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Profile: David Wallace (Balliol College, Oxford)
  1. David Wallace, General Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics.
    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, new, is to be set equal to her prior conditional probability old(.|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?
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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. David Wallace (2014). Review of Laura Ruetsche's "Interpreting Quantum Theories&Quot;. [REVIEW] British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (2):425-428.
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  6. Simon Saunders, Jonathan Barrett, Adrian Kent & David Wallace (eds.) (2012). Many Worlds?: Everett, Quantum Theory, & Reality. Oup Oxford.
    What follows when quantum theory is applied to the whole universe? This is one of the greatest puzzles of modern science. Philosophers and physicists here debate the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics, according to which this universe is one of countlessly many others, constantly branching in time, all of which are real.
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  7. 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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  8. Tomonori Matsushita, A. V. C. Schmidt & David Wallace (eds.) (2011). From Beowulf to Caxton: Studies in Medieval Languages and Literature, Texts and Manuscripts. Peter Lang.
     
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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. David Wallace (2010). Albert Russell Ascoli, Dante and the Making of a Modern Author. Cambridge, Eng., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Pp. Xvii, 458; Diagrams. $99. [REVIEW] Speculum 85 (4):928-929.
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  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. 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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  17. David A. Wallace (2010). Locating Agency. Journal of Information Ethics 19 (1):172-189.
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  18. David Foster Wallace, Steven M. Cahn & Maureen Eckert (2010). Fate, Time and Language: An Essay on Free Will. Columbia University Press.
    In 1962, the philosopher Richard Taylor used six commonly accepted presuppositions to imply that human beings have no control over the future. David Foster Wallace not only took issue with Taylor's method, which, according to him, scrambled the relations of logic, language, and the physical world, but also noted a semantic trick at the heart of Taylor's argument. -/- Fate, Time, and Language presents Wallace's brilliant critique of Taylor's work. Written long before the publication of his fiction and essays, Wallace's (...)
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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. 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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  26. 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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  27. 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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  28. 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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  29. Harvey R. 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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  30. 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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  31. David Wallace (2005). Alan Bray, The Friend. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2003. Pp. Xi, 380; 15 Black-and-White Figures. $40. [REVIEW] Speculum 80 (3):845-848.
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  32. 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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  33. 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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  34. 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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  35. 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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  36. 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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  37. 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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  38. 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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  39. David J. Wallace (1994). Elaine Tuttle Hansen, Chaucer and the Fictions of Gender. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1992. Pp. Ix, 301. $42.50 (Cloth); $15.95 (Paper). [REVIEW] Speculum 69 (1):156-158.
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  40. David Wallace, Implications of Quantum Theory in the Foundations of Statistical Mechanics [2001 Online-Only].
    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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