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Profile: Jeffrey Barrett (University of California, Irvine)
  1. Jeffrey Barrett, The Bare Theory and How to Fix It.
    The bare theory is the standard von Neumann·Dirac formulation of quantum mechanics without the collapse postulate but with the eigenvalueeigenstate link. Albert (1992, 1i6-125) presented the bare theory as one way of understanding EverettRi7;s relative-state interpretation. At first glance, it looks as if the bare theory cannot possibly account for our experience. After all, at the end of a measurement an observer will typically be in a superposition of having recorded mutually incompatible results, which on the standard interpretation of states (...)
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  2. Jeffrey Barrett, On the Cognitive Status of Our Best Physical Theories.
    There is good reason to suppose that our best physical theories are false: In addition to its own internal problems, the standard formulation of quantum mechanics is logically incompatible with special relativity. There is also good reason to suppose that we have no concrete idea concerning what it might mean to claim that these theories are approximately or vaguely true. I will argue that providing a concrete understanding the approximate or vague truth of our current physical theories is not a (...)
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  3. Jeffrey Barrett, Pure Pragmatics and the Transcendence of Belief.
    Accuracy in the philosophical theory of rationality demands that we recognize particular beliefs as arising within the context of larger units, the cultural or conceptual schemes, patterns, or practices, involvement in which itself provides standards and grounds for their rational evaluation. At the same time, though, a satisfactory account of rationality cannot hold the standards, values, or commitments of one particular culture, practice, or conceptual scheme, even one’s own, immune from rational criticism. In order to accurately and responsibly picture the (...)
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  4. Jeffrey A. Barrett, Numerical Simulations of the Lewis Signaling Game: Learning Strategies, Pooling Equilibria, and the Evolution of Grammar.
    David Lewis (1969) introduced sender-receiver games as a way of investigating how meaningful language might evolve from initially random signals. In this report I investigate the conditions under which Lewis signaling games evolve to perfect signaling systems under various learning dynamics. While the 2-state/2- term Lewis signaling game with basic urn learning always approaches a signaling system, I will show that with more than two states suboptimal pooling equilibria can evolve. Inhomogeneous state distributions increase the likelihood of pooling equilibria, but (...)
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  5. Jeffrey A. Barrett, Wigner's Friend and Bell's Field Beables.
    A field-theoretic version of Wigner’s friend (1961) illustrates how the quantum measurement problem arises for field theory. Similarly, considering spacelike separate measurements of entangled fields by observers akin to Wigner’s friend shows the sense in which relativistic constraints make the measurement problem particularly difficult to resolve in the context of a relativistic field theory. We will consider proposals by Wigner (1961), Bloch (1967), Helwig and Kraus (1970), and Bell (1984) for resolving the measurement problem for quantum field theory. We will (...)
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  6. Jeffrey A. Barrett & Wayne Aitken, On the Physical Possibility of Ordinal Computation (Draft).
    α-recursion lifts classical recursion theory from the first transfinite ordinal ω to an arbitrary admissible ordinal α [10]. Idealized computational models for α-recursion analogous to Turing machine models for classical recursion have been proposed and studied [4] and [5] and are applicable in computational approaches to the foundations of logic and mathematics [8]. They also provide a natural setting for modeling extensions of the algorithmic logic described in [1] and [2]. On such models, an α-Turing machine can complete a θ-step (...)
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  7. Jeffrey Barrett & Kevin J. S. Zollman, The Role of Forgetting in the Evolution and Learning of Language.
    Lewis signaling games illustrate how language might evolve from random behavior. The probability of evolving an optimal signaling language is, in part, a function of what learning strategy the agents use. Here we investigate three learning strategies, each of which allows agents to forget old experience. In each case, we find that forgetting increases the probability of evolving an optimal language. It does this by making it less likely that past partial success will continue to reinforce suboptimal practice. The learning (...)
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  8. James Barrett (forthcoming). Narrative and the Messenger in Aeschylus' Persians. American Journal of Philology.
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  9. Jeffrey A. Barrett (forthcoming). Rule-Following and the Evolution of Basic Concepts. .
    This article concerns how rule-following behavior might evolve, how an old evolved rule might come to be appropriated to a new context, and how simple concepts might coevolve with rule-following behavior. In particular, we consider how the transitive inferential rule-following behavior exhibited by pinyon and scrub jays might evolve in the context of a variety of the Skyrms-Lewis signaling game, then how such a rule might come to be appropriated to carry out inferences regarding stimuli different from those involved in (...)
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  10. Jeffrey A. Barrett (forthcoming). The Evolution, Appropriation, and Composition of Rules. Synthese:1-14.
