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Profile: Huw Price (University of Sydney, Cambridge University)
  1. Huw Price, Contents.
    . ‘Semantic minimalism and the Frege point’, in Tsohatzidis, S.L.(ed.), Foundations of Speech Act Theory: Philosophical and Linguistic Perspectives (Routledge & Kegan Paul, ), –. Reprinted with a new postscript in Garrett, B. and Mulligan, K., eds, Themes From Wittgenstein (Philosophy Program, RSSS, ANU, ), – . [PDF].
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  2. Huw Price, From Quasirealism to Global Expressivism – and Back Again?
    Philosophy, like modern agriculture, is a little too prone to monoculture. Happily, unpopular philosophical traditions are less in danger of complete extinction than varieties of apple, say, or breeds of pig. For this difference, however, the subject is often indebted to a few far-sighted individuals who appreciate the value of presently unfashionable ideas – who stand ready to reinvigorate the gene pool, when popular approaches succumb to pests and inbreeding.
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  3. Huw Price, Hawking's History of Time: A Plea for the Missing Page.
    One of the outstanding achievements of recent cosmology has been to offer some prospect of a unified explanation of temporal asymmetry. The explanation is in two main parts, and runs something like this. First, the various asymmetries we observe are all thermodynamic in origin – all products of the fact that we live in an epoch in which the universe is far from thermodynamic equilibrium. Second, this thermodynamic disequilibrium is associated with the condition of the universe very soon after the (...)
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  4. Huw Price, Page I:1.
    I Entropy in Relation to Incomplete Knowledge I.1 Objectivity I.2 Entropy as a secondary quality? I.3 The significance of the failure of classical determinism I.4 Are all properties 'relative to the data'? I.5 Entropy and time asymmetry II The Physical Basis of the Direction of Time..
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  5. Huw Price, Publications & Preprints.
    Many areas of philosophy employ a distinction betw een factual and nonfactual (descriptive/nondescriptive, cognitive/noncognitive, ...) uses of language. This book examines the various w ays in w hich this distinction is normally elucidated, argues that all are unsatisfactory, and suggests that the search for a sharp distinction is misconceived. I develop an alternative approach, based on a novel theory of the function and origins of the concept of truth. The central hypothesis is that the main role of the normative notion (...)
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  6. Huw Price, 1. The Most Underrated Discovery in the History of Physics?
    Late in the nineteenth century, physics noticed a puzzling conflict between the laws of physics and what actually happens. The laws make no distinction between past and future—if they allow a process to happen one way, they allow it in reverse.1 But many familiar processes are in practice ‘irreversible’, common in one orientation but unknown ‘backwards’. Air leaks out of a punctured tyre, for example, but never leaks back in. Hot drinks cool down to room temperature, but never spontaneously heat (...)
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  7. Huw Price, Brandom and Hume on the Genealogy of Modals.
    This is a lightly edited version of my comments on Lecture 4 of Bob Brandom’s Locke Lectures, as repeated in Prague in April 2007. Recordings of the Prague lectures, including commentaries and discussions, are available here. The slides that accompanied my talk are available there.
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  8. Huw Price, Brains in Spain.
    In 1963 a group of physicists, mathematicians and philosophers of science assembled in Cornell to discuss the arrow of time. One of them was Richard Feynman, who drew attention to his comments in the published discussions by insisting that they not be attributed to him. (They appeared as the remarks of "Mr. X".) Twenty-eight years later Feynman was gone, but the mysteries of time asymmetry in physics remained as deep as ever. At the end of September, 1991, forty-five physicists and (...)
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  9. Huw Price, Causation in the Special Sciences: The Case for Pragmatism.
    One of the jobs of philosophers of the special sciences is to connect the local concerns of particular disciplines with those of philosophy in general. The two-way complexities of this task are well-illustrated by the case of causation. On the one hand—from the outside, as it were— philosophers interested in general issues about causation are prone to turn to the special sciences for real-life examples of the use of causal notions. On the other hand, from the inside, the special disciplines (...)
