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Profile: John Earman (University of Pittsburgh)
Profile: John Earman (University of Pittsburgh)
  1.  324 DLs
    John Earman & Jesus Mosterin (1999). A Critical Look at Inflationary Cosmology. Philosophy of Science 66 (1):1-49.
    Inflationary cosmology won a large following on the basis of the claim that it solves various problems that beset the standard big bang model. We argue that these problems concern not the empirical adequacy of the standard model but rather the nature of the explanations it offers. Furthermore, inflationary cosmology has not been able to deliver on its proposed solutions without offering models which are increasingly complicated and contrived, which depart more and more from the standard model it was supposed (...)
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  2.  284 DLs
    John Earman (2000). Hume's Abject Failure: The Argument Against Miracles. Oxford University Press.
    This vital study offers a new interpretation of Hume's famous "Of Miracles," which notoriously argues against the possibility of miracles. By situating Hume's popular argument in the context of the 18th century debate on miracles, Earman shows Hume's argument to be largely unoriginal and chiefly without merit where it is original. Yet Earman constructively conceives how progress can be made on the issues that Hume's essay so provocatively posed about the ability of eyewitness testimony to establish the credibility of marvelous (...)
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  3.  262 DLs
    Gordon Belot, John Earman, Richard Healey, Tim Maudlin, Antigone Nounou & Ward Struyve, Synopsis and Discussion: Philosophy of Gauge Theory.
    This document records the discussion between participants at the workshop "Philosophy of Gauge Theory," Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, 18-19 April 2009.
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  4.  244 DLs
    John Earman (2004). Laws, Symmetry, and Symmetry Breaking: Invariance, Conservation Principles, and Objectivity. Philosophy of Science 71 (5):1227--1241.
    Given its importance in modern physics, philosophers of science have paid surprisingly little attention to the subject of symmetries and invariances, and they have largely neglected the subtopic of symmetry breaking. I illustrate how the topic of laws and symmetries brings into fruitful interaction technical issues in physics and mathematics with both methodological issues in philosophy of science, such as the status of laws of physics, and metaphysical issues, such as the nature of objectivity.
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  5.  225 DLs
    John Earman & John Roberts (1999). "Ceteris Paribus", There Is No Problem of Provisos. Synthese 118 (3):439 - 478.
    Much of the literature on "ceteris paribus" laws is based on a misguided egalitarianism about the sciences. For example, it is commonly held that the special sciences are riddled with ceteris paribus laws; from this many commentators conclude that if the special sciences are not to be accorded a second class status, it must be ceteris paribus all the way down to fundamental physics. We argue that the (purported) laws of fundamental physics are not hedged by ceteris paribus clauses and (...)
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  6.  212 DLs
    John Earman (1976). Causation: A Matter of Life and Death. Journal of Philosophy 73 (1):5-25.
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  7.  187 DLs
    John Earman & John T. Roberts (2005). Contact with the Nomic: A Challenge for Deniers of Humean Supervenience About Laws of Nature Part I: Humean Supervenience. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (1):1–22.
    This is the first part of a two-part article in which we defend the thesis of Humean Supervenience about Laws of Nature (HS). According to this thesis, two possible worlds cannot differ on what is a law of nature unless they also differ on the Humean base. The Humean base is easy to characterize intuitively, but there is no consensus on how, precisely, it should be defined. Here in Part I, we present and motivate a characterization of the Humean base (...)
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  8.  165 DLs
    John Earman & John T. Roberts (2005). Contact with the Nomic: A Challenge for Deniers of Humean Supervenience About Laws of Nature Part II: The Epistemological Argument for Humean Supervenience. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (2):253–286.
    In Part I, we presented and motivated a new formulation of Humean Supervenience about Laws of Nature (HS). Here in Part II, we present an epistemological argument in defense of HS, thus formulated. Our contention is that one can combine a modest realism about laws of nature with a proper recognition of the importance of empirical testability in the epistemology of science only if one accepts HS.