    This paper concerns how rule-following behavior might evolve in the context of a variety of Skyrms–Lewis signaling game (Lewis, Convention, 1969; Skyrms, Signals evolution, learning, & information 2010), how such rules might subsequently evolve to be used in new contexts, and how such appropriation allows for the composition of evolved rules. We will also consider how the composition of simpler rules to form more complex rules may be significantly more efficient than evolving the complex rules directly. And we will review (...)
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  11. Peter L. Samuelson, Matthew J. Jarvinen, Thomas B. Paulus, Ian M. Church, Sam A. Hardy & Justin L. Barrett (forthcoming). Implicit Theories of Intellectual Virtues and Vices: A Focus on Intellectual Humility. Journal of Positive Psychology.
    The study of intellectual humility is still in its early stages and issues of definition and measurement are only now being explored. To inform and guide the process of defining and measuring this important intellectual virtue, we conducted a series of studies into the implicit theory – or ‘folk’ understanding – of an intellectually humble person, a wise person, and an intellectually arrogant person. In Study 1, 350 adults used a free-listing procedure to generate a list of descriptors, one for (...)
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  12. Jeffrey A. Barrett (2014). Description and the Problem of Priors. Erkenntnis 79 (6):1343-1353.
    Belief-revision models of knowledge describe how to update one’s degrees of belief associated with hypotheses as one considers new evidence, but they typically do not say how probabilities become associated with meaningful hypotheses in the first place. Here we consider a variety of Skyrms–Lewis signaling game (Lewis in Convention. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1969; Skyrms in Signals evolution, learning, & information. Oxford University Press, New York, 2010) where simple descriptive language and predictive practice and associated basic expectations coevolve. Rather than (...)
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  13. Jeffrey A. Barrett (2013). On the Coevolution of Basic Arithmetic Language and Knowledge. Erkenntnis 78 (5):1025-1036.
    Skyrms-Lewis sender-receiver games with invention allow one to model how a simple mathematical language might be invented and become meaningful as its use coevolves with the basic arithmetic competence of primitive mathematical inquirers. Such models provide sufficient conditions for the invention and evolution of a very basic sort of arithmetic language and practice, and, in doing so, provide insight into the nature of a correspondingly basic sort of mathematical knowledge in an evolutionary context. Given traditional philosophical reflections concerning the nature (...)
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  14. Jeffrey A. Barrett (2013). On the Coevolution of Theory and Language and the Nature of Successful Inquiry. Erkenntnis:1-14.
    Insofar as empirical inquiry involves the coevolution of descriptive language and theoretical commitments, a satisfactory model of empirical knowledge should describe the coordinated evolution of both language and theory. But since we do not know what conceptual resources we might need to express our future theories or to provide our best future faithful descriptions of the world, we do not now know even what the space of future descriptive options might be. One strategy for addressing this shifting-resource problem is to (...)
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  15. Jeffrey A. Barrett (2013). The Evolution of Simple Rule-Following. Biological Theory 8 (2):142-150.
    We are concerned here with explaining how successful rule-following behavior might evolve and how an old evolved rule might come to be successfully used in a new context. Such rule-following behavior is illustrated in the transitive judgments of pinyon and scrub-jays (Bond et al., Anim Behav 65:479–487, 2003). We begin by considering how successful transitive rule-following behavior might evolve in the context of Skyrms–Lewis sender–receiver games (Lewis, Convention. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1969; Skyrms, Philos Sci 75:489–500, 2006). We then consider (...)
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  16. Justin L. Barrett & Ian M. Church (2013). Should CSR Give Atheists Epistemic Assurance? On Beer-Goggles, BFFs, and Skepticism Regarding Religious Beliefs. The Monist 96 (3):311-324.
    Recent work in cognitive science of religion (CSR) is beginning to converge on a very interesting thesis—that, given the ordinary features of human minds operating in typical human environments, we are naturally disposed to believe in the existence of gods, among other religious ideas (e.g., seeAtran [2002], Barrett [2004; 2012], Bering [2011], Boyer [2001], Guthrie [1993], McCauley [2011], Pyysiäinen [2004; 2009]). In this paper, we explore whether such a discovery ultimately helps or hurts the atheist position—whether, for example, it lends (...)
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  17. Justin L. Barrett (2012). The Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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  18. Jeffrey Barrett (2011). Everett's Pure Wave Mechanics and the Notion of Worlds. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (2):277-302.
