Quantum field theory (QFT) presents a genuine example of the underdetermination of theory by empirical evidence. There are variants of QFT—for example, the standard textbook formulation and the rigorous axiomatic formulation—that are empirically indistinguishable yet support different interpretations. This case is of particular interest to philosophers of physics because, before the philosophical work of interpreting QFT can proceed, the question of which variant should be subject to interpretation must be settled. New arguments are offered for basing the interpretation of QFT (...) on a rigorous axiomatic variant of the theory. The pivotal considerations are the roles that consistency and idealization play in this case. *Received June 2009; revised August 2009. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada; e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
Most philosophical discussion of the particle concept that is afforded by quantum field theory has focused on free systems. This paper is devoted to a systematic investigation of whether the particle concept for free systems can be extended to interacting systems. The possible methods of accomplishing this are considered and all are found unsatisfactory. Therefore, an interacting system cannot be interpreted in terms of particles. As a consequence, quantum field theory does not support the inclusion of particles in our ontology. (...) In contrast to much of the recent discussion on the particle concept derived from quantum field theory, this argument does not rely on the assumption that a particulate entity be localizable. (shrink)
Although the philosophical literature on the foundations of quantum field theory recognizes the importance of Haag’s theorem, it does not provide a clear discussion of the meaning of this theorem. The goal of this paper is to make up for this deficit. In particular, it aims to set out the implications of Haag’s theorem for scattering theory, the interaction picture, the use of non-Fock representations in describing interacting fields, and the choice among the plethora of the unitarily inequivalent representations of (...) the canonical commutation relations for free and interacting fields. (shrink)
Ted Relph’s review of Heidegger’s Topology acknowledges the importance of Heidegger’s thought in the contemporary turn to place within the Humanities and Social Sciences, just as it acknowledges the importance of the philosophical inquiry into place as such (Relph is also particularly generous in his estimation of the role of my work, in Heidegger’s Topology and elsewhere, in contributing to this). Moreover, Relph provides a strikingly apt and vivid image of the way the concept of ‘place’ has, in recent years, (...) ‘exploded’ across many different areas and disciplines, in a proliferation of different forms and uses. While there are many works that deploy various senses of place, and that also delineate the detailed textures and forms of particular places, when it comes to the theoretical inquiry into place, the focus, for the most part, is not on place as such, but either on the effects of place or else on place as itself an effect of other processes. Thus David Harvey, as Relph notes, treats place as a social construction, claiming that the only interesting question then concerns the social processes that give rise to place (see Harvey, 1996: 293-4) – here place is nothing more than an effect; Doreen Massey, on the other hand, treats place, which she refuses to distinguish from space, as significant largely in terms of the consequences of our imagination of place (see Massey, 2005: esp. 5-8) – here it is the effects of place that are given priority. Even the work of a theorist such as Henri Lefebvre (see especially Lefebvre, 1991), so often cited as a key figure in the literature on place, turns out to be important, less for his elucidation of the concept, than.. (shrink)
In this article I try to give an account of the meaning of phrases of the form ‘A causes B’ as they are most usefully used in everyday life and the applied sciences. This account covers narrower uses of such phrases, but we find that in our usage of the term, ‘A causes B’ neither entails nor is entailed by ‘A is always followed by B’. Logically necessary and sufficient conditions of this general term can be given, however, by reference (...) to particular cases of causation. The analysis of these is shown to be irreducibly counter-factual, i.e. such phrases are not definable in terms of statements describing those observable occurrences which constitute the relevant verificationary processes. Some objections to the analysis are considered, and it is tested against various examples. * Received 6.xii.65 1 This article is an expanded version of a paper read to the British Society for the Philosophy of Science at Bristol in September 1964. I have greatly benefited from criticisms and suggestions by members of the philosophy seminar of the University of Durham, especially Dr Doreen Bretherton, and also by Professor J. L. Mackie and the editor and referees of this Journal. (shrink)
The noted psychologist, Doreen Kimura, has argued that we should not expect to find equal numbers of men and women in various professions because there is a natural sexual inequality of intellect. In rebuttal I argue that each of these mutually supporting theses is insufficiently supported by the evidence to be accepted. The social and ethical dimensions of Kimura's work, and of the scientific study of the nature-nurture controversy in general, are briefly discussed.