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  10. Huw Price, Chaos Theory and the Difference Between Past and Future.
    Summary: Contemporary writers often claim that chaos theory explains the thermodynamic arrow of time. This paper argues that such claims are mistaken, on two levels. First, they underestimate the difficulty of extracting asymmetric conclusions from symmetric theories. More important, however, they misunderstand the nature of the puzzle about the temporal asymmetry of thermodynamics, and simply address the wrong issue. Both of these are old mistakes, but mistakes which are poorly recognised, even today. This paper aims to lay bare the mistakes (...)
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  11. Huw Price, Expressivism for Two Voices.
    I discuss the relationship between the two forms of expressivism defended by Robert Brandom, on one hand, and philosophers in the Humean tradition, such as Simon Blackburn and Allan Gibbard, on the other. I identify three apparent points of difference between the two programs, but argue that all three are superficial. Both projects benefit from the insights of the other, and the combination is in a natural sense a global expressivism.
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  12. Huw Price, Models and Modals.
    Pragmatists recommend that in approaching a problematic concept in philosophy, we should begin by examining the role it plays in the practical, cognitive and linguistic lives of the creatures who use it. This paper stems from an interest in pragmatic accounts, in this sense, of the various modal notions we encounter in science. I propose that pragmatists about these notions should avail themselves of the vocabulary of theoretical models. This vocabulary brings to the foreground the issues of function, use and (...)
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  13. Huw Price, 'Not' Again.
    This paper revisits some views about negation I defended in two early papers. Some of the themes of those papers have been developed sympathetically in recent work by Tim Smiley, Lloyd Humberstone and Ian Rumfitt. However, Rumfitt and Peter Gibbard have both criticised arguments I offered in defence of Double Negation Elimination (DNE), against a Dummettian intuitionist. I reconsider those arguments, arguing that although they survive Rumfitt’s and Gibbard’s attacks, the case against Dummett is for other reasons less straightforward than (...)
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  14. Huw Price, No Direction Known.
    Can physics explain the difference between past and future? The laws of physics seem to be time-symmetric. If they allow a process with one temporal orientation, they allow it in reverse. Yet many ordinary pro– cesses seem to be irreversible. Ilya Prigogine calls this the time paradox, and argues that the solution lies in chaos theory, and related methods pioneered by himself and his Brussells colleagues—a radical alternative, he thinks, to a tradition dating from Boltzmann.
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  15. Huw Price, Nature 348 Nature 350.
    The arrow of time is one of the big unclaimed prizes of modern physics. The problem is to reconcile the temporal asymmetry of thermodynamics with the apparent temporal symmetry of fundamental physical theories. Some major players have wrestled with the issue over the past century or so, but is still up for grabs--and very much in the air of late, having been discussed in recent books by Stephen Hawking..
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  16. Huw Price, One Cheer for Representationalism?
    Although it is obvious that much of language is representational, it is occasionally denied. I have attended conference papers attacking the representational view of language given by speakers who have in their pockets pieces of paper with writing on them that tell them where the conference dinner is and when the taxis leave for the airport. (Jackson, 1997.
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  17. Huw Price, Semantic Minimalism and the Frege Point.
    Speech act theory is one of the more lasting products of the linguistic movement in philosophy of the mid−Twentieth century. Within philosophy itself the movement's products did not in general prove so durable. Particularly striking in this respect is the perceived fate of what was one of the most characteristic applications of the linguistic turn in philosophy, namely the view that many traditional philosophical problems are such as to yield to an understanding of the distinctive function of a particular part (...)
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  18. Huw Price, The Thermodynamic Arrow: Puzzles and Pseudo-Puzzles.
    For more than a century, physics has known of a puzzling conflict between the T- asymmetry of thermodynamic phenomena and the T-symmetry of the underlying microphysics on which these phenomena depend. This paper provides a guide to the current status of this puzzle, distinguishing the central issue from various issues with which it may be confused. It is shown that there are two competing conceptions of what is needed to resolve the puzzle of the thermodynamic asymmetry, which differ with respect (...)