    Everett (1957a, b, 1973) relative-state formulation of quantum mechanics has often been taken to involve a metaphysical commitment to the existence of many splitting worlds each containing physical copies of observers and the objects they observe. While there was earlier talk of splitting worlds in connection with Everett, this is largely due to DeWitt’s (Phys Today 23:30–35, 1970) popular presentation of the theory. While the thought of splitting worlds or parallel universes has captured the popular imagination, Everett himself favored the (...)
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  19. Jeffrey A. Barrett (2011). On the Faithful Interpretation of Pure Wave Mechanics. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (4):693-709.
    Given Hugh Everett III's understanding of the proper cognitive status of physical theories, his relative-state formulation of pure wave mechanics arguably qualifies as an empirically acceptable physical theory. The argument turns on the precise nature of the relationship that Everett requires between the empirical substructure of an empirically faithful physical theory and experience. On this view, Everett provides a weak resolution to both the determinate record and the probability problems encountered by pure wave mechanics, and does so in a way (...)
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  20. Justin L. Barrett (2011). From Theory of Mind to Divine Minds. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 15 (6):244-245.
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  21. Emma Cohen & Justin L. Barrett (2011). In Search of 'Folk Anthropology': The Cognitive Anthropology of the Person. In J. Wentzel Van Huyssteen & Erik P. Wiebe (eds.), In Search of Self: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Personhood. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.. 104--122.
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  22. Emma Cohen, Emily Burdett, Nicola Knight & Justin Barrett (2011). Cross-Cultural Similarities and Differences in Person-Body Reasoning: Experimental Evidence From the United Kingdom and Brazilian Amazon. Cognitive Science 35 (7):1282-1304.
    We report the results of a cross-cultural investigation of person-body reasoning in the United Kingdom and northern Brazilian Amazon (Marajó Island). The study provides evidence that directly bears upon divergent theoretical claims in cognitive psychology and anthropology, respectively, on the cognitive origins and cross-cultural incidence of mind-body dualism. In a novel reasoning task, we found that participants across the two sample populations parsed a wide range of capacities similarly in terms of the capacities’ perceived anchoring to bodily function. Patterns of (...)
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  23. W. Aitken & J. A. Barrett (2010). A Note on the Physical Possibility of Transfinite Computation. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (4):867-874.
    In this note, we consider constraints on the physical possibility of transfinite Turing machines that arise from how one models the continuous structure of space and time in one's best physical theories. We conclude by suggesting a version of Church's thesis appropriate as an upper bound for physical computation given how space and time are modeled on our current physical theories.
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  24. James Barrett (2010). Messenger-Speeches (M.) Dickin A Vehicle for Performance. Acting the Messenger in Greek Tragedy. Illustrations by Alan Dickin. Pp. Vi + 212, Figs, Ills. Lanham, Boulder, New York, Toronto, Plymouth, UK: University Press of America, 2009. Paper, £21.99, US$32. ISBN: 978-0-7618-4355-. [REVIEW] The Classical Review 60 (01):15-.
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  25. Jeffrey A. Barrett (2010). Faithful Description and the Incommensurability of Evolved Languages. Philosophical Studies 147 (1):123 - 137.
    Skyrms-Lewis signaling games illustrate how meaningful language may evolve from initially meaningless random signals (Lewis, Convention 1969; Skyrms 2008). Here we will consider how incommensurable languages might evolve in the context of signaling games. We will also consider the types of incommensurability exhibited between evolved languages in such games. We will find that sequentially evolved languages may be strongly incommensurable while still allowing for increasingly faithful descriptions of the world.
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  26. Justin L. Barrett (2010). Reformed Epistemology and the Cognitive Science of Religion. Faith and Philosophy 27 (2):174-189.
    Reformed epistemology and cognitive science have remarkably converged on belief in God. Reformed epistemology holds that belief in God is basic—that is, belief in God is a natural, non-inferential belief that is immediately produced by a cognitive faculty. Cognitive science of religion also holds that belief in gods is (often) non-reflectively and instinctively produced—that is, non-inferentially and automatically produced by a cognitive faculty or system. But there are differences. In this paper, we will show some remarkable points of convergence, and (...)
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  27. Justin Barrett, David Leech & Aku Visala (2010). Can Religious Belief Be Explained Away? Reasons and Causes of Religious Belief. In Ulrich J. Frey (ed.), The Nature of God ––– Evolution and Religion. Tectum. 1--75.
  28. 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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  29. Jeffrey A. Barrett (2009). Review of Bas C. Van Fraassen: Scientific Representation: Paradoxes of Perspective. [REVIEW] Journal of Philosophy 106 (11).
