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Profile: David Wallace (Balliol College, Oxford)
  1.  45
    David Wallace, Emergence of Particles From Bosonic Quantum Field Theory.
    An examination is made of the way in which particles emerge from linear, bosonic, massive quantum field theories. Two different constructions of the one-particle subspace of such theories are given, both illustrating the importance of the interplay between the quantum-mechanical linear structure and the classical one. Some comments are made on the Newton-Wigner representation of one-particle states, and on the relationship between the approach of this paper and those of Segal, and of Haag and Ruelle.
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  2.  30
    David Wallace, Who's Afraid of Coordinate Systems? An Essay on Representation of Spacetime Structure.
    Coordinate-based approaches to physical theories remain standard in mainstream physics but are largely eschewed in foundational discussion in favour of coordinate-free differential-geometric approaches. I defend the conceptual and mathematical legitimacy of the coordinate-based approach for foundational work. In doing so, I provide an account of the Kleinian conception of geometry as a theory of invariance under symmetry groups; I argue that this conception continues to play a very substantial role in contemporary mathematical physics and indeed that supposedly ``coordinate-free'' differential geometry (...)
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  3.  24
    David Wallace, More Problems for Newtonian Cosmology.
    I point out a radical indeterminism in potential-based formulations of Newtonian gravity once we drop the condition that the potential vanishes at infinity. This indeterminism, which is well known in theoretical cosmology but has received little attention in foundational discussions, can be removed only by specifying boundary conditions at all instants of time, which undermines the theory's claim to be fully cosmological, i.e., to apply to the Universe as a whole. A recent alternative formulation of Newtonian gravity due to Saunders (...)
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  4.  38
    Simon Saunders, Jonathan Barrett, Adrian Kent & David Wallace (eds.) (2010). Many Worlds? Everett, Quantum Theory, and Reality. Oxford University Press.
    These are the questions which an illustrious team of philosophers and physicists debate in this volume.
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  5.  21
    David Wallace, What is Orthodox Quantum Mechanics?
    What is called ``orthodox'' quantum mechanics, as presented in standard foundational discussions, relies on two substantive assumptions --- the projection postulate and the eigenvalue-eigenvector link --- that do not in fact play any part in practical applications of quantum mechanics. I argue for this conclusion on a number of grounds, but primarily on the grounds that the projection postulate fails correctly to account for repeated, continuous and unsharp measurements and that the eigenvalue-eigenvector link implies that virtually all interesting properties are (...)
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  6.  26
    David Wallace (2012). The Emergent Multiverse. Oxford University Press.
    Presenting a striking new account of the 'many worlds' approach to quantum theory, aka the Everett interpretation, David Wallace offers a clear and up-to-date survey of work on this theory in physics and in philosophy of science.
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  7. Hilary Greaves & David Wallace (2006). Justifying Conditionalization: Conditionalization Maximizes Expected Epistemic Utility. Mind 115 (459):607-632.
    According to Bayesian epistemology, the epistemically rational agent updates her beliefs by conditionalization: that is, her posterior subjective probability after taking account of evidence X, pnew, is to be set equal to her prior conditional probability pold(·|X). Bayesians can be challenged to provide a justification for their claim that conditionalization is recommended by rationality—whence the normative force of the injunction to conditionalize? There are several existing justifications for conditionalization, but none directly addresses the idea that conditionalization will be epistemically rational (...)
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  8.  9
    David Wallace, Life and Death in the Tails of the Wave Function.
    It seems to be widely assumed that the only effect of the Ghirardi-Rimini-Weber dynamical collapse mechanism on the `tails' of the wavefunction is to reduce their weight. In consequence it seems to be generally accepted that the tails behave exactly as do the various branches in the Everett interpretation except for their much lower weight. These assumptions are demonstrably inaccurate: the collapse mechanism has substantial and detectable effects within the tails. The relevance of this misconception for the dynamical-collapse theories is (...)
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  9.  71
    David Wallace (2003). Everett and Structure. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 34 (1):87-105.
    I address the problem of indefiniteness in quantum mechanics: the problem that the theory, without changes to its formalism, seems to predict that macroscopic quantities have no definite values. The Everett interpretation is often criticised along these lines, and I shall argue that much of this criticism rests on a false dichotomy: that the macroworld must either be written directly into the formalism or be regarded as somehow illusory. By means of analogy with other areas of physics, I develop the (...)
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  10. David Wallace (2006). Epistemology Quantized: Circumstances in Which We Should Come to Believe in the Everett Interpretation. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (4):655-689.