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  19. Helen Beebee, Christopher Hitchcock & Huw Price (eds.) (forthcoming). Making a Difference. Oxford University Press.
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  20. P. W. Evans, H. Price & K. B. Wharton (2013). New Slant on the EPR-Bell Experiment. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (2):297-324.
    The best case for thinking that quantum mechanics is nonlocal rests on Bell's Theorem, and later results of the same kind. However, the correlations characteristic of Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen (EPR)–Bell (EPRB) experiments also arise in familiar cases elsewhere in quantum mechanics (QM), where the two measurements involved are timelike rather than spacelike separated; and in which the correlations are usually assumed to have a local causal explanation, requiring no action-at-a-distance (AAD). It is interesting to ask how this is possible, in the light (...)
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  21. Ryan J. Fitzgerald, Heather L. Price & Chris Oriet (2013). Intentionally Forgetting Other-Race Faces: Costs and Benefits? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied 19 (2):130.
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  22. Arif Ahmed & Huw Price (2012). Arntzenius on 'Why Ain'cha Rich?'. Erkenntnis 77 (1):15-30.
    The best-known argument for Evidential Decision Theory (EDT) is the ‘Why ain’cha rich?’ challenge to rival Causal Decision Theory (CDT). The basis for this challenge is that in Newcomb-like situations, acts that conform to EDT may be known in advance to have the better return than acts that conform to CDT. Frank Arntzenius has recently proposed an ingenious counter argument, based on an example in which, he claims, it is predictable in advance that acts that conform to EDT will do (...)
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  23. H. Price (2012). Causation, Chance, and the Rational Significance of Supernatural Evidence. Philosophical Review 121 (4):483-538.
    In “A Subjectivist’s Guide to Objective Chance,” David Lewis says that he is “led to wonder whether anyone but a subjectivist is in a position to understand objective chance.” The present essay aims to motivate this same Lewisean attitude, and a similar degree of modest subjectivism, with respect to objective causation. The essay begins with Newcomb problems, which turn on an apparent tension between two principles of choice: roughly, a principle sensitive to the causal features of the relevant situation, and (...)
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  24. Huw Price (2012). Does Time-Symmetry Imply Retrocausality? How the Quantum World Says “Maybe”? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 43 (2):75-83.
  25. Huw Price & Stephen Yablo (2012). . Research Problems and Methods. In Robert Barnard Neil Manson (ed.), Continuum Companion to Metaphysics.
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  26. Huw Price (2011). Abusing One's Position. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (3):772 - 779.
    I once stood staring at a map in a large US airport, looking for an ATM. Next to me a couple also stared at the map, trying to figure out where in the airport they were. “Sheesh!” said the male at last, pointing to the red dot and the words ‘You are here’ in the key beside the map: “We’re way over here, right off the map!” Jenann Ismael’s understanding of red dots lies very much at the other extreme, but (...)
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  27. Huw Price (2011). Naturalism Without Mirrors. OUP USA.
    This volume brings together fourteen major essays on truth, naturalism, expressivism and representationalism, by one of contemporary philosophy's most challenging thinkers. Huw Price weaves together Quinean minimalism about truth, Carnapian deflationism about metaphysics, Wittgensteinian pluralism about the functions of declarative language, and Rortyian skepticism about representation to craft a powerful and sustained critique of contemporary naturalistic metaphysics. In its place, he offers us not nonnaturalistic metaphysics, or philosophical quietism, but a new positive program for philosophy, cast from a pragmatist mold. (...)
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  28. Huw Price (2011). The Flow of Time. In Craig Callender (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Time. Oup Oxford.
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  29. Huw Price (2010). Decisions, Decisions, Decisions: Can Savage Salvage Everettian Probability? In Simon Saunders, Jonathan Barrett, Adrian Kent & David Wallace (eds.), Many Worlds? Everett, Quantum Theory, and Reality. Oxford University Press.
