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Profile: Jonathan Bain (Polytechnic Institute of New York University)
  1. Jonathan Bain, Papers.
    2010a. 'Relativity and Quantum Field Theories' Relativistic quantum field theories (RQFTs) are invariant under the action of the Poincaré group, the symmetry group of Minkowski spacetime. Non-relativistic quantum field theories (NQFTs) are invariant under the action of the symmetry group of a classical spacetime; i.e., a spacetime that minimally admits absolute spatial and temporal metrics. This essay is concerned with cashing out two implications of this basic difference. First, under a Received View, RQFTs do not admit particle interpretations. I argue (...)
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  2. Jonathan Bain, Algebraic Substantivalism and the Hole Argument.
    Algebraic substantivalism, as an interpretation of general relativity formulated in the Einstein algebra formalism, avoids the hole argument against manifold substantivalism. In this essay, I argue that this claim is well-founded. I first identify the hole argument as an argument against a specific form of semantic realism with respect to spacetime. I then consider algebraic substantivalism as an alternative form of semantic realism. In between, I justify this alternative form by reviewing the Einstein algebra formalism and indicating the extent to (...)
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  3. Jonathan Bain, Condensed Matter Physics and the Nature of Spacetime.
    This essay considers the prospects of modeling spacetime as a phenomenon that emerges in the low-energy limit of a quantum liquid. It evaluates three examples of spacetime analogues in condensed matter systems that have appeared in the recent physics literature, indicating the extent to which they are viable, and considers what they suggest about the nature of spacetime.
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  4. Jonathan Bain, Condensed Matter Physics.
    In this essay, I consider what condensed matter physics has to say about the nature of spacetime. In particular, I consider the extent to which spacetime can be modeled as a quantum liquid, with matter and force fields described by effective field theories of the low-energy excitations of the liquid. After a brief review of effective field theories in 2-dim highly-correlated condensed matter systems, I evaluate analogies in the recent physics literature between spacetime and superfluid Helium, and proposals that suggest (...)
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  5. Jonathan Bain, Interpreting Effective Field Theories.
    An effective field theory <span class='Hi'></span>(EFT)<span class='Hi'></span> is a theory of the dynamics of a physical system at energies small compared to a given cut-off.<span class='Hi'></span> Low-energy states with respect to this cut-off are effectively independent of states at high energies;<span class='Hi'></span> hence one may study the low-energy dynamics without the need for a detailed description of the high-energy dynamics.<span class='Hi'></span> Many authors have suggested that,<span class='Hi'></span> because of the essential role the cut-off plays in the standard <span class='Hi'></span>(Wilsonian)<span class='Hi'></span> (...)
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  6. Jonathan Bain, Motivating Structural Realist Interpretations of Spacetime.
    Motivated by examples from general relativity and Newtonian gravitation, this essay attempts to distinguish between the dynamical structure associated with a theory in physics, and its kinematical structure. This enables a distinction to be made between a structural realist interpretation of a theory based on its dynamical structure, and a structural realist interpretation of spacetime, as described by a theory, based on its kinematical structure. I offer category-theoretic formulations of dynamical and kinematical structure and indicate the extent to which such (...)
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  7. Jonathan Bain, Spacetime Structuralism.
    In this essay, I consider the ontological status of spacetime from the points of view of the standard tensor formalism and three alternatives: twistor theory, Einstein algebras, and geometric algebra. I briefly review how classical field theories can be formulated in each of these formalisms, and indicate how this suggests a structural realist interpretation of spacetime.
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  8. Jonathan Bain, Towards Structural Realism.
    In the debate over scientific realism, attention has been given recently to a realist position referred to as structural realism. In this essay, I offer a version of this position and indicate how it addresses two standard forms of underdetermination argument posed by the anti-realist.
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  9. Jonathan Bain (2014). Three Principles of Quantum Gravity in the Condensed Matter Approach. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 46:154-163.
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  10. Jonathan Bain (2013). CPT Invariance, the Spin-Statistics Connection, and the Ontology of Relativistic Quantum Field Theories. Erkenntnis 78 (4):797-821.
    CPT invariance and the spin-statistics connection are typically taken to be essential properties in relativistic quantum field theories (RQFTs), insofar as the CPT and Spin-Statistics theorems entail that any state of a physical system characterized by an RQFT must possess these properties. Moreover, in the physics literature, they are typically taken to be properties of particles. But there is a Received View among philosophers that RQFTs cannot fundamentally be about particles. This essay considers what proofs of the CPT and Spin-Statistics (...)
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  11. Jonathan Bain (2013). Category-Theoretic Structure and Radical Ontic Structural Realism. Synthese 190 (9):1621-1635.
    Radical Ontic Structural Realism (ROSR) claims that structure exists independently of objects that may instantiate it. Critics of ROSR contend that this claim is conceptually incoherent, insofar as, (i) it entails there can be relations without relata, and (ii) there is a conceptual dependence between relations and relata. In this essay I suggest that (ii) is motivated by a set-theoretic formulation of structure, and that adopting a category-theoretic formulation may provide ROSR with more support. In particular, I consider how a (...)
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  12. Jonathan Bain (2013). Effective Field Theories. In Robert Batterman (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Physics. Oup Usa. 224.
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  13. Jonathan Bain (2013). Emergence in Effective Field Theories. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 3 (3):257-273.
    This essay considers the extent to which a concept of emergence can be associated with Effective Field Theories (EFTs). I suggest that such a concept can be characterized by microphysicalism and novelty underwritten by the elimination of degrees of freedom from a high-energy theory, and argue that this makes emergence in EFTs distinct from other concepts of emergence in physics that have appeared in the recent philosophical literature.
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  14. Jonathan Bain (2013). The Emergence of Spacetime in Condensed Matter Approaches to Quantum Gravity. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (3):338-345.
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  15. Jonathan Bain (2011). Quantum Field Theories in Classical Spacetimes and Particles. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 42 (2):98-106.
    According to a Received View, relativistic quantum field theories (RQFTs) do not admit particle interpretations. This view requires that particles be localizable and countable, and that these characteristics be given mathematical expression in the forms of local and unique total number operators. Various results (the Reeh-Schlieder theorem, the Unruh Effect, Haag's theorem) then indicate that formulations of RQFTs do not support such operators. These results, however, do not hold for nonrelativistic QFTs. I argue that this is due to the absolute (...)
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  16. Jonathan Bain (2010). Relativity and Quantum Field Theory. In V. Petkov (ed.), Space, Time and Spacetime.
    Relativistic quantum field theories (RQFTs) are invariant under the action of the Poincaré group, the symmetry group of Minkowski spacetime. Non-relativistic quantum field theories (NQFTs) