics. In Dennis Dieks (ed.), The Ontology of Spacetime II.
    In the first section of the chapter, I scrutinize Howard Stein’s 1991 definition of a transitive becoming relation that is Lorentz invariant. I argue first that Stein’s analysis gives few clues regarding the required characteristics of the relation complementary to his becoming—i.e. the relation of indefiniteness. It turns out that this relation cannot satisfy the condition of transitivity, and this fact can force us to reconsider the transitivity requirement as applied to the relation of becoming. I argue that the relation (...)
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  14. Tomasz Bigaj (2008). Świat kwantowy w ujęciu kontrfaktycznym: odpowiedź Witoldowi Strawińskiemu. Filozofia Nauki 1.
    This is a response to a critical review of my book Non-locality and Possible Worlds (Ontos Verlag, Frankfurt 2006) by Witold Strawiński. I present arguments why counterfactual conditionals are needed in the description of quantum-mechanical phenomena, and in particular in the analysis of the condition of locality. I rebut arguments against my choice of the relation of similarity between possible worlds offered by W. Strawiński and M. Dickson. In the later part of the article I address some other issues raised (...)
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  15. Tomasz Bigaj (2007). Counterfactuals and Non-Locality of Quantum Mechanics: The Bedford–Stapp Version of the GHZ Theorem. [REVIEW] Foundations of Science 12 (1):85-108.
    In the paper, the proof of the non-locality of quantum mechanics, given by Bedford and Stapp (1995), and appealing to the GHZ example, is analyzed. The proof does not contain any explicit assumption of realism, but instead it uses formal methods and techniques of the Lewis calculus of counterfactuals. To ascertain the validity of the proof, a formal semantic model for counterfactuals is constructed. With the help of this model it can be shown that the proof is faulty, because it (...)
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  16. Tomasz Bigaj (2007). Władysaw Krajewski, 1919-2006. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 21 (1):91 – 93.
  17. Tomasz Bigaj (2006). Do Quantum-Mechanical Systems Always Possess Definite Properties Dictated by Their States? Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 91 (1):375-394.
    In the article the possibility of breaking the eigenvalue-eigenstate link in quantum mechanics is considered. An argument is presented to the effect that there are some non-maximal observables for which the implication from eigenstates to eigenvalues is not valid, i.e. such that although the probability of revealing certain value upon measurement is one, they don't possess this value before the measurement. It is shown that the existence of such observables leads to contextuality, i.e. the thesis that one Hermitean operator can (...)
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  18. Tomasz Bigaj (2006). Non-Locality and Possible Worlds. A Counterfactual Perspective on Quantum Entanglement. Ontos Verlag.
    This book uses the formal semantics of counterfactual conditionals to analyze the problem of non-locality in quantum mechanics. Counterfactual conditionals enter the analysis of quantum entangled systems in that they enable us to precisely formulate the locality condition that purports to exclude the existence of causal interactions between spatially separated parts of a system. They also make it possible to speak consistently about alternative measuring settings, and to explicate what is meant by quantum property attributions. The book develops the possible-world (...)
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  19. Tomasz Bigaj (2005). Causes, Conditions and Counterfactuals. Axiomathes 15 (4):599-619.
    The article deals with one particular problem created by the counterfactual analysis of causality à la Lewis, namely the context-sensitivity problem or, as I prefer to call it, the background condition problem. It appears that Lewis’ counterfactual definition of causality cannot distinguish between proper causes and mere causal conditions – i.e. factors necessary for the effect to occur, but commonly not seen as causally efficacious. The proposal is put forward to amend the Lewis definition with a condition, based on the (...)
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  20. Tomasz Bigaj (2004). Counterfactuals and Spatiotemporal Events. Synthese 142 (1):1 - 19.
    One of the basic assumptions of David Lewis''s formal semantics of counterfactuals is that the crucial relation of comparative similarity between possible worlds is a linear ordering.Yet there are arguments that when we take into account relativistic features of space-time, this relationshould be only a partial ordering. The first part of the paper deals with the question of how to formulate appropriatetruth conditions for counterfactuals under the supposition of a partial ordering of possible worlds. Such truthconditions will be put forward, (...)
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  21. Tomasz Bigaj (2003). The Indispensability Argument – a New Chance for Empiricism in Mathematics? Foundations of Science 8 (2):173-200.