    I consider exactly what is involved in a solution to the probability problem of the Everett interpretation, in the light of recent work on applying considerations from decision theory to that problem. I suggest an overall framework for understanding probability in a physical theory, and conclude that this framework, when applied to the Everett interpretation, yields the result that that interpretation satisfactorily solves the measurement problem. Introduction What is probability? 2.1 Objective probability and the Principal Principle 2.2 Three ways of (...)
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  11. David Wallace & Christopher Gordon Timpson (2010). Quantum Mechanics on Spacetime I: Spacetime State Realism. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (4):697-727.
    What ontology does realism about the quantum state suggest? The main extant view in contemporary philosophy of physics is wave-function realism . We elaborate the sense in which wave-function realism does provide an ontological picture, and defend it from certain objections that have been raised against it. However, there are good reasons to be dissatisfied with wave-function realism, as we go on to elaborate. This motivates the development of an opposing picture: what we call spacetime state realism , a view (...)
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  12. David Wallace (2007). Quantum Probability From Subjective Likelihood: Improving on Deutsch's Proof of the Probability Rule. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 38 (2):311-332.
    I present a proof of the quantum probability rule from decision-theoretic assumptions, in the context of the Everett interpretation. The basic ideas behind the proof are those presented in Deutsch's recent proof of the probability rule, but the proof is simpler and proceeds from weaker decision-theoretic assumptions. This makes it easier to discuss the conceptual ideas involved in the proof, and to show that they are defensible.
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  13.  46
    David Wallace (2011). Taking Particle Physics Seriously: A Critique of the Algebraic Approach to Quantum Field Theory. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 42 (2):116-125.
    I argue against the currently prevalent view that algebraic quantum field theory (AQFT) is the correct framework for philosophy of quantum field theory and that “conventional” quantum field theory (CQFT), of the sort used in mainstream particle physics, is not suitable for foundational study. In doing so, I defend that position that AQFT and CQFT should be understood as rival programs to resolve the mathematical and physical pathologies of renormalization theory, and that CQFT has succeeded in this task and AQFT (...)
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  14. David Wallace (2009). QFT, Antimatter, and Symmetry. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 40 (3):209-222.
    A systematic analysis is made of the relations between the symmetries of a classical field and the symmetries of the one-particle quantum system that results from quantizing that field in regimes where interactions are weak. The results are applied to gain a greater insight into the phenomenon of antimatter.
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  15.  90
    David Wallace (2006). In Defence of Naiveté: The Conceptual Status of Lagrangian Quantum Field Theory. Synthese 151 (1):33 - 80.
    I analyse the conceptual and mathematical foundations of Lagrangian quantum field theory (QFT) (that is, the ‘naive’ (QFT) used in mainstream physics, as opposed to algebraic quantum field theory). The objective is to see whether Lagrangian (QFT) has a sufficiently firm conceptual and mathematical basis to be a legitimate object of foundational study, or whether it is too ill-defined. The analysis covers renormalisation and infinities, inequivalent representations, and the concept of localised states; the conclusion is that Lagrangian QFT (at least (...)
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  16. David Wallace, Implications of Quantum Theory in the Foundations of Statistical Mechanics.
    An investigation is made into how the foundations of statistical mechanics are affected once we treat classical mechanics as an approximation to quantum mechanics in certain domains rather than as a theory in its own right; this is necessary if we are to understand statistical-mechanical systems in our own world. Relevant structural and dynamical differences are identified between classical and quantum mechanics (partly through analysis of technical work on quantum chaos by other authors). These imply that quantum mechanics significantly affects (...)
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  17. David Wallace (2003). Everettian Rationality: Defending Deutsch's Approach to Probability in the Everett Interpretation. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 34 (3):415-439.
    An analysis is made of Deutsch's recent claim to have derived the Born rule from decision-theoretic assumptions. It is argued that Deutsch's proof must be understood in the explicit context of the Everett interpretation, and that in this context, it essentially succeeds. Some comments are made about the criticism of Deutsch's proof by Barnum, Caves, Finkelstein, Fuchs, and Schack; it is argued that the flaw which they point out in the proof does not apply if the Everett interpretation is assumed.
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  18. David Wallace & Christopher G. Timpson (2007). Non-Locality and Gauge Freedom in Deutsch and Hayden's Formulation of Quantum Mechanics. Foundations of Physics 37 (6):951-955.
    Deutsch and Hayden have proposed an alternative formulation of quantum mechanics which is completely local. We argue that their proposal must be understood as having a form of ‘gauge freedom’ according to which mathematically distinct states are physically equivalent. Once this gauge freedom is taken into account, their formulation is no longer local.
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  19. David Wallace (2010). Gravity, Entropy, and Cosmology: In Search of Clarity. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (3):513-540.
