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John Earman [139]John S. Earman [1]
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Profile: John Earman (University of Pittsburgh)
Profile: John Earman (University of Pittsburgh)
  1.  29
    John Earman (1992). Bayes or Bust? A Critical Examination of Bayesian Confirmation Theory. MIT Press.
    There is currently no viable alternative to the Bayesian analysis of scientific inference, yet the available versions of Bayesianism fail to do justice to several aspects of the testing and confirmation of scientific hypotheses. Bayes or Bust? provides the first balanced treatment of the complex set of issues involved in this nagging conundrum in the philosophy of science. Both Bayesians and anti-Bayesians will find a wealth of new insights on topics ranging from Bayes’s original paper to contemporary formal learning theory.In (...)
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  2. John Earman (1992). Bayes or Bust? Bradford.
    There is currently no viable alternative to the Bayesian analysis of scientific inference, yet the available versions of Bayesianism fail to do justice to several aspects of the testing and confirmation of scientific hypotheses. Bayes or Bust? provides the first balanced treatment of the complex set of issues involved in this nagging conundrum in the philosophy of science. Both Bayesians and anti-Bayesians will find a wealth of new insights on topics ranging from Bayes's original paper to contemporary formal learning theory. (...)
     
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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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. 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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  7.  89
    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: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 28 (2):147-182.
    A vast amount of ink has been spilled in both the physics and the philosophy literature on the measurement problem in quantum mechanics. Important as it is, this problem is but one aspect of the more general issue of how, if at all, classical properties can emerge from the quantum descriptions of physical systems. In this paper we will study another aspect of the more general issue-the emergence of classical chaos-which has been receiving increasing attention from physicists but which has (...)
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  8.  30
    John Earman (1995). Bangs, Crunches, Whimpers, and Shrieks: Singularities and Acausalities in Relativistic Spacetimes. Oxford University Press.
    Indeed, this is the first serious book-length study of the subject by a philosopher of science.
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  9.  93
    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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  10. John Earman (1993). Underdetermination, Realism, and Reason. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 18 (1):19-38.
  11. 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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  12.  31
    John Earman & Giovanni Valente (2014). Relativistic Causality in Algebraic Quantum Field Theory. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 28 (1):1-48.
    This paper surveys the issue of relativistic causality within the framework of algebraic quantum field theory . In doing so, we distinguish various notions of causality formulated in the literature and study their relationships, and thereby we offer what we hope to be a useful taxonomy. We propose that the most direct expression of relativistic causality in AQFT is captured not by the spectrum condition but rather by the axiom of local primitive causality, in that it entails a form of (...)
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  13.  95
    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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  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18.  48
    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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  19.  22
    John Earman (2014). 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 48:102-108.
    A criterion is proposed to ensure that classical relativistic fields do not propagate superluminally. If this criterion does indeed serve as a sufficient condition for no superluminal propagation it follows that various other criteria found in the physics literature cannot serve as necessary conditions since they can fail although the proffered condition holds. The rejected criteria rely on energy conditions that are believed to hold for most classical fields used in actual applications. But these energy conditions are known to fail (...)
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  20. 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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  21. 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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  22.  85
    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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  23. 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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  24.  48
    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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  25.  20
    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.
  26.  86
    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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  27. 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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  28. 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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  29. John Earman (1989). World Enough and Spacetime. MIT Press.
  30. 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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  31. 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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  32.  40
    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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  33. 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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  34.  13
    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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  35. 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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  36.  84
    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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  37.  61
    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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  38. 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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  39.  72
    John Earman (2011). The Unruh Effect for Philosophers. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 42 (2):81-97.
  40. John Earman (1976). Causation: A Matter of Life and Death. Journal of Philosophy 73 (1):5-25.
  41. 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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  42.  2
    John Earman & Doreen Fraser (2006). Haag’s Theorem and its Implications for the Foundations of Quantum Field Theory. Erkenntnis 64 (3):305-344.
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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.
    We discuss the relationship between the interpretative problems of quantum gravity and those of general relativity. We argue that classical and quantum theories of gravity resuscitate venerable philosophical questions about the nature of space, time, and change; and that the resolution of some of the difficulties facing physicists working on quantum theories of gravity would appear to require philosophical as well as scientific creativity.
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  44. John Earman (1967). Irreversibility and Temporal Asymmetry. Journal of Philosophy 64 (18):543-549.
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  45. John Earman (1986). Errata: Concepts of Projectibility and the Problems of Induction. Noûs 20 (3).
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  46. 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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  47. John Earman (1970). Who's Afraid of Absolute Space? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 48 (3):287 – 319.
  48. John Earman (1977). How to Talk About the Topology of Time. Noûs 11 (3):211-226.
  49.  21
    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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  50. 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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