    [Abstract and PDF at the Pittsburgh PhilSci Archive] A slightly shorter version of this paper is to appear in a volume edited by Jonathan Barrett, Adrian Kent, David Wallace and Simon Saunders, containing papers presented at the Everett@50 conference in Oxford in July 2007, and the Many Worlds@50 meeting at the Perimeter Institute in September 2007. The paper is based on my talk at the latter meeting (audio, video and slides of which are accessible here).
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  30. Huw Price (2010). Truth as Convenient Friction. In Mario de Caro & David Macarthur (eds.), Naturalism and Normativity. Columbia University Press. 167--190.
    In a recent paper, Richard Rorty begins by telling us why pragmatists such as himself are inclined to identify truth with justification: ‘Pragmatists think that if something makes no difference to practice, it should make no difference to philosophy. This conviction makes them suspicious of the distinction between justification and truth, for that distinction makes no difference to my decisions about what to do.’ (1995, p. 19) Rorty goes on to discuss the claim, defended by Crispin Wright, that truth is (...)
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  31. Huw Price, Time-Symmetry Without Retrocausality: How the Quantum Can Withhold the Solace.
    It has been suggested that some of the puzzles of QM are resolved if we allow that there is retrocausality in the quantum world. In particular, it has been claimed that this approach offers a path to a Lorentz-invariant explanation of Bell correlations, and other manifestations of quantum "nonlocality", without action-at-a-distance. Some writers have suggested that this proposal can be supported by an appeal to time-symmetry, claiming that if QM were made "more time-symmetric", retrocausality would be a natural consequence. Critics (...)
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  32. Richard Rorty & Huw Price (2010). Exchange on "Truth as Convenient Friction". In Mario de Caro & David Macarthur (eds.), Naturalism and Normativity. Columbia University Press.
     
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  33. Peter Menzies & Huw Price (2009). Is Semantics in the Plan? In David Braddon-Mitchell & Robert Nola (eds.), Conceptual Analysis and Philosophical Naturalism. Mit Press. 159--82.
    The so-called Canberra Plan is a grandchild of the Ramsey-Carnap treatment of theoretical terms. In its original form, the Ramsey-Carnap approach provided a method for analysing the meaning of scientific terms, such as “electron”, “gene” and “quark”—terms whose meanings could plausibly be delineated by their roles within scientific theories. But in the hands of David Lewis (1970, 1972), the original approach begat a more ambitious descendant, generalised and extended in two distinct ways: first, Lewis applied the technique to analyse the (...)
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  34. Huw Price (2009). Metaphysics After Carnap : The Ghost Who Walks? In David John Chalmers, David Manley & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press. 320--46.
    To appear in David Chalmers, Ryan Wasserman and David Manley, eds., Metametaphysics (OUP, 2009).
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  35. Huw Price (2009). Of Metaphysics. In Ian Ravenscroft (ed.), Minds, Ethics, and Conditionals: Themes From the Philosophy of Frank Jackson. Oxford University Press. 111.
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  36. Huw Price, The Lion, the 'Which?' And the Wardrobe -- Reading Lewis as a Closet One-Boxer.
    Newcomb problems turn on a tension between two principles of choice: roughly, a principle sensitive to the causal features of the relevant situation, and a principle sensitive only to evidential factors. Two-boxers give priority to causal beliefs, and one-boxers to evidential beliefs. A similar issue can arise when the modality in question is chance, rather than causation. In this case, the conflict is between decision rules based on credences guided solely by chances, and rules based on credences guided by other (...)
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  37. Huw Price (2009). The Semantic Foundations of Metaphysics. In Ian Ravenscroft (ed.), Minds, Ethics, and Conditionals: Themes from the Philosophy of Frank Jackson. Oxford University Press.
    In the first chapter of From Metaphysics to Ethics, Frank Jackson begins, as he puts it, ‘by explaining how serious metaphysics by its very nature raises the location problem.’ (1998, p. 1) He gives us two examples of location problems. The first concerns semantic properties, such as truth and reference: Some physical structures are true. For example, if I were to utter a token of the type ‘Grass is green’, the structure I would thereby bring into existence would be true (...)
