give a proof of the existence of nonlocal influences acting on correlated spin-1/2 particles in the singlet state which does not require any particular interpretation of quantum mechanics (QM). (Except Stapp holds that the proof fails under a many-worlds interpretation of QM—a claim we analyse in 1.2.) Recently, in responding to Redhead's (, pp. 90-6) criticism that the Stapp 1 proof fails under an indeterministic interpretation of QM, Stapp  (henceforth Stapp 2), has revised the logical structure of his proof (...) including its crucial locality assumption. Our main aim is to show that this revision is a step in the wrong direction because it faces two difficulties which undermine the resulting proof's significance (3.1) and validity (3. 2). We also clarify and extend the Stapp 1 proof (1. 1) with the aid of Lewis' analysis of counterfactuals (1. 2) and causal dependence (2. 2 and 2. 3). In so doing, we are able to identify two new defects in the Stapp 1 proof (1. 3 and 2. 1) in addition to corroborating Redhead's criticism (2. 2). Also, the additional assumptions which save the Stapp 1 proof's validity are detailed (2. 3) and some new difficulties for the determinist are pointed out by exploiting a slightly extended version of the proof (2. 4). In providing this full analysis of the Stapp 1 proof, we also construct the necessary framework within which to provide a critique of Stapp 2's proof (3). *Portions of this paper were presented by R. K. Clifton to the 1988 British Society for the Philosophy of Science Conference at the University of Southampton. R. K. Clifton wishes to thank the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, and the Governing Body of Peterhouse at Cambridge University for support during this work. (shrink)
We further develop a recent new proof (by Greenberger, Horne, and Zeilinger—GHZ) that local deterministic hidden-variable theories are inconsistent with certain strict correlations predicted by quantum mechanics. First, we generalize GHZ's proof so that it applies to factorable stochastic theories, theories in which apparatus hidden variables are causally relevant to measurement results, and theories in which the hidden variables evolve indeterministically prior to the particle-apparatus interactions. Then we adopt a more general measure-theoretic approach which requires that GHZ's argument be modified (...) in order to produce a valid proof. Finally, we motivate our more general proof's assumptions in a somewhat different way from previous authors in order to strengthen the implications of our proof as much as possible. After developing GHZ's proof along these lines, we then consider the analogue, for our proof, of Bohr's reply to the EPR argument, and conclude (pace GHZ) that in at least one respect (viz. that of most concern to Bohr) the proof is no more powerful than Bell's. Nevertheless, we point out some new advantages of our proof over Bell's, and over other algebraic proofs of nonlocality. And we conclude by giving a modified version of our proof that, like Bell's, does not rely on experimentally unrealizable strict correlations, but still leads to a testable “quasi-algebraic” locality inequality.“... to admit things not visible to the gross creatures that we are is, in my opinion, to show a decent humility, and not just a lamentable addiction to metaphysics.”J. S. Bell. (shrink)
This is one of two papers about emergence, reduction and supervenience. It expounds these notions and analyses the general relations between them. The companion paper analyses the situation in physics, especially limiting relations between physical theories.I shall take emergence as behaviour that is novel and robust relative to some comparison class. I shall take reduction as deduction using appropriate auxiliary definitions. And I shall take supervenience as a weakening of reduction, viz. to allow infinitely long definitions.The overall claim of this (...) paper will be that emergence is logically independent both of reduction and of supervenience. In particular, one can have emergence with reduction, as well as without it; and emergence without supervenience, as well as with it.Of the subsidiary claims, the four main ones (each shared with some other authors) are: I defend the traditional Nagelian conception of reduction (Sect. 3);I deny that the multiple realisability argument causes trouble for reductions, or “reductionism” (Sect. 4);I stress the collapse of supervenience into deduction via Beth’s theorem (Sect. 5.1);I adapt some examples already in the literature to show supervenience without emergence and vice versa (Sect. 5.2). (shrink)
This is the editors' introduction to a new anthology of commissioned articles covering the various branches of philosophy of physics. We introduce the articles in terms of the three pillars of modern physics: relativity theory, quantum theory and thermal physics. We end by discussing the present state, and future prospects, of fundamental physics.