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  9.  162 DLs
    John Earman & John Norton (1987). What Price Spacetime Substantivalism? The Hole Story. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 38 (4):515-525.
    Spacetime substantivalism leads to a radical form of indeterminism within a very broad class of spacetime theories which include our best spacetime theory, general relativity. Extending an argument from Einstein, we show that spacetime substantivalists are committed to very many more distinct physical states than these theories' equations can determine, even with the most extensive boundary conditions.
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  10.  161 DLs
    John Earman, John T. Roberts & Sheldon Smith (2002). Ceteris Paribus Lost. Erkenntnis 57 (3):281-301.
    Many have claimed that ceteris paribus (CP) laws are a quite legitimate feature of scientific theories, some even going so far as to claim that laws of all scientific theories currently on offer are merely CP. We argue here that one of the common props of such a thesis, that there are numerous examples of CP laws in physics, is false. Moreover, besides the absence of genuine examples from physics, we suggest that otherwise unproblematic claims are rendered untestable by the (...)
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  11.  160 DLs
    John Earman (2003). The Cosmological Constant, the Fate of the Universe, Unimodular Gravity, and All That. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 34 (4):559-577.
    The cosmological constant is back. Several lines of evidence point to the conclusion that either there is a positive cosmological constant or else the universe is filled with a strange form of matter (“quintessence”) that mimics some of the effects of a positive lambda. This paper investigates the implications of the former possibility. Two senses in which the cosmological constant can be a constant are distinguished: the capital Λ sense in which lambda is a universal constant on a par with (...)
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  12.  159 DLs
    John Earman (2004). Determinism: What We Have Learned and What We Still Don't Know. In Joseph K. Campbell (ed.), Freedom and Determinism. Cambridge Ma: Bradford Book/MIT Press 21--46.
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  13.  141 DLs
    John Earman (2006). The “Past Hypothesis”: Not Even False. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 37 (3):399-430.
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  14.  137 DLs
    John Earman & John D. Norton (1993). Forever is a Day: Supertasks in Pitowsky and Malament-Hogarth Spacetimes. Philosophy of Science 60 (1):22-42.
    The standard theory of computation excludes computations whose completion requires an infinite number of steps. Malament-Hogarth spacetimes admit observers whose pasts contain entire future-directed, timelike half-curves of infinite proper length. We investigate the physical properties of these spacetimes and ask whether they and other spacetimes allow the observer to know the outcome of a computation with infinitely many steps.
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  15.  133 DLs
    John Earman (2008). Reassessing the Prospects for a Growing Block Model of the Universe. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 22 (2):135 – 164.
    Although C. D. Broad's notion of Becoming has received a fair amount of attention in the philosophy-of-time literature, there are no serious attempts to show how to replace the standard 'block' spacetime models by models that are more congenial to Broad's idea that the sum total of existence is continuously increased by Becoming or the coming into existence of events. In the Newtonian setting Broad-type models can be constructed in a cheating fashion by starting with a Newtonian block model, carving (...)
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  16.  129 DLs
    John Earman (1978). The Universality of Laws. Philosophy of Science 45 (2):173-181.
    Various senses in which laws of nature are supposed to be "universal" are distinguished. Conditions designed to capture the content of the more important of these senses are proposed and the relations among these conditions are examined. The status of universality requirements is briefly discussed.
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  17.  128 DLs
    John Earman (2002). Thoroughly Modern Mctaggart: Or, What Mctaggart Would Have Said If He Had Read the General Theory of Relativity. Philosophers' Imprint 2 (3):1-28.
    The philosophical literature on time and change is fixated on the issue of whether the B-series account of change is adequate or whether real change requires Becoming of either the property-based variety of McTaggart's A-series or the non-property-based form embodied in C. D. Broad's idea of the piling up of successive layers of existence. For present purposes it is assumed that the B-series suffices to ground real change. But then it is noted that modern science in the guise of Einstein's (...)