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  30. Jeffrey A. Barrett (2009). Scientific Representation. Journal of Philosophy 106 (11):634-639.
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  31. Jeffrey A. Barrett (2009). The Evolution of Coding in Signaling Games. Theory and Decision 67 (2):223-237.
    Signaling games with reinforcement learning have been used to model the evolution of term languages (Lewis 1969, Convention. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; Skyrms 2006, “Signals” Presidential Address. Philosophy of Science Association for PSA). In this article, syntactic games, extensions of David Lewis’s original sender–receiver game, are used to illustrate how a language that exploits available syntactic structure might evolve to code for states of the world. The evolution of a language occurs in the context of available vocabulary and syntax—the (...)
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  32. Justin Barrett (2009). The Antagonism Between Christianity and Evolution Continues. For Over 100 Years Numerous Anti-Theists Have Bludgeoned Christianity Using Evolution by Natural Selection as a Bat. Christians Have Assailed Evolu-Tionary Theory as Bad Science Advanced Only for Ulterior Motives. Inspired by Observations From Molecular Biology, the Battle has Crested Again in Terms of 'Intelligent Design'versus Unguided Materialist Evolution (Eg, Behe 1996). The End of This Struggle Remains Nowhere in Sight. And Then There's .. [REVIEW] In Jeffrey Schloss & Michael J. Murray (eds.), The Believing Primate: Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Reflections on the Origin of Religion. Oxford University Press. 76.
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  33. Wayne Aitken & Jeffrey A. Barrett (2008). Abstraction in Algorithmic Logic. Journal of Philosophical Logic 37 (1):23 - 43.
    We develop a functional abstraction principle for the type-free algorithmic logic introduced in our earlier work. Our approach is based on the standard combinators but is supplemented by the novel use of evaluation trees. Then we show that the abstraction principle leads to a Curry fixed point, a statement C that asserts C ⇒ A where A is any given statement. When A is false, such a C yields a paradoxical situation. As discussed in our earlier work, this situation leaves (...)
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  34. Jeffrey Barrett, Everett's Relative-State Formulation of Quantum Mechanics. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Everett's relative-state formulation of quantum mechanics is an attempt to solve the measurement problem by dropping the collapse dynamics from the standard von Neumann-Dirac theory of quantum mechanics. The main problem with Everett's theory is that it is not at all clear how it is supposed to work. In particular, while it is clear that he wanted to explain why we get determinate measurement results in the context of his theory, it is unclear how he intended to do this. There (...)
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  35. Jeffrey Alan Barrett (2008). Approximate Truth and Descriptive Nesting. Erkenntnis 68 (2):213 - 224.
    There is good reason to suppose that our best physical theories, quantum mechanics and special relativity, are false if taken together and literally. If they are in fact false, then how should they count as providing knowledge of the physical world? One might imagine that, while strictly false, our best physical theories are nevertheless in some sense probably approximately true. This paper presents a notion of local probable approximate truth in terms of descriptive nesting relations between current and subsequent theories. (...)
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  36. Emma Cohen & Justin L. Barrett (2008). Conceptualizing Spirit Possession: Ethnographic and Experimental Evidence. Ethos 36 (2):246-267.
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  37. Wayne Aitken & Jeffrey A. Barrett (2007). Stability and Paradox in Algorithmic Logic. Journal of Philosophical Logic 36 (1):61 - 95.
    There is significant interest in type-free systems that allow flexible self-application. Such systems are of interest in property theory, natural language semantics, the theory of truth, theoretical computer science, the theory of classes, and category theory. While there are a variety of proposed type-free systems, there is a particularly natural type-free system that we believe is prototypical: the logic of recursive algorithms. Algorithmic logic is the study of basic statements concerning algorithms and the algorithmic rules of inference between such statements. (...)
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  38. Jeffrey Barrett (2007). Stability and Paradox in Algorithmic Logic. Journal of Philosophical Logic 36 (1):61 - 95.
    There is significant interest in type-free systems that allow flexible self-application. Such systems are of interest in property theory, natural language semantics, the theory of truth, theoretical computer science, the theory of classes, and category theory. While there are a variety of proposed type-free systems, there is a particularly natural type-free system that we believe is prototypical: the logic of recursive algorithms. Algorithmic logic is the study of basic statements concerning algorithms and the algorithmic rules of inference between such statements. (...)
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  39. Jeffrey A. Barrett (2007). Dynamic Partitioning and the Conventionality of Kinds. Philosophy of Science 74 (4):527-546.