We examine the use of Confucian relational morality as an alternative reference point to that of modernist morality in judging workplace ethical conduct. A semi-structured interview based study involving 46 ethnic Chinese managers and 30 non-Chinese expatriate managers in Singapore, provided evidence of the use of traditional guanxi-linked morality as a moral resource by some of the former group in judging workplace ethical dilemmas. While such morality played only a minor role in moral reasoning, and was largely overshadowed by modernist (...) morality, the research nonetheless demonstrates that moral reasoning reflects wider cultural heritage, and is not merely a function of corporate culture and individual moral development. (shrink)
An important debate in the reasoning literature concerns the extent to which inference processes are domain-free or domain-specific. Typically, evidence in support of the domain-specific position comprises the facilitation observed when abstract reasoning tasks are set in realistic context. Three experiments are reported here in which the sources of facilitation were investigated for contextualised versions of Raven's Progressive Matrices (Richardson, 1991) and non-verbal analogies from the AH4 test (Richardson & Webster, 1996). Experiment 1 confirmed that the facilitation observed for the (...) contextualised matrices was in part due to extraneous aspects of commentaries originally intended to activate domainspecific processes. Experiments 2 and 3 indicated that the remainder of the facilitation for the matrices, and all of the facilitation for the analogies, could be explained by visual salience: Converting the item elements into realistic objects had enabled them and their transitions to be identified more easily. Hence, performance at simplified abstract items was as good as, or better than, at contextualised items. It is concluded that facilitation effects cannot be interpreted as showing that domain-specific processes constitute a self-contained system separate from domain-free processes. In turn, this means that domain-free processes cannot be dismissed as being unimportant for reasoning. (shrink)
Isolation in the back-country: George Chamier, G.B. Lancaster, Katherine Mansfield, John Mulgan, and Graham Billing -- Outsiders and misfits in fragmented social milieux: William Satchell, Vincent Pyke, John A. Lee, Robin Hyde, Frank Sargeson, and others -- The lonely and the alone in the fiction of Janet Frame -- Maurice Gee and postmodern isolation -- Women, isolation, and history: Fiona Kidman, Noel Hilliard, and Patricia Grace -- Cultural deracination and isolation: Witi Ihimaera, Keri Hulme, and Alan Duff.
All nursing courses in the UK include ethics in the curriculum, although there is considerable variation in the content of ethics courses and the teaching methods used to assist the acquisition of ethical reasoning. The effectiveness of ethics courses continues to be disputed, even when the perceptions and needs of students are taken into account in their design. This longitudinal study, carried out in the UK, but with implications for nurse education in other developed countries, explored the ethical understanding of (...) nursing students and changes in their understanding and approaches to practice over their four years of training (1995-1999). The data collection tools were a questionnaire originally piloted prior to the 1995 study, from which the present study developed, and five vignettes describing ethical dilemmas in health care also piloted in 1995. Students’ thinking progressed as they became more mature as individuals and professionals, although this progress was not necessarily in the direction of greater certainty. Suggestions are made to help nurse educators to maximize the effectiveness of ethics courses in transmitting the skills of ethical reasoning. (shrink)
This paper reports on research that suggests a new view of assessment of the practicum in teacher education. By transcending the stereotypes of ?failing? student teachers who do not achieve traditional benchmarks, this new lens highlights the complexity, diversity and inequality of experiences through listening to the voices of the student teachers and their mentors. By valuing context and focusing on progress and development rather than absolute attainment, teacher educators are challenged to reflect on their own role as mentors and (...) educators through guiding principles of practicum learning. These guiding principles of practicum learning are the result of significant observation in the practicum classroom followed by critical analysis of data provided as narrative. A more humane, trusting and respectful attitude towards assessment is suggested. (shrink)