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  18.  118 DLs
    John Earman (1970). Who's Afraid of Absolute Space? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 48 (3):287 – 319.
  19.  117 DLs
    John Earman & Doreen Fraser (2006). Haag's Theorem and its Implications for the Foundations of Quantum Field Theory. Erkenntnis 64 (3):305 - 344.
    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 (...)
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  20.  114 DLs
    John Earman (1993). Underdetermination, Realism, and Reason. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 18 (1):19-38.
  21.  111 DLs
    Jeremy Butterfield & John Earman, Introduction to the Philosophy of Physics: Volume 2 of the North-Holland Series, the Handbook of the Philosophy of Science.
    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.
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  22.  109 DLs
    John Earman, Christopher Smeenk & Christian Wüthrich (2009). Do the Laws of Physics Forbid the Operation of Time Machines? Synthese 169 (1):91 - 124.
    We address the question of whether it is possible to operate a time machine by manipulating matter and energy so as to manufacture closed timelike curves. This question has received a great deal of attention in the physics literature, with attempts to prove no-go theorems based on classical general relativity and various hybrid theories serving as steps along the way towards quantum gravity. Despite the effort put into these no-go theorems, there is no widely accepted definition of a time machine. (...)
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  23.  101 DLs
    John Earman (2008). How Determinism Can Fail in Classical Physics and How Quantum Physics Can (Sometimes) Provide a Cure. Philosophy of Science 75 (5):817-829.
    Various fault modes of determinism in classical physics are outlined. It is shown how quantum mechanics can cure some forms of classical indeterminism. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of HPS, University of Pittsburgh, 1017 Cathedral of Learning, Pittsburgh, PA 15260; e‐mail: jearman@pitt.edu.
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  24.  99 DLs
    John Earman (2002). Gauge Matters. Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S209--20.
    The constrained Hamiltonian formalism is recommended as a means for getting a grip on the concepts of gauge and gauge transformation. This formalism makes it clear how the gauge concept is relevant to understanding Newtonian and classical relativistic theories as well as the theories of elementary particle physics; it provides an explication of the vague notions of "local" and "global" gauge transformations; it explains how and why a fibre bundle structure emerges for theories which do not wear their bundle structure (...)
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  25.  98 DLs
    John Earman (1974). An Attempt to Add a Little Direction to "the Problem of the Direction of Time". Philosophy of Science 41 (1):15-47.
    It is argued that the main problem with "the problem of the direction of time" is to figure out what the problem is or is supposed to be. Towards this end, an attempt is made to disentangle and to classify some of the many issues which have been discussed under the label of 'the direction of time'. Secondly, some technical apparatus is introduced in the hope of producing a sharper formulation of the issues than they have received in the philosophical (...)
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  26.  96 DLs
    John Earman (1967). On Going Backward in Time. Philosophy of Science 34 (3):211-222.
    This paper presents a critical examination of claims advanced by several philosophers to the effect that 'time travel' represents a physical possibility and that the interpretation of certain actually observed phenomena in terms of 'time travel' is both legitimate and advantageous. It is argued that (a) no convincing motivation for the introduction of the time travel hypothesis has been presented; (b) no coherent and interesting sense of 'going backward in time' has been supplied which makes 'time travel' compatible with Special (...)
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  27.  90 DLs
    John Earman (1977). How to Talk About the Topology of Time. Noûs 11 (3):211-226.
  28.  83 DLs
    John Earman (2004). Curie's Principle and Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 18 (2 & 3):173 – 198.
    In 1894 Pierre Curie announced what has come to be known as Curie's Principle: the asymmetry of effects must be found in their causes. In the same publication Curie discussed a key feature of what later came to be known as spontaneous symmetry breaking: the phenomena generally do not exhibit the symmetries of the laws that govern them. Philosophers have long been interested in the meaning and status of Curie's Principle. Only comparatively recently have they begun to delve into the (...)