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  38. Huw Price & Brad Weslake (2009). The Time-Asymmetry of Causation. In Helen Beebee, Peter Menzies & Christopher Hitchcock (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Causation. Oxford University Press.
    One of the most striking features of causation is that causes typically precede their effects – the causal arrow is strongly aligned with the temporal arrow. Why should this be so? We offer an opinionated guide to this problem, and to the solutions currently on offer. We conclude that the most promising strategy is to begin with the de facto asymmetry of human deliberation, characterised in epistemic terms, and to build out from there. More than any rival, this subjectivist approach (...)
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  39. Guido Bacciagaluppi, David Miller & Huw Price (2008). Preface. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 39 (4):705-708.
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  40. Luca Moretti & Huw Price (2008). Introduction. Philosophical Studies 141 (1):1 - 5.
  41. Huw Price (2008). Toy Models for Retrocausality. Studies in Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39 (4):752-761.
    A number of writers have been attracted to the idea that some of the peculiarities of quantum theory might be manifestations of 'backward' or 'retro' causality, underlying the quantum description. This idea has been explored in the literature in two main ways: firstly in a variety of explicit models of quantum systems, and secondly at a conceptual level. This note introduces a third approach, intended to complement the other two. It describes a simple toy model, which, under a natural interpretation, (...)
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  42. Huw Price (2008). Will There Be Blood? Brandom, Hume, and the Genealogy of Modals. Philosophical Topics 36 (2):87-97.
  43. Huw Price (2007). Causal Perspectivalism. In Huw Price & Richard Corry (eds.), Causation, Physics, and the Constitution of Reality: Russell's Republic Revisited. Oxford University Press.
    Concepts employed in folk descriptions of the world often turn out to be more perspectival than they seem at first sight, involving previously unrecognised sensitivity to the viewpoint or 'situation' of the user of the concept in question. Often, it is progress in science that reveals such perspectivity, and the deciding factor is that we realise that other creatures would apply the same concepts with different extension, in virtue of differences between their circumstances and ours. In this paper I argue (...)
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  44. Huw Price (2007). Pragmatism, Quasi-Realism, and the Global Challenge. In C. J. Misak (ed.), New Pragmatists. Oxford University Press. 91.
    William James said that sometimes detailed philosophical argument is irrelevant. Once a current of thought is really under way, trying to oppose it with argument is like planting a stick in a river to try to alter its course: “round your obstacle flows the water and ‘gets there just the same’”. He thought pragmatism was such a river. There is a contemporary river that sometimes calls itself pragmatism, although other titles are probably better. At any rate it is the denial (...)
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  45. Huw Price (2007). Quining Naturalism. Journal of Philosophy 104 (8):375-402.
    Scientific naturalism is a metaphysical doctrine, a view about what there is, or what we ought to believe that there is. It maintains that natural science should be our guide in matters metaphysical: the ontology we should accept is the ontology that turns out to be required by science. Quine is often regarded as the doyen of scientific naturalists, though the supporting cast includes such giants as David Lewis and J. J. C. Smart.
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  46. Huw Price (2007). Starving the Theological Cuckoo: Review of John Leslie. Infinite Minds: A Philosophical Cosmology. [REVIEW] Spontaneous Generations: A Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science 1 (1):136.
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  47. Huw Price, The Effective Indexcial.
    In a famous paper in Noûs in 1979, John Perry points out that action depends on indexical beliefs. In addition to “third-person” information about her environment, an agent need “first-person” information about where, when and who she is. This conclusion is widely interpreted as a reason for thinking that tensed claims cannot be translated without loss into untensed language; but not as a reason for realism about tensed facts. In another famous paper in the same volume of Noûs, Nancy Cartwright (...)
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  48. Huw Price & Richard Corry (2007). A Case for Causal Republicanism? In Huw Price & Richard Corry (eds.), Causation, Physics, and the Constitution of Reality: Russell's Republic Revisited. Oxford University Press.
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