"But science in the making, science as an end to be pursued, is as subjective and psychologically conditioned as any other branch of human endeavor-- so much so that the question, What is the purpose and meaning of science? receives quite different answers at different times and from different sorts of people" (Einstein 1934, p. 112).
Two things about Hilary Putnam have not changed throughout his career: some (including Putnam himself) have regarded him as a “realist” and some have seen him as a philosopherwho changed his positions (certainly with respect to realism) almost continually. Apparently, what realism meant to him in the 1960s, in the late seventies and eighties, and in the nineties, respectively, are quite different things. Putnam indicates this by changing preﬁxes: scientiﬁc, metaphysical, internal, pragmatic, commonsense, but always realism. Encouraged by Putnam’s own (...) attempts to distinguish his views from one time to another, his work is often regarded as split between an early period of “metaphysical realism” (his characterization) and a later and still continuing period of “internal realism”. Late Putnam is understood to be a view that insists on the primacy of our practices, while the early period is taken to be a view from outside these, a “God’s Eye view”. As Putnam himself stresses (1992b), this way of dividing his work obscures continuities, the most important of which is a continuing attempt to understand what is involved in judging practices of inquiry, like science, as being objectively correct. Thus Putnam’s early and his current work appear to have more in common than the division between “early” and “late” suggests. In fact, Putnam’s earlier writings owe much of their critical force to his adopting the pragmatic perspective of an open-minded participant in practices of empirical inquiry, a stance not explicitly articulated in these writings but rather taken simply as a matter of course.1 Thus insofaras Putnam’s early writings defend a form of representational realism, they can be regarded as attempts to articulate a realist position at work inside our ordinary practices of making empirical judgments. For this reason, we begin our review of Putnam’s realisms by extracting from the early writings a core of principles that carries over into his current work but underwent signiﬁcantly different interpretations over time.. (shrink)
The central problem in the interpretation of the quantum theory is how to understand the superposition of the eigenstates of an observable. To a considerable extent scientific practice here, especially as codified in versions of Bohr's Copenhagen interpretation, follows an interpretive principle that I have elsewhere called the Rule of Silence (Ref.1). That rule admonishes us not to talk about the values of an observable unless the state of the system is an eigenstate, or a mixture of eigenstates, of the (...) observable in question. With regard to the rule of silence, as in other matters bearing on the interpretation of the quantum theory, Einstein was one of the first to realize that there can be difficulties. They appear as soon as we look at something like an explosion; i.e., the interaction between a micro and a macrosystem that involves the amplification of a microphenomenon to macroscopic scale (Ref.2). John Bell describes the difficulty over the rule of silence this way. (shrink)
(Draft copy published as “Science Made Up: Constructivist Sociology of Scientific Knowledge.” In P. Galison and D. Stump (eds.) The Disunity of Science: Boundaries, Contexts, and Power. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996, pp. 231-54.).
This manuscript proposes a proactive framework for preventing or mitigating disruptive ethical conflicts that often result from delayed or avoided conversations about the ethics of care. Four components of the framework are explained and illustrated with evidenced-based actions. Clinical implications of adopting a prevention-based, system-wide ethics framework are discussed. While some aspects of ethically-difficult situations are unique, system patterns allow some issues to occur repeatedly—often with lingering effects such as healthcare providers’ disengagement and moral distress (McAndrew et al. Journal of (...) Trauma Nursing 18(4):221–230, 2011), compromised inter-professional relationships (Rosenstein and O’Daniel American Journal of Nursing, 105(1):54–64, 2005), weakened ethical climates (Pauly et al. HEC Forum 24:1–11, 2012), and patient safety concerns (Cimiotti et al. American Journal of Infection Control 40:486–490, 2012). This work offers healthcare providers and clinical ethicists a framework for developing a comprehensive set of proactive, ethics-specific, and evidence-based strategies for mitigating ethical conflicts. Furthermore, the framework aims to encourage innovative research and novel ways of collaborating to reduce such conflicts and the moral distress that often results. (shrink)
In the concluding chapter of Exceeding our Grasp Kyle Stanford outlines a positive response to the central issue raised brilliantly by his book, the problem of unconceived alternatives. This response, called "epistemic instrumentalism", relies on a distinction between instrumental and literal belief. We examine this distinction and with it the viability of Stanford's instrumentalism, which may well be another case of exceeding our grasp.