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  29.  81 DLs
    Gordon Belot & John Earman (1997). Chaos Out of Order: Quantum Mechanics, the Correspondence Principle and Chaos. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 28 (2):147-182.
  30.  80 DLs
    John Earman (1986). A Primer on Determinism. D. Reidel.
    Determinism is a perennial topic of philosophical discussion. Very little acquaintance with the philosophical literature is needed to reveal the Tower of ...
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  31.  73 DLs
    John Earman (2002). What Time Reversal Invariance is and Why It Matters. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 16 (3):245 – 264.
    David Albert's Time and Chance (2000) provides a fresh and interesting perspective on the problem of the direction of time. Unfortunately, the book opens with a highly non-standard exposition of time reversal invariance that distorts the subsequent discussion. The present article not only has the remedial goal of setting the record straight about the meaning of time reversal invariance, but it also aims to show how the niceties of this symmetry concept matter to the problem of the direction of time (...)
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  32.  73 DLs
    John Earman & Miklós Rédei (1996). Why Ergodic Theory Does Not Explain the Success of Equilibrium Statistical Mechanics. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (1):63-78.
    We argue that, contrary to some analyses in the philosophy of science literature, ergodic theory falls short in explaining the success of classical equilibrium statistical mechanics. Our claim is based on the observations that dynamical systems for which statistical mechanics works are most likely not ergodic, and that ergodicity is both too strong and too weak a condition for the required explanation: one needs only ergodic-like behaviour for the finite set of observables that matter, but the behaviour must ensure that (...)
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  33.  72 DLs
    John Earman (2009). Essential Self-Adjointness: Implications for Determinism and the Classical–Quantum Correspondence. Synthese 169 (1):27 - 50.
    It is argued that seemingly “merely technical” issues about the existence and uniqueness of self-adjoint extensions of symmetric operators in quantum mechanics have interesting implications for foundations problems in classical and quantum physics. For example, pursuing these technical issues reveals a sense in which quantum mechanics can cure some of the forms of indeterminism that crop up in classical mechanics; and at the same time it reveals the possibility of a form of indeterminism in quantum mechanics that is quite distinct (...)
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  34.  72 DLs
    John Earman (2008). Superselection Rules for Philosophers. Erkenntnis 69 (3):377 - 414.
    The overaraching goal of this paper is to elucidate the nature of superselection rules in a manner that is accessible to philosophers of science and that brings out the connections between superselection and some of the most fundamental interpretational issues in quantum physics. The formalism of von Neumann algebras is used to characterize three different senses of superselection rules (dubbed, weak, strong, and very strong) and to provide useful necessary and sufficient conditions for each sense. It is then shown how (...)
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  35.  70 DLs
    John Earman (1975). What is Physicalism? Journal of Philosophy 72 (October):565-567.
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  36.  68 DLs
    John Earman (1967). Irreversibility and Temporal Asymmetry. Journal of Philosophy 64 (18):543-549.
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  37.  68 DLs
    Jeremy Butterfield & John Earman (eds.) (2007). Philosophy of Physics. Elsevier.
    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 (...)
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  38.  66 DLs
    John Earman (1971). Laplacian Determinism, or is This Any Way to Run a Universe? Journal of Philosophy 68 (21):729-744.
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  39.  66 DLs
    John Earman (1987). The Sap Also Rises: A Critical Examination of the Anthropic Principle. American Philosophical Quarterly 24 (4):307 - 317.
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  40.  64 DLs
    John Earman & Laura Ruetsche (2005). Relativistic Invariance and Modal Interpretations. Philosophy of Science 72 (4):557-583.
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  41.  64 DLs
    Gordon Belot & John Earman (2001). Pre-Socratic Quantum Gravity. In Craig Callender & Nick Huggett (eds.), Physics Meets Philosophy at the Planck Scale. Cambridge University Press 213--55.