    In recent years, the so-calledindispensability argument has been given a lotof attention by philosophers of mathematics.This argument for the existence of mathematicalobjects makes use of the fact, neglected inclassical schools of philosophy of mathematics,that mathematics is part of our best scientifictheories, and therefore should receive similarsupport to these theories. However, thisobservation raises the question about the exactnature of the alleged connection betweenexperience and mathematics (for example: is itpossible to falsify empirically anymathematical theorems?). In my paper I wouldlike to address this (...)
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  22. J. C. Beall, T. Bigaj, T. Fernando, B. Fitelson, N. Foo, W. Goldfarb, D. Gregory, T. Hailperin, H. Halvorson & K. Harris (2001). Arló-Costa, H., 479 Armour-Garb, B., 593 Azzouni, J., 329 Batens, D., 267. Journal of Philosophical Logic 30 (619).
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  23. Tomasz Bigaj (2001). Joachim Metallmann-Causality, Determinism and Science. Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 74:53-64.
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  24. Tomasz Bigaj (2001). Three-Valued Logic, Indeterminacy and Quantum Mechanics. Journal of Philosophical Logic 30 (2):97-119.
    The paper consists of two parts. The first part begins with the problem of whether the original three-valued calculus, invented by J. Łukasiewicz, really conforms to his philosophical and semantic intuitions. I claim that one of the basic semantic assumptions underlying Łukasiewicz's three-valued logic should be that if under any possible circumstances a sentence of the form "X will be the case at time t" is true (resp. false) at time t, then this sentence must be already true (resp. false) (...)
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  25. Tomasz Bigaj (1998). Analyticity and Existence in Mathematics. Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 62:103-114.
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  26. Tomasz Bigaj (1997). Uwagi o logice trójwartościowej. Filozofia Nauki 3.
    As it is well known, Jan Lukasiewicz invented his three-valued logic as a result of philosophical considerations concerning the problem of determinism and the status of future contingent sentences. In the article I critically analyse the thesis that the sentential calculus introduced by Lukasiewicz himself actually fulfills his philosophical assumptions. I point out that there are some counterintuitive features of Lukasiewicz three-valued logic. Firstly, there is no clear explanation for adopting specific truth-tables for logical connectives, such as conjunction, disjunction and (...)
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  27. Tomasz Bigaj (1995). Jakościowe teorie czasoprzestrzeni. Filozofia Nauki 4.
    This is an attempt to formulate (along the line of H. Field's nominalization program) purely qualitative versions of two theories of space time: Galilean and Minkowskian theories. The starting point is to present qualitative theory for affine geometry, which is based only on one primitive predicate: „between”. Then it is shown that with the help of this predicate whole mathematical structure of affine geometry can be reconstructed as a simple definitional extension. As a next step it is shown in details (...)
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  28. Tomasz Bigaj (1994). Kilka uwag w sprawie nezbędności matematyki w nauce. Filozofia Nauki 3.
    This is an attempt to defend Field's nominalistic program from the criticism raised by K. Wójtowicz in his article. The author argues for the following theses: (a) that Wójtowicz uses the notion of „mathematical theory” broader than Field does it; (b) that he misinterprets the conception of the „abstract counterparts” of nominalistic statements; (c) and that his general evaluation of Field's program is based on too high methodological standards which he applies to the possible nominalistic versions of empirical theories. The (...)
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  29. Tomasz Bigaj (1994). Przyczynowość w Szkole Lwowsko-Warszawskiej. Filozofia Nauki 2.
    The author presents and critically analyses different accounts of causal relation given by the main representants of Lvov-Warsaw School in philosophy. Although there are considerable differences between particular approaches to this problem, it is possible at least to distinguish the key questions, analysed and anwsered by these philosophers. Among them are such questions as: how to define „causal relation”, what are its formal features, what is the space-time localization of the effect and the cause, what are causal laws.
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  30. Tomasz Bigaj (1992). Problem uzasadniania egzystencjalnych założeń teorii (Uwagi na marginesie koncepcji W. V. O. Quine'a). Przegląd Filozoficzny - Nowa Seria 3 (3):45-53.
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  31. Tomasz Bigaj, Counterfactual Logic and the Hardy Paradox: Remarks on Shimony and Stein's Criticism of Stapp's Proof.
    This is an extended critique of comments made by Abner Shimony and Howard Stein on Henry Stapp’s proof of the non-locality of quantum mechanics. Although I claim that ultimately Stapp’s proof does not establish its purported conclusion, yet Shimony and Stein’s criticism contains a number of weak points, which need to be clarified.
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