    I discuss the statistical mechanics of gravitating systems and in particular its cosmological implications, and argue that many conventional views on this subject in the foundations of statistical mechanics embody significant confusion; I attempt to provide a clearer and more accurate account. In particular, I observe that (i) the role of gravity in entropy calculations must be distinguished from the entropy of gravity, that (ii) although gravitational collapse is entropy-increasing, this is not usually because the collapsing matter itself increases in (...)
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  20. David Wallace (1996). Art, Autonomy, and Heteronomy: The Provocation of Arnold Hauser's the Social History of Art. Thesis Eleven 44 (1):28-46.
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  21. David Wallace (2014). Review of Laura Ruetsche's "Interpreting Quantum Theories". [REVIEW] British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (2):425-428.
  22.  67
    David Wallace (2002). Worlds in the Everett Interpretation. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 33 (4):637-661.
    This is a discussion of how we can understand the world-view given to us by the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics, and in particular the role played by the concept of 'world'. The view presented is that we are entitled to use 'many-worlds' terminology even if the theory does not specify the worlds in the formalism; this is defended by means of an extensive analogy with the concept of an 'instant' or moment of time in relativity, with the lack of (...)
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  23. David Wallace (2002). Time-Dependent Symmetries: The Link Between Gauge Symmetries and Indeterminism. In Katherine Brading & Elena Castellani (eds.), Symmetries in Physics: Philosophical Reflections. CUP 163--173.
    Mathematically, gauge theories are extraordinarily rich --- so rich, in fact, that it can become all too easy to lose track of the connections between results, and become lost in a mass of beautiful theorems and properties: indeterminism, constraints, Noether identities, local and global symmetries, and so on. -/- One purpose of this short article is to provide some sort of a guide through the mathematics, to the conceptual core of what is actually going on. Its focus is on the (...)
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  24.  37
    David Wallace, Quantum Probability and Decision Theory, Revisited [2002 Online-Only Paper].
    An extended analysis is given of the program, originally suggested by Deutsch, of solving the probability problem in the Everett interpretation by means of decision theory. Deutsch's own proof is discussed, and alternatives are presented which are based upon different decision theories and upon Gleason's Theorem. It is argued that decision theory gives Everettians most or all of what they need from `probability'. Contact is made with Lewis's Principal Principle linking subjective credence with objective chance: an Everettian Principal Principle is (...)
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  25. Hilary Greaves & David Wallace (2006). Justifying Conditionalisation: Conditionalisation Maximises Expected Epistemic Utility. Mind 115 (459):607-632.
    According to Bayesian epistemology, the epistemically rational agent updates her beliefs by conditionalization: that is, her posterior subjective probability after taking account of evidence X, pnew, is to be set equal to her prior conditional probability pold(.|X). Bayesians can be challenged to provide a justification for their claim that conditionalization is recommended by rationality --- whence the normative force of the injunction to conditionalize? -/- There are several existing justifications for conditionalization, but none directly addresses the idea that conditionalization will (...)
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  26. David Wallace (2008). The Quantum Measurement Problem: State of Play. In Dean Rickles (ed.), The Ashgate Companion to Contemporary Philosophy of Physics. Ashgate
    This is a preliminary version of an article to appear in the forthcoming Ashgate Companion to the New Philosophy of Physics.In it, I aim to review, in a way accessible to foundationally interested physicists as well as physics-informed philosophers, just where we have got to in the quest for a solution to the measurement problem. I don't advocate any particular approach to the measurement problem (not here, at any rate!) but I do focus on the importance of decoherence theory to (...)
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  27.  66
    David Wallace (2010). Decoherence and Ontology (Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love FAPP). In Simon Saunders, Jon Barrett, Adrian Kent & David Wallace (eds.), Many Worlds? Everett, Quantum Theory, and Reality. OUP 53--72.
    NGC 1300 (shown in figure 1) is a spiral galaxy 65 million light years from Earth.1 We have never been there, and (although I would love to be wrong about this) we will never go there; all we will ever know about NGC 1300 is what we can see of it from sixty-five million light years away, and what we can infer from our best physics. Fortunately, “what we can infer from our best physics” is actually quite a lot. To (...)
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  28.  9
    David Wallace, Fields as Bodies: A Unified Presentation of Spacetime and Internal Gauge Symmetry.
    Using the parametrised representation of field theory I demonstrate that in both local and global cases, internal and spacetime symmetries can be treated precisely on a par, so that gravitational theories may be regarded as gauge theories in a completely standard sense.