    Physicists who work on canonical quantum gravity will sometimes remark that the general covariance of general relativity is responsible for many of the thorniest technical and conceptual problems in their field.1 In particular, it is sometimes alleged that one can trace to this single source a variety of deep puzzles about the nature of time in quantum gravity, deep disagreements surrounding the notion of ‘observable’ in classical and quantum gravity, and deep questions about the nature of the existence of spacetime (...)
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  42.  59 DLs
    John Earman (2011). The Unruh Effect for Philosophers. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 42 (2):81-97.
  43.  55 DLs
    John Earman & Miklos Redei, Center for Philosophy of Science.
    the success of classical equilibrium statistical mechanics. Our claim is based on the observations that dynamical systems for which statistical mechanics works are most likely not ergodic, and that ergodicity is both too strong and too weak a condition for the required explanation: one needs only ergodic-like behavior for the finite set of observables that matter, but the behavior must ensure that the approach to equilibrium for these obsersvables is on the appropriate..
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  44.  55 DLs
    John Earman (1972). Notes on the Causal Theory of Time. Synthese 24 (1-2):74 - 86.
    I have argued that the most recent versions of the causal theory are subject to serious limitations. The causal analysis of spatiotemporal coincidence considered in Section IV does not apply to space-times in which (1) fails. And current versions of the theory collapse altogether for typical cases of relativistic space-times which are closed in their temporal aspects. Second, I have pointed out that the program of recent causal theorists is based on a false dichotomy — open vs. closed times; for (...)
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  45.  49 DLs
    John Earman, Christopher Smeenk & Christian Wuthrich, Take a Ride on a Time Machine.
    We discuss the possibility to build and operate a time machine, a device that produces closed timelike curves (CTCs). We specify the spacetime structure needed to implement a time machine and assess attempted no-go results against time machines in classical general relativity, semi-classical quantum gravity, quantum field theory on curved spacetime, and in Euclidean quantum gravity. Such no-go theorems for time machines would show that, under physically reasonable conditions, CTCs cannot develop in spacetimes initially free of these pathologies. Our review (...)
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  46.  48 DLs
    John Earman (2015). Some Puzzles and Unresolved Issues About Quantum Entanglement. Erkenntnis 80 (2):303-337.
    Schrödinger averred that entanglement is the characteristic trait of quantum mechanics. The first part of this paper is simultaneously an exploration of Schrödinger’s claim and an investigation into the distinction between mere entanglement and genuine quantum entanglement. The typical discussion of these matters in the philosophical literature neglects the structure of the algebra of observables, implicitly assuming a tensor product structure of the simple Type I factor algebras used in ordinary Quantum Mechanics . This limitation is overcome by adopting the (...)
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  47.  48 DLs
    Aristidis Arageorgis, John Earman & and Laura Ruetsche (2003). Fulling Non‐Uniqueness and the Unruh Effect. Philosophy of Science 70 (1):164-202.
    We discuss the intertwined topics of Fulling non-uniqueness and the Unruh effect. The Fulling quantization, which is in some sense the natural one for an observer uniformly accelerated through Minkowski spacetime to adopt, is often heralded as a quantization of the Klein-Gordon field which is both physically relevant and unitarily inequivalent to the standard Minkowski quantization. We argue that the Fulling and Minkowski quantizations do not constitute a satisfactory example of physically relevant, unitarily inequivalent quantizations, and indicate what it would (...)
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  48.  48 DLs
    John Earman, Time Machines. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  49.  47 DLs
    John Earman & John D. Norton (1998). Exorcist XIV: The Wrath of Maxwell's Demon. Part I. From Maxwell to Szilard. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 29 (4):435-471.
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  50.  46 DLs
    John Earman & Clark Glymour (1980). The Gravitational Red Shift as a Test of General Relativity: History and Analysis. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 11 (3):175-214.
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