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Profile: John Earman (University of Pittsburgh)
Profile: John Earman (University of Pittsburgh)
  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. John Earman (forthcoming). No Superluminal Propagation for Classical Relativistic and Relativistic Quantum Fields. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics.
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  4. John Earman (forthcoming). Some Puzzles and Unresolved Issues About Quantum Entanglement. Erkenntnis:1-35.
    Schrödinger (Proc Camb Philos Soc 31:555–563, 1935) 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 (QM). This (...)
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  5. John Earman & Giovanni Valente (2014). Relativistic Causality in Algebraic Quantum Field Theory. 28 (1):1-48.
    (2014). Relativistic Causality in Algebraic Quantum Field Theory. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science: Vol. 28, No. 1, pp. 1-48. doi: 10.1080/02698595.2014.915652.
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  6. Laura Ruetsche & John Earman (2012). Infinitely Challenging: Pitowsky's Subjective Interpretation and the Physics of Infinite Systems. In. In Yemima Ben-Menahem & Meir Hemmo (eds.), Probability in Physics. Springer. 219--232.
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  7. John Earman (2011). Sharpening the Electromagnetic Arrow(s) of Time. In Craig Callender (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Time. Oup Oxford.
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  8. John Earman (2011). The Unruh Effect for Philosophers. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 42 (2):81-97.
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  9. Laura Ruetsche & John Earman (2011). Interpreting Probabilities in Quantum Field Theoryand Quantum Statistical Mechanics. In Claus Beisbart & Stephan Hartmann (eds.), Probabilities in Physics. Oxford University Press. 263.
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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. John Earman, Time Machines. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  17. Jeremy Butterfield & John Earman (2007). Handbook of Philosophy of Science. In Jeremy Butterfield & John Earman (eds.), Philosophy of Physics. Elsevier.
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  18. 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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  19. 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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  20. John Earman & Jeremy Butterfield (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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  21. John Earman (2006). The Implications of General Covariance for the Ontology and Ideology of Spacetime. In Dennis Dieks (ed.), The Ontology of Spacetime. Elsevier. 3--24.
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  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. 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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  26. John Earman & Laura Ruetsche (2005). Relativistic Invariance and Modal Interpretations. Philosophy of Science 72 (4):557-583.
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  27. Michael Strevens, John Earman, Laura Ruetsche, Max Albert, Jonah N. Schupbach & Sean Allen‐Hermanson (2005). 10. Kent Staley: The Evidence for the Top Quark: Objectivity and Bias in Collaborative Experimentation, Kent Staley: The Evidence for the Top Quark: Objectivity and Bias in Collaborative Experimentation,(Pp. 659-661). [REVIEW] Philosophy of Science 72 (4).
     
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  28. 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. 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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  30. 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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  31. 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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  32. Aristidis Arageorgis, John Earman & Laura Ruetsche (2003). Fulling Non‐Uniqueness and the Unruh Effect: A Primer on Some Aspects of Quantum Field Theory. 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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  33. 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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  34. John Earman (2003). Tracking Down Gauge: An Ode to the Constrained Hamiltonian Formalism. In Katherine Brading & Elena Castellani (eds.), Symmetries in Physics: Philosophical Reflections. Cambridge University Press. 140--62.
  35. John Earman (2002). Bayes, Hume, Price, and Miracles. In Richard Swinburne (ed.), Bayes’s Theorem. Oxford University Press. 91--110.
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  36. 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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  37. 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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  38. 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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  39. John Earman, Clark Glymour & Sandra Mitchell (2002). Editorial. Erkenntnis 57 (3).
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  40. 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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  41. 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. 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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  43. Gordon Belot & John Earman (1999). From Metaphysics to Physics. In Jeremy Butterfield & Constantine Pagonis (eds.), From Physics to Philosophy. Cambridge University Press. 166--86.
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  44. Gordon Belot, John Earman & Laura Ruetsche (1999). The Hawking Information Loss Paradox: The Anatomy of a Controversy. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 50 (2):189 - 229.
    Stephen Hawking has argued that universes containing evaporating black holes can evolve from pure initial states to mixed final ones. Such evolution is non-unitary and so contravenes fundamental quantum principles on which Hawking's analysis was based. It disables the retrodiction of the universe's initial state from its final one, and portends the time-asymmetry of quantum gravity. Small wonder that Hawking's paradox has met with considerable resistance. Here we use a simple result for C*-algebras to offer an argument for pure-to-mixed state (...)
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  45. 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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  46. 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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  47. John Earman (1998). Not All Is Chaos. Metascience 7 (1):183-188.
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  48. John Earman & John D. Norton (1998). Comments on Laraudogoitia's 'Classical Particle Dynamics, Indeterminism and a Supertask'. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49 (1):123-133.
    We discuss two supertasks invented recently by Laraudogoitia [1996, 1997]. Both involve an infinite number of particle collisions within a finite amount of time and both compromise determinism. We point out that the sources of the indeterminism are rather different in the two cases—one involves unbounded particle velocities, the other involves particles with no lower bound to their sizes—and consequently that the implications for determinism are rather different—one form of indeterminism affects Newtonian but not relativistic physics, while the other form (...)
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