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  29. David Wallace (2010). A Formal Proof of the Born Rule From Decision-Theoretic Assumptions [Aka: How to Prove the Born Rule]. In Simon Saunders, Jon Barrett, Adrian Kent & David Wallace (eds.), Many Worlds? Everett, Quantum Theory, and Reality. OUP
    I develop the decision-theoretic approach to quantum probability, originally proposed by David Deutsch, into a mathematically rigorous proof of the Born rule in (Everett-interpreted) quantum mechanics. I sketch the argument informally, then prove it formally, and lastly consider a number of proposed ``counter-examples'' to show exactly which premises of the argument they violate. (This is a preliminary version of a chapter to appear --- under the title ``How to prove the Born Rule'' --- in Saunders, Barrett, Kent and Wallace, "Many (...)
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  30. David Wallace (forthcoming). The Logic of the Past Hypothesis. In Barry Loewer, Eric Winsberg & Brad Weslake (eds.), Currently-unnamed volume discussing David Albert's "Time and Chance".
    I attempt to get as clear as possible on the chain of reasoning by which irreversible macrodynamics is derivable from time-reversible microphysics, and in particular to clarify just what kinds of assumptions about the initial state of the universe, and about the nature of the microdynamics, are needed in these derivations. I conclude that while a “Past Hypothesis” about the early Universe does seem necessary to carry out such derivations, that Hypothesis is not correctly understood as a constraint on the (...)
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  31. David Wallace (2012). The Emergent Multiverse: Quantum Theory According to the Everett Interpretation. OUP Oxford.
    David Wallace argues that we should take quantum theory seriously as an account of what the world is like--which means accepting the idea that the universe is constantly branching into new universes. He presents an accessible but rigorous account of the 'Everett interpretation', the best way to make coherent sense of quantum physics.
     
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  32. David Wallace (2004). Protecting Cognitive Science From Quantum Theory. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (5):636-637.
    The relation between micro-objects and macro-objects advocated by Kim is even more problematic than Ross & Spurrett (R&S) argue, for reasons rooted in physics. R&S's own ontological proposals are much more satisfactory from a physicist's viewpoint but may still be problematic. A satisfactory theory of macroscopic ontology must be as independent as possible of the details of microscopic physics.
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  33.  14
    David Wallace, Deflating the Aharonov-Bohm Effect.
    I argue that the metaphysical import of the Aharonov-Bohm effect has been overstated: correctly understood, it does not require either rejection of gauge invariance or any novel form of nonlocality. The conclusion that it does require one or the other follows from a failure to keep track, in the analysis, of the complex scalar field to which the magnetic vector potential is coupled. Once this is recognised, the way is clear to a local account of the ontology of electrodynamics ; (...)
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  34. Harvey Brown & David Wallace (2005). Solving the Measurement Problem: De Broglie-Bohm Loses Out to Everett. [REVIEW] Foundations of Physics 35 (4):517-540.
    The quantum theory of de Broglie and Bohm solves the measurement problem, but the hypothetical corpuscles play no role in the argument. The solution finds a more natural home in the Everett interpretation.
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  35.  8
    David Wallace (2010). Decoherence and Ontology. In Simon Saunders, Jonathan Barrett, Adrian Kent & David Wallace (eds.), Many Worlds?: Everett, Quantum Theory, & Reality. OUP Oxford
    I make the case that the Universe according to unitary quantum theory has a branching structure, and so can literally be regarded as a "many-worlds" theory. These worlds are not part of the _fundamental_ ontology of quantum theory - instead, they are to be understood as structures, or patterns, emergent from the underlying theory, through the dynamical process of decoherence. That they are structures in this sense does not mean that they are in any way unreal: indeed, pretty much all (...)
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  36.  39
    David Wallace, Language Use in a Branching Universe.
    I investigate the consequences for semantics, and in particular for the semantics of tense, if time is assumed to have a branching structure not out of metaphysical necessity (to solve some philosophical problem) but just as a contingent physical fact, as is suggested by a currently-popular approach to the interpretation of quantum mechanics.
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  37. Simon Saunders, Jonathan Barrett, Adrian Kent & David Wallace (eds.) (2010). Many Worlds?: Everett, Quantum Theory & Reality. Oxford University Press Uk.
    What would it mean to apply quantum theory, without restriction and without involving any notion of measurement and state reduction, to the whole universe? What would realism about the quantum state then imply? This book brings together an illustrious team of philosophers and physicists to debate these questions. The contributors broadly agree on the need, or aspiration, for a realist theory that unites micro- and macro-worlds. But they disagree on what this implies. Some argue that if unitary quantum evolution has (...)
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  38.  5
    David Wallace, Decoherence and its Role in the Modern Measurement Problem.