    Lewis sender‐receiver games illustrate how a meaningful term language might evolve from initially meaningless random signals (Lewis 1969; Skyrms 2006). Here we consider how a meaningful language with a primitive grammar might evolve in a somewhat more subtle sort of game. The evolution of such a language involves the co‐evolution of partitions of the physical world into what may seem, at least from the perspective of someone using the language, to correspond to canonical natural kinds. While the evolved language may (...)
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  40. Phil Agre, Adam Albright, Rick Alterman, Erik Altmann, Jennifer Amsterlaw, William Badecker, Renee Baillargeon, Dale Barr, Justin Barrett & Lawrence Barsalou (2006). Acknowledgment: Guest Reviewers. Cognitive Science 30:1133-1135.
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  41. J. Barrett (2006). Clinical Research Fraud. Research Ethics 2 (4):136-139.
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  42. Jane Barrett (2006). Ethics in Clinical Research. Icr Pub..
    Chapter One: Introduction “The ethical basis of all [medical] research is that information gained from one patient's experience should, where feasible, ...
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  43. Jeffrey A. Barrett (2006). A Quantum-Mechanical Argument for Mind–Body Dualism. Erkenntnis 65 (1):97 - 115.
    I argue that a strong mind–body dualism is required of any formulation of quantum mechanics that satisfies a relatively weak set of explanatory constraints. Dropping one or more of these constraints may allow one to avoid the commitment to a mind–body dualism but may also require a commitment to a physical–physical dualism that is at least as objectionable. Ultimately, it is the preferred basis problem that pushes both collapse and no-collapse theories in the direction of a strong dualism in resolving (...)
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  44. Jeffrey A. Barrett (2005). The Preferred-Basis Problem and the Quantum Mechanics of Everything. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (2):199-220.
    argued that there are two options for what he called a realistic solution to the quantum measurement problem: (1) select a preferred set of observables for which definite values are assumed to exist, or (2) attempt to assign definite values to all observables simultaneously (1810–1). While conventional wisdom has it that the second option is ruled out by the Kochen-Specker theorem, Vink nevertheless advocated it. Making every physical quantity determinate in quantum mechanics carries with it significant conceptual costs, but it (...)
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  45. Jeffrey A. Barrett (2005). Relativistic Quantum Mechanics Through Frame-Dependent Constructions. Philosophy of Science 72 (5):802-813.
    This paper is concerned with the possibility and nature of relativistic hidden-variable formulations of quantum mechanics. Both ad hoc teleological constructions of spacetime maps and frame-dependent constructions of spacetime maps are considered. While frame-dependent constructions are clearly preferable, they provide neither mechanical nor causal explanations for local quantum events. Rather, the hiddenvariable dynamics used in such constructions is just a rule that helps to characterize the set of all possible spacetime maps. But while having neither mechanical nor causal explanations of (...)
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  46. W. Aitken, L. Alberucci, D. J. Anderson, J. A. Barrett, K. Bimbó, B. Brown, E. Dresner, P. Milne, M. Peterson & G. Priest (2004). Freund, MA, 237 Glanzberg, M., 27 Hawthorne, J., 89 Jané, I., 437 Ju, S., 481. Journal of Philosophical Logic 33 (641).
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  47. Wayne Aitken & Jeffrey A. Barrett (2004). Computer Implication and the Curry Paradox. Journal of Philosophical Logic 33 (6):631-637.
    There are theoretical limitations to what can be implemented by a computer program. In this paper we are concerned with a limitation on the strength of computer implemented deduction. We use a version of the Curry paradox to arrive at this limitation.
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  48. Robert W. Armstrong, Robert J. Williams & J. Douglas Barrett (2004). The Impact of Banality, Risky Shift and Escalating Commitment on Ethical Decision Making. Journal of Business Ethics 53 (4):365-370.
    This paper posits that organizational variables are the factors that lead to the moral decline of companies like Enron and Worldcom. The individuals involved created environments within the organizations that precipitated a spiral of unethical decision-making. It is proposed that at the executive level, it is the organizational factors associated with power and decision-making that have the critical influence on moral and ethical behavior. The study has used variables that were deemed to be surrogate measures of the ethical violations (OSHA (...)
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  49. K. G. D. Bailey, A. S. Bangert, D. J. Barr, J. L. Barrett, P. J. Bennett, I. Biederman, N. Bonini, J. F. Bonnefon, R. Budiu & J. C. Buisson (2004). Alibali, MW, 451 Anderson, JR, 1 Atran, S., 117 Aveyard, ME, 611. Cognitive Science 28:1033-1034.
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  50. James Barrett (2004). Struggling with Parmenides. Ancient Philosophy 24 (2):267-291.
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