In the concluding chapter of Exceeding our Grasp Kyle Stanford outlines a positive response to the central issue raised brilliantly by his book, the problem of unconceived alternatives. This response, called "epistemicinstrumentalism", relies on a distinction between instrumental and literal belief. We examine this distinction and with it the viability of Stanford's instrumentalism, which may well be another case of exceeding our grasp.
In the May 15, 1935 issue of Physical Review Albert Einstein co-authored a paper with his two postdoctoral research associates at the Institute for Advanced Study, Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen. The article was entitled “Can Quantum Mechanical Description of Physical Reality Be Considered Complete?” (Einstein et al. 1935). Generally referred to as “EPR”, this paper quickly became a centerpiece in the debate over the interpretation of the quantum theory, a debate that continues today. The paper features a striking case (...) where two quantum systems interact in such a way as to link both their spatial coordinates in a certain direction and also their linear momenta (in the same direction). As a result of this “entanglement”, determining either position or momentum for one system would fix (respectively) the position or the momentum of the other. EPR use this case to argue that one cannot maintain both an intuitive condition of local action and the completeness of the quantum description by means of the wave function. This entry describes the argument of that 1935 paper, considers several different versions and reactions, and explores the ongoing significance of the issues they raise. (shrink)
If a specific question has meaning, it must be possible to find operations by which an answer may be given to it. It will be found in many cases that the operations cannot exist, and the question therefore has no meaning. —Bridgman, The Logic of Modern Physics..
Recently, W. H. Zurek presented a novel derivation of the Born rule based on a mechanism termed environment-assisted invariance, or “envariance” [W. H. Zurek, Phys. Rev. Lett. 90(2), 120404 (2003)]. We review this approach and identify fundamental assumptions that have implicitly entered into it, emphasizing issues that any such derivation is likely to face.
A recent analysis by de Barros and Suppes of experimentally realizable GHZ correlations supports the conclusion that these correlations cannot be explained by introducing local hidden variables. We show, nevertheless, that their analysis does not exclude local hidden variable models in which the inefficiency in the experiment is an effect not only of random errors in the detector equipment, but is also the manifestation of a pre-set, hidden property of the particles ("prism models"). Indeed, we present an explicit prism model (...) for the GHZ scenario; that is, a local hidden variable model entirely compatible with recent GHZ experiments. (shrink)
What we represent to ourselves behind the appear- ances exists only in our understanding . . . [having] only the value of memoria technica or formula whose form, because it is arbitrary and irrelevant, varies . . . with the standpoint of our culture.
In this new edition, Arthur Fine looks at Einstein's philosophy of science and develops his own views on realism. A new Afterword discusses the reaction to Fine's own theory. "What really led Einstein . . . to renounce the new quantum order? For those interested in this question, this book is compulsory reading."--Harvey R. Brown, American Journal of Physics "Fine has successfully combined a historical account of Einstein's philosophical views on quantum mechanics and a discussion of some of the philosophical (...) problems associated with the interpretation of quantum theory with a discussion of some of the contemporary questions concerning realism and antirealism. . . . Clear, thoughtful, [and] well-written."--Allan Franklin, Annals of Science "Attempts, from Einstein's published works and unpublished correspondence, to piece together a coherent picture of 'Einstein realism.' Especially illuminating are the letters between Einstein and fellow realist Schrodinger, as the latter was composing his famous 'Schrodinger-Cat' paper."--Nick Herbert, New Scientist "Beautifully clear. . . . Fine's analysis is penetrating, his own results original and important. . . . The book is a splendid combination of new ways to think about quantum mechanics, about realism, and about Einstein's views of both."--Nancy Cartwright, Isis. (shrink)
This paper addresses the “inefficiency loophole” in the Bell theorem. We examine factorizable stochastic models for the Bell inequalities, where we allow the detection efficiency to depend both on the “hidden” state of the measured system and also its passage through an analyzer. We show that, nevertheless, if the efficiency functions are symmetric between the two wings of the experiment, one can dispense with supplementary assumptions and derive new inequalities that enable the models to be tested even for highly inefficient (...) experiments. (shrink)