    Decoherence is widely felt to have something to do with the quantum measurement problem, but getting clear on just what is made diffcult by the fact that the "measurement problem", as traditionally presented in foundational and philosophical discussions, has become somewhat disconnected from the conceptual problems posed by real physics. This, in turn, is because quantum mechanics as discussed in textbooks and in foundational discussions has become somewhat removed from scientific practice, especially where the analysis of measurement is concerned. This (...)
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  39.  9
    David Wallace, A Prolegomenon to the Ontology of the Everett Interpretation.
    In this article, I briefly explain the quantum measurement problem and the Everett interpretation, in a way that is faithful to modern physics and yet accessible to readers without any physics training. I then consider the metaphysical lessons for ontology from quantum mechanics under the Everett interpretation. My conclusions are largely negative: I argue that very little can be said in full generality about the ontology of quantum mechanics, because quantum mechanics, like abstract classical mechanics, is a framework within which (...)
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  40.  9
    David Wallace (2008). Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics. In Dean Rickles (ed.), The Ashgate Companion to Contemporary Philosophy of Physics. Ashgate Pub. Ltd. 16--98.
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  41.  13
    David Wallace, The Everett Interpretation.
    The Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics - better known as the Many-Worlds Theory - has had a rather uneven reception. Mainstream philosophers have scarcely heard of it, save as science fiction. In philosophy of physics it is well known but has historically been fairly widely rejected. Among physicists, it is taken very seriously indeed, arguably tied for first place in popularity with more traditional operationalist views of quantum mechanics. In this article, I provide a fairly short and self-contained introduction to (...)
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  42. David Wallace (2010). How to Prove the Born Rule. In Simon Saunders, Jonathan Barrett, Adrian Kent & David Wallace (eds.), Many Worlds?: Everett, Quantum Theory, & Reality. OUP Oxford
     
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  43.  41
    David Wallace (2010). Diachronic Rationality and Prediction-Based Games. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 110 (3pt3):243-266.
    I explore the debate about causal versus evidential decision theory, and its recent developments in the work of Andy Egan, through the method of some simple games based on agents' predictions of each other's actions. My main focus is on the requirement for rational agents to act in a way which is consistent over time and its implications for such games and their more realistic cousins.
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  44.  12
    David Wallace, Thermodynamics as Control Theory.
    I explore the reduction of thermodynamics to statistical mechanics by treating the former as a control theory: a theory of which transitions between states can be induced on a system by means of operations from a fixed list. I recover the results of standard thermodynamics in this framework on the assumption that the available operations do not include measurements which affect subsequent choices of operations. I then relax this assumption and use the framework to consider the vexed questions of Maxwell's (...)
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  45.  92
    David Wallace (forthcoming). The Relativity and Equivalence Principles for Self-Gravitating Systems. In Dennis Lehmkuhl (ed.), Towards a Theory of Spacetime Theories (Einstein Studies series).
    I criticise the view that the relativity and equivalence principles are consequences of the small-scale structure of the metric in general relativity, by arguing that these principles also apply to systems with non-trivial self-gravitation and hence non-trivial spacetime curvature (such as black holes). I provide an alternative account, incorporating aspects of the criticised view, which allows both principles to apply to systems with self-gravity.
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  46.  4
    David Wallace, Recurrence Theorems: A Unified Account.
    I discuss classical and quantum recurrence theorems in a unified manner, treating both as generalisations of the fact that a system with a finite state space only has so many places to go. Along the way I prove versions of the recurrence theorem applicable to dynamics on linear and metric spaces, and make some comments about applications of the classical recurrence theorem in the foundations of statistical mechanics.
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  47.  86
    Simon Saunders & David Wallace (2008). Saunders and Wallace Reply. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (3):315-317.
    A reply to a comment by Paul Tappenden (BJPS 59 (2008) pp. 307-314) on S. Saunders and D. Wallace, "Branching and Uncertainty" (BJPS 59 (2008) pp. 298-306).
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  48.  2
    David Wallace (2007). Quantum Probability From Subjective Likelihood: Improving on Deutsch's Proof of the Probability Rule. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (2):311-332.
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  49.  15
    David A. Wallace (2010). Locating Agency. Journal of Information Ethics 19 (1):172-189.
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  50.  8
    David Wallace, Probability in Physics: Stochastic, Statistical, Quantum.
    I review the role of probability in contemporary physics and the origin of probabilistic time asymmetry, beginning with the pre-quantum case but concentrating on quantum theory. I argue that quantum mechanics radically changes the pre-quantum situation and that the philosophical nature of objective probability in physics, and of probabilistic asymmetry in time, is dependent on the correct resolution of the quantum measurement problem.
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