I survey some of the connections between the metaphysics of the relation between mind and matter, and quantum theory’s measurement problem. After discussing the metaphysics, especially the correct formulation of physicalism, I argue that two state-reduction approaches to quantum theory’s measurement problem hold some surprises for philosophers’ discussions of physicalism. Though both approaches are compatible with physicalism, they involve a very different conception of the physical, and of how the physical underpins the mental, from what most philosophers expect. And one (...) approach exemplifies a a problem in the definition of physicalism which the metaphysical literature has discussed only in the abstract. A version of the paper has appeared in Consciousness and Human Identity, ed. John Cornwell, OUP 1998. (shrink)
We survey some philosophical aspects of the search for a quantum theory of gravity, emphasising how quantum gravity throws into doubt the treatment of spacetime common to the two `ingredient theories' (quantum theory and general relativity), as a 4-dimensional manifold equipped with a Lorentzian metric. After an introduction (Section 1), we briefly review the conceptual problems of the ingredient theories (Section 2) and introduce the enterprise of quantum gravity (Section 3). We then describe how three main research programmes in quantum (...) gravity treat four topics of particular importance: the scope of standard quantum theory; the nature of spacetime; spacetime diffeomorphisms, and the so-called `problem of time' (Section 4). These programmes are the old particle-physics approach, superstring theory, and canonical quantum gravity. By and large, these programmes accept most of the ingredient theories' treatment of spacetime, albeit with a metric with some type of quantum nature; but they also suggest that the treatment has fundamental limitations. This prompts the idea of going further: either by quantizing structures other than the metric, such as the topology; or by regarding such structures as phenomenological. We discuss this in Section 5. (shrink)
This is an excellent book, by a very distinguished historian and philosopher of physics. Roberto Torretti is principally known to historians and philosophers of physics through his previous books, Philosophy of Geometry from Riemann to Poincaré (1978), Relativity and Geometry (1983), and Creative Understanding: Philosophical Reflections on Physics (1990). As the first two titles suggest, his forte is the history and philosophy of geometry and spacetime physics, especially from the nineteenth century onwards. These two books were recognized as masterly. Torretti (...) showed an extraordinary command of the many topics in mathematics, physics and the history and philosophy of science that were involved in these studies. In addition to scholarship, he showed strong acuity about philosophical issues; and had a very graceful prose style. The same merits, scientific and historical scholarship, good philosophical judgment, and stylistic grace, were equally in evidence in Creative Understanding; in which Torretti focussed on specifically philosophical topics about how physical theories in general (not just spacetime theories) represent the world. (shrink)
This article develops an analogy proposed by Stachel between general relativity (GR) and quantum mechanics (QM) as regards permutation invariance. Our main idea is to overcome Pooley's criticism of the analogy by appeal to paraparticles. In GR, the equations are (the solution space is) invariant under diffeomorphisms permuting spacetime points. Similarly, in QM the equations are invariant under particle permutations. Stachel argued that this feature—a theory's ‘not caring which point, or particle, is which’—supported a structuralist ontology. Pooley criticizes this analogy: (...) in QM the (anti-)symmetrization of fermions and bosons implies that each individual state (solution) is fixed by each permutation, while in GR a diffeomorphism yields in general a distinct, albeit isomorphic, solution. We define various versions of structuralism, and go on to formulate Stachel's and Pooley's positions, admittedly in our own terms. We then reply to Pooley. Though he is right about fermions and bosons, QM equally allows more general types of particle symmetry, in which states (vectors, rays, or density operators) are not fixed by all permutations (called ‘paraparticle states’). Thus Stachel's analogy is revived. (shrink)
This is an excellent book, by one of the philosophy of quantum theory's brightest stars. It combines a clear presentation of determinism, probability and non-locality in several current interpretations of quantum theory, with a good deal of detailed analysis, both reporting other people's and Dickson's own results, and developing his own ideas|which are often heterodox, but always well-defended and thought-provoking. The treatment is often concise, especially when reporting standard material or others' results. There are also frequent changes of gear; both (...) because the issues are complexly related to each other, and because Dickson sensibly does not aim for a de nitive treatment of issues that are at present so controversial|accordingly, he weaves about, not forcing his material into some single line of argument. So this is a monograph, not a textbook for teaching or a treatise summing up a conquered eld. But the style is clear and vigourous; the book is packed with information (sometimes about ancillary issues); and as we shall see, Dickson does have some provocative main claims, if not an overarching single line of argument. In this short space, I can only praise the book's general virtues and state some of the main claims. (shrink)
We discuss from a philosophical perspective the way in which the normal concept of time might be said to `emerge' in a quantum theory of gravity. After an introduction, we briefly discuss the notion of emergence, without regard to time (Section 2). We then introduce the search for a quantum theory of gravity (Section 3); and review some general interpretative issues about space, time and matter (Section 4). We then discuss the emergence of time in simple quantum geometrodynamics, and in (...) the Euclidean approach (Section 5). Section 6 concludes. (shrink)
Using the Hilbert–Bernays account as a spring-board, we first define four ways in which two objects can be discerned from one another, using the non-logical vocabulary of the language concerned. (These definitions are based on definitions made by Quine and Saunders.) Because of our use of the Hilbert-Bernays account, these definitions are in terms of the syntax of the language. But we also relate our definitions to the idea of permutations on the domain of quantification, and their being symmetries. These (...) relations turn out to be subtle—some natural conjectures about them are false. We will see in particular that the idea of symmetry meshes with a species of indiscernibility that we will call ‘absolute indiscernibility’. We use these four kinds as a resource for stating four metaphysical theses about identity. Three of these theses articulate two traditional philosophical themes: viz. the principle of the identity of indiscernibles (which will come in two versions), and haecceitism. The fourth is recent. Its most notable feature is that it makes diversity (i.e. non-identity) weaker than what we will call individuality (being an individual): two objects can be distinct but not individuals. For this reason, it has been advocated both for quantum particles and for spacetime points. Finally, we locate this fourth metaphysical thesis in a broader position, which we call structuralism. We conclude with a discussion of the semantics suitable for a structuralist, with particular reference to physical theories as well as elementary model theory. (shrink)
Spacetime, International Research Library of Philosophy, Dartmouth Publishing, 1996 (with G.Belot & M.Hogarth). From Physics to Philosophy, C.U.P., 1999 (with C. Pagonis). The Arguments of Time, British Academy and O.U.P., 1999. Non-Locality and Modality, Kluwer Academic, 2002 (with T.Placek). Quantum Entanglements, Selected Papers of Rob Clifton, O.U.P., 2004 (with H.Halvorson).
Abstract: This paper assesses the Everettian approach to the measurement problem, especially the version of that approach advocated by Simon Saunders and David Wallace. I emphasise conceptual, indeed metaphysical, aspects rather than technical ones; but I include an introductory exposition of decoherence. In particular, I discuss whether---as these authors maintain---it is acceptable to have no precise definition of 'branch' (in the Everettian kind of sense). (A version of this paper will appear in a CTNS/Vatican Observatory volume on Quantum Theory and (...) Divine Action, ed. Robert Russell et al.). (shrink)
This paper forms part of a wider campaign: to deny pointillisme. That is the doctrine that a physical theory's fundamental quantities are defined at points of space or of spacetime, and represent intrinsic properties of such points or point-sized objects located there; so that properties of spatial or spatiotemporal regions and their material contents are determined by the point-by-point facts. More specifically, this paper argues against pointillisme about the structure of space and-or spacetime itself, especially a paper by Bricker (1993). (...) A companion paper argues against pointillisme in mechanics, especially about velocity; it focusses on Tooley, Robinson and Lewis. To avoid technicalities, I conduct the argument almost entirely in the context of ``Newtonian'' ideas about space and time. But both the debate and my arguments carry over to relativistic, and even quantum, physics. (shrink)
This paper forms part of a wider campaign: to deny pointillisme. That is the doctrine that a physical theory's fundamental quantities are defined at points of space or of spacetime, and represent intrinsic properties of such points or point-sized objects located there; so that properties of spatial or spatiotemporal regions and their material contents are determined by the point-by-point facts. Elsewhere, I argued against pointillisme about chrono-geometry, and about velocity in classical mechanics. In both cases, attention focussed on temporal extrinsicality: (...) i.e. on what an ascription of a property implies about other times. Therefore, I also discussed the metaphysical debate whether persistence should be understood as endurance or perdurance. In this paper, I focus instead on spatial extrinsicality: i.e. on what an ascription of a property implies about other places. The main idea will be that the classical mechanics of continuous media (solids or fluids) involves a good deal of spatial extrinsicality---which seems not to have been noticed by philosophers, even those who have no inclination to pointillisme. I begin by describing my wider campaign. Then I present some elementary aspects of stress, strain and elasticity---emphasising the kinds of spatial extrinsicality they each involve. I conduct the discussion entirely in the context of `Newtonian' ideas about space and time. But my arguments carry over to relativistic physics. (shrink)
This paper expounds the relations between continuous symmetries and conserved quantities, i.e. Noether's ``first theorem'', in both the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian frameworks for classical mechanics. This illustrates one of mechanics' grand themes: exploiting a symmetry so as to reduce the number of variables needed to treat a problem. I emphasise that, for both frameworks, the theorem is underpinned by the idea of cyclic coordinates; and that the Hamiltonian theorem is more powerful. The Lagrangian theorem's main ``ingredient'', apart from cyclic coordinates, (...) is the rectification of vector fields afforded by the local existence and uniqueness of solutions to ordinary differential equations. For the Hamiltonian theorem, the main extra ingredients are the asymmetry of the Poisson bracket, and the fact that a vector field generates canonical transformations iff it is Hamiltonian. (shrink)
This paper discusses some of the modal involvements of analytical mechanics. I first review the elementary aspects of the Lagrangian, Hamiltonian and Hamilton-Jacobi approaches. I then discuss two modal involvements; both are related to David Lewis' work on modality, especially on counterfactuals. The first is the way Hamilton-Jacobi theory uses ensembles, i.e. sets of possible initial conditions. The structure of this set of ensembles remains to be explored by philosophers. The second is the way the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian approaches' variational (...) principles state the law of motion by mentioning contralegal dynamical evolutions. This threatens to contravene the principle that any actual truth, in particular an actual law, is made true by actual facts. Though this threat can be avoided, at least for simple mechanical systems, it repays scrutiny; not least because it leads to some open questions. (shrink)
The ambition of this volume is twofold: to provide a comprehensive overview of the field and to serve as an indispensable reference work for anyone who wants to work in it. For example, any philosopher who hopes to make a contribution to the topic of the classical-quantum correspondence will have to begin by consulting Klaas Landsman’s chapter. The organization of this volume, as well as the choice of topics, is based on the conviction that the important problems in the philosophy (...) of physics arise from studying the foundations of the fundamental theories of physics. It follows that there is no sharp line to be drawn between philosophy of physics and physics itself. Some of the best work in the philosophy of physics is being done by physicists, as witnessed by the fact that several of the contributors to the volume are theoretical physicists: viz., Ellis, Emch, Harvey, Landsman, Rovelli, ‘t Hooft, the last of whom is a Nobel laureate. Key features - Definitive discussions of the philosophical implications of modern physics - Masterly expositions of the fundamental theories of modern physics - Covers all three main pillars of modern physics: relativity theory, quantum theory, and thermal physics - Covers the new sciences grown from these theories: for example, cosmology from relativity theory; and quantum information and quantum computing, from quantum theory - Contains special Chapters that address crucial topics that arise in several different theories, such as symmetry and determinism - Written by very distinguished theoretical physicists, including a Nobel Laureate, as well as by philosophers - Definitive discussions of the philosophical implications of modern physics - Masterly expositions of the fundamental theories of modern physics - Covers all three main pillars of modern physics: relativity theory, quantum theory, and thermal physics - Covers the new sciences that have grown from these theories: for example, cosmology from relativity theory; and quantum information and quantum computing, from quantum theory - Contains special Chapters that address crucial topics that arise in several different theories, such as symmetry and determinism - Written by very distinguished theoretical physicists, including a Nobel Laureate, as well as by philosophers. (shrink)
These nine essays address fundamental questions about time in philosophy, physics, linguistics, and psychology. Are there facts about the future? Could we affect the past? In physics, general relativity and quantum theory give contradictory treatments of time. So in the current search for a theory of quantum gravity, which should give way: general relativity or quantum theory? In linguistics and psychology, how does our language represent time, and how do our minds keep track of it?
I extract some philosophical morals from some aspects of Lagrangian mechanics. (A companion paper will present similar morals from Hamiltonian mechanics and Hamilton-Jacobi theory.) One main moral concerns methodology: Lagrangian mechanics provides a level of description of phenomena which has been largely ignored by philosophers, since it falls between their accustomed levels---``laws of nature'' and ``models''. Another main moral concerns ontology: the ontology of Lagrangian mechanics is both more subtle and more problematic than philosophers often realize. The treatment of Lagrangian (...) mechanics provides an introduction to the subject for philosophers, and is technically elementary. In particular, it is confined to systems with a finite number of degrees of freedom, and for the most part eschews modern geometry. (shrink)
I compare deterministic and stochastic hidden variable models of the Bell experiment, exphasising philosophical distinctions between the various ways of combining conditionals and probabilities. I make four main claims. (1) Under natural assumptions, locality as it occurs in these models is equivalent to causal independence, as analysed (in the spirit of Lewis) in terms of probabilities and conditionals. (2) Stochastic models are indeed more general than deterministic ones. (3) For factorizable stochastic models, relativity's lack of superluminal causation does not favour (...) locality over completeness. (4) If we prohibit all superluminal causation, then the violation of the Bell inequality teaches us a lesson, besides quantum mechanics' familiar ones that quantities can lack precise values and that pairs of quantities can lack joint probabilities: namely, some pairs of events are not screened off by their common past. (shrink)
As Newton realized, his absolute space was a ‘conspiracy of nature’ in the sense that his laws dictated that nobody could discover who, among all possible observers (in various states of motion relative to one another), was at rest in absolute space. So absolute space was an unverifiable element of his theory.
This paper forms part of a wider campaign: to deny em pointillisme. That is the doctrine that a physical theory's fundamental quantities are defined at points of space or of spacetime, and represent intrinsic properties of such points or point-sized objects located there; so that properties of spatial or spatiotemporal regions and their material contents are determined by the point-by-point facts. More specifically, this paper argues against pointillisme about the concept of velocity in classical mechanics; especially against proposals by Tooley, (...) Robinson and Lewis. A companion paper argues against pointillisme about (chrono)-geometry, as proposed by Bricker. To avoid technicalities, I conduct the argument almost entirely in the context of ``Newtonian'' ideas about space and time, and the classical mechanics of point-particles, i.e. extensionless particles moving in a void. But both the debate and my arguments carry over to relativistic physics. (shrink)
In a previous paper, we have proposed assigning as the value of a physical quantity in quantum theory, a certain kind of set (a sieve) of quantities that are functions of the given quantity. The motivation was in part physical---such a valuation illuminates the Kochen-Specker theorem; and in part mathematical---the valuation arises naturally in the topos theory of presheaves. This paper discusses the conceptual aspects of this proposal. We also undertake two other tasks. First, we explain how the proposed valuations (...) could arise much more generally than just in quantum physics; in particular, they arise as naturally in classical physics. Second, we give another motivation for such valuations (that applies equally to classical and quantum physics). This arises from applying to propositions about the values of physical quantities some general axioms governing partial truth for any kind of proposition. (shrink)
This paper expounds the modern theory of symplectic reduction in finite-dimensional Hamiltonian mechanics. This theory generalizes the well-known connection between continuous symmetries and conserved quantities, i.e. Noether's theorem. It also illustrates one of mechanics' grand themes: exploiting a symmetry so as to reduce the number of variables needed to treat a problem. The exposition emphasises how the theory provides insights about the rotation group and the rigid body. The theory's device of quotienting a state space also casts light on philosophical (...) issues about whether two apparently distinct but utterly indiscernible possibilities should be ruled to be one and the same. These issues are illustrated using ``relationist'' mechanics. (shrink)
I discuss Julian Barbour's Machian theories of dynamics, and his proposal that a Machian perspective enables one to solve the problem of time in quantum geometrodynamics (by saying that there is no time!). I concentrate on his recent book, The End of Time (1999). A shortened version will appear in The British Journal for Philosophy of Science}.
This paper is about the metaphysical debate whether objects persist over time by the selfsame object existing at different times (nowadays called “endurance” by metaphysicians), or by different temporal parts, or stages, existing at different times (called “perdurance”). I aim to illuminate the debate by using some elementary kinematics and real analysis: resources which metaphysicians have, surprisingly, not availed themselves of. There are two main results, which are of interest to both endurantists and perdurantists. (1) I describe a precise formal (...) equivalence between the way that the two metaphysical positions represent the motion of the objects of classical mechanics (both point-particles and continua). (2) I make precise, and prove a result about, the idea that the persistence of objects moving in a void is to be analysed in terms of tracking the continuous curves in spacetime that connect points occupied by matter. The result is entirely elementary: it is a corollary of the Heine–Borel theorem. (shrink)
Any attempt to construct a realist interpretation of quantum theory founders on the Kochen-Specker theorem, which asserts the impossibility of assigning values to quantum quantities in a way that preserves functional relations between them. We construct a new type of valuation which is defined on all operators, and which respects an appropriate version of the functional composition principle. The truth-values assigned to propositions are (i) contextual; and (ii) multi-valued, where the space of contexts and the multi-valued logic for each context (...) come naturally from the topos theory of presheaves. The first step in our theory is to demonstrate that the Kochen-Specker theorem is equivalent to the statement that a certain presheaf defined on the category of self-adjoint operators has no global elements. We then show how the use of ideas drawn from the theory of presheaves leads to the definition of a generalised valuation in quantum theory whose values are sieves of operators. In particular, we show how each quantum state leads to such a generalised valuation. A key ingredient throughout is the idea that, in a situation where no normal truth-value can be given to a proposition asserting that the value of a physical quantity A lies in a set D of real numbers , it is nevertheless possible to ascribe a partial truth-value which is determined by the set of all coarse-grained propositions that assert that some function f(A) lies in f(D), and that are true in a normal sense. The set of all such coarse-grainings forms a sieve on the category of self-adjoint operators, and is hence fundamentally related to the theory of presheave. (shrink)
I commemorate David Lewis by discussing an aspect of modality within analytical mechanics, which is closely related to his work on counterfactuals. This concerns the way Hamilton‐Jacobi theory uses ensembles, i.e. sets of possible initial conditions. (A companion paper discusses other aspects of modality in analytical mechanics that are equally related to Lewis's work.).
The violation of the Bell inequality means that measurement-results in the two wings of the experiment cannot be screened off from one another, in the sense of Reichenbach. But does this mean that there is causation between the results? I argue that it does, according to Lewis's counterfactual analysis of causation and his associated views. The reason lies in his doctrine that chances evolve by conditionalization on intervening history. This doctrine collapses the distinction between the conditional probabilities that are used (...) to state screening off, and the counterfactuals with chance consequents that are used to state lack of causation. I briefly discuss ways to evade my argument. (shrink)
I discuss the idea of relativistic causality, i.e., the requirement that causal processes or signals can propagate only within the light-cone. After briefly locating this requirement in the philosophy of causation, my main aim is to draw philosophers' attention to the fact that it is subtle, indeed problematic, in relativistic quantum physics: there are scenarios in which it seems to fail. I set aside two such scenarios, which are familiar to philosophers of physics: the pilot-wave approach, and the Newton-Wigner representation. (...) I instead stress two unfamiliar scenarios: the Drummond-Hathrell and Scharnhorst effects. These effects also illustrate a general moral in the philosophy of geometry: that the mathematical structures, especially the metric tensor, that represent geometry get their geometric significance by dint of detailed physical arguments. (shrink)
I discuss how modern cosmology illustrates underdetermination of theoretical hypotheses by data, in ways that are different from most philosophical discussions. I confine the discussion to the history of the observable universe from about one second after the Big Bang, as described by the mainstream cosmological model: in effect, what cosmologists in the early 1970s dubbed the ‘standard model’, as elaborated since then. Or rather, the discussion is confined to a (very!) few aspects of that history. I emphasize that despite (...) the underdetermination, a scientific realist can, and should, endorse this description. (shrink)
This is a collection of eleven original essays in analytical philosophy by British and American philosophers, centering on the connection between mind and language. Two themes predominate: how it is that thoughts and sentences can represent the world; and what having a thought - a belief, for instance - involves. Developing from these themes are the questions: what does having a belief require of the believer, and of the way he or she relates to the environment? In particular, does having (...) a belief require speaking a language? The volume concludes the informal series stemming from the meetings sponsored by the Thyssen Foundation. (shrink)
(I) Aristotle of Stagira (384-322 BC) 0) A closed geocentric spherical cosmology. (Adopted from the great mathematician, Eudoxus, c. 400 to 347 BC; via Calippus; but Aristotle unifies their separate schemes for different heavenly bodies). (Aristotle cites mathematicians as estimating radius of earth: in fact 200% of correct figure. Eratosthenes ca. 250 BC estimates radius of earth as 120% of correct).
This review of Julian Barbour's The End of Time () discusses his Machian theories of dynamics, and his proposal that a Machian perspective enables one to solve the problem of time in quantum geometrodynamics, viz. by saying that there is no time! 1 Introduction 2 Machian themes in classical physics 2.1 The status quo 2.2 Machianism 2.2.1 The temporal metric as emergent 2.2.2 Machian theories 2.2.3 Assessing intrinsic dynamics 3 The end of time? 3.1 Time unreal? The classical case 3.1.1 (...) Spontaneity 3.1.2 Barbour's vision: time capsules 3.2 Evidence from quantum physics? 3.2.1 Mott scattering as a model for time capsules 3.2.2 Solving the problem of time? (shrink)
I discuss various formulations of stochastic Einstein locality (SEL), which is a version of the idea of relativistic causality, that is, the idea that influences propagate at most as fast as light. SEL is similar to Reichenbach's Principle of the Common Cause (PCC), and Bell's Local Causality. My main aim is to discuss formulations of SEL for a fixed background spacetime. I previously argued that SEL is violated by the outcome dependence shown by Bell correlations, both in quantum mechanics and (...) in quantum field theory. Here I reassess those verdicts in the light of some recent literature which argues that outcome dependence does not violate the PCC. I argue that the verdicts about SEL still stand. Finally, I briefly discuss how to formulate relativistic causality if there is no fixed background spacetime. (shrink)
We extend the topos-theoretic treatment given in previous papers of assigning values to quantities in quantum theory. In those papers, the main idea was to assign a sieve as a partial and contextual truth-value to a proposition that the value of a quantity lies in a certain set D of real numbers. Here we relate such sieve-valued valuations to valuations that assign to quantities subsets, rather than single elements, of their spectrum (we call these interval valuations). There are two main (...) results. First, there is a natural correspondence between these two kinds of valuation, which uses the notion of a state's support for a quantity (Section 3). Second, if one starts with a more general notion of interval valuation, one sees that our interval valuations based on the notion of support (and correspondingly, our sieve-valued valuations) are a simple way to secure certain natural properties of valuations, such as monotonicity (Section 4). (shrink)
This paper gives a technically elementary treatment of some aspects of Hamilton-Jacobi theory, especially in relation to the calculus of variations. The second half of the paper describes the application to geometric optics, the optico-mechanical analogy and the transition to quantum mechanics. Finally, I report recent work of Holland providing a Hamiltonian formulation of the pilot-wave theory.
We extend the topos-theoretic treatment given in previous papers of assigning values to quantities in quantum theory, and of related issues such as the Kochen-Specker theorem. This extension has two main parts: the use of von Neumann algebras as a base category (Section 2); and the relation of our generalized valuations to (i) the assignment to quantities of intervals of real numbers, and (ii) the idea of a subobject of the coarse-graining presheaf (Section 3).
I reject Norton and Earman's hole argument that spacetime substantivalism is incompatible with determinism. I reconcile these both technically and philosophically. There is a technical definition of determinism that is not violated by pairs of models of the kind used in the hole argument. And technicalities aside, the basic idea of determinism is not violated if we claim that at most one of the two models represents a possible world. This claim can be justified either by metrical essentialism (advocated by (...)Maudlin), or by denying transworld identity for points: I prefer the latter. (shrink)
Some recent philosophical debate about persistence has focussed on an argument against perdurantism that discusses rotating perfectly homogeneous discs (the `rotating discs argument'; RDA). The argument has been mostly discussed by metaphysicians, though it appeals to ideas from classical mechanics, especially about rotation. In contrast, I assess the RDA from the perspective of the philosophy of physics. After introducing the argument and emphasizing the relevance of physics (Sections 1 to 3), I review some metaphysicians' replies to the argument, especially (...) those by Callender, Lewis, Robinson and Sider (Section 4). Thereafter, I argue for three main conclusions. They all arise from the fact, emphasized in Section 2, that classical mechanics (non-relativistic as well as relativistic) is both more subtle, and more problematic, than philosophers generally realize. The first conclusion is that the RDA can be formulated more strongly than is usually recognized: it is not necessary to ``imagine away'' the dynamical effects of rotation (Section 5.5). The second is that in general relativity, the RDA fails because of frame-dragging (Section 5.6). The third is that even setting aside general relativity, the strong formulation of the RDA can after all be defeated (Section 6 onwards). Namely, by the perdurantist taking objects in classical mechanics (whether point-particles or continuous bodies) to have only temporally extended, i.e. non-instantaneous, temporal parts: which immediately blocks the RDA. Admittedly, this version of perdurantism defines persistence in a weaker sense of `definition' than pointilliste versions that aim to define persistence assuming only instantaneous temporal parts. But I argue that temporally extended temporal parts: (i) can do the jobs within the endurantism-perdurantism debate that the perdurantist wants temporal parts to do; and (ii) are supported by both classical and quantum mechanics. (shrink)