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David John Baker [9]David J. Baker [2]David J. Baker [1]
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Profile: David Baker (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)
  1. David J. Baker & Hans Halvorson, How is Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking Possible?
    We pose and resolve a seeming paradox about spontaneous symmetry breaking in the quantum theory of infinite systems. For a symmetry to be spontaneously broken, it must not be implementable by a unitary operator. But Wigner's theorem guarantees that every symmetry is implemented by a unitary operator that preserves transition probabilities between pure states. We show how it is possible for a unitary operator of this sort to connect the folia of unitarily inequivalent representations. This result undermines interpretations of quantum (...)
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  2. David John Baker, Hans Halvorson & Noel Swanson, The Conventionality of Parastatistics.
    Nature seems to be such that we can describe it accurately with quantum theories of bosons and fermions alone, without resort to parastatistics. This has been seen as a deep mystery: paraparticles make perfect physical sense, so why don't we see them in nature? We consider one potential answer: every paraparticle theory is physically equivalent to some theory of bosons or fermions, making the absence of paraparticles in our theories a matter of convention rather than a mysterious empirical discovery. We (...)
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  3. David John Baker (forthcoming). Review: Frank Arntzenius: Space, Time, and Stuff. [REVIEW] .
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  4. David John Baker (2013). Identity, Superselection Theory, and the Statistical Properties of Quantum Fields. Philosophy of Science 80 (2):262-285.
    The permutation symmetry of quantum mechanics is widely thought to imply a sort of metaphysical underdetermination about the identity of particles. Despite claims to the contrary, this implication does not hold in the more fundamental quantum field theory, where an ontology of particles is not generally available. Although permutations are often defined as acting on particles, a more general account of permutation symmetry can be formulated using superselection theory. As a result, permutation symmetry applies even in field theories with no (...)
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  5. David John Baker & Hans Halvorson (2013). How is Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking Possible? Understanding Wigner's Theorem in Light of Unitary Inequivalence. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (4):464-469.
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  6. Marc Lange, Peter Vickers, John Michael, Miles MacLeod, Alexander R. Pruss, David John Baker, Clark Glymour & Simon Fitzpatrick (2013). 1. Really Statistical Explanations and Genetic Drift Really Statistical Explanations and Genetic Drift (Pp. 169-188). Philosophy of Science 80 (2).
     
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  7. David John Baker (2012). “The Experience of Left and Right” Meets the Physics of Left and Right. Noûs 46 (3):483-498.
    I consider an argument, due to Geoffrey Lee, that we can know a priori from the left-right asymmetrical character of experience that our brains are left-right asymmetrical. Lee's argument assumes a premise he calls relationism, which I show is well-supported by the best philosophical picture of spacetime. I explain why Lee's relationism is compatible with left-right asymmetrical laws. I then show that the conclusion of Lee's argument is not as strong or surprising as he makes it out to be.
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  8. David John Baker (2010). Gauging What's Real: The Conceptual Foundations of Gauge Theories, by Richard Healey. Mind 119 (474):490-494.
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  9. David John Baker, Review of Richard Healey, Gauging What's Real. [REVIEW]
    Review of Richard Healey's 2008 book. To appear in MIND.
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  10. David John Baker (2010). Symmetry and the Metaphysics of Physics. Philosophy Compass 5 (12):1157-1166.
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  11. David J. Baker (2005). Spacetime Substantivalism and Einstein's Cosmological Constant. Philosophy of Science 72 (5):1299-1311.
    I offer a novel argument for spacetime substantivalism: We should take the spacetime of general relativity to be a substance because of its active role in gravitational causation. As a clear example of this causal behavior I offer the cosmological constant, a term in the most general form of the Einstein field equations which causes free floating objects to accelerate apart. This acceleration cannot, I claim, be causally explained except by reference to spacetime itself.
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  12. David J. Baker (1997). Ea and Knowing in Hawai'i. Critical Inquiry 23 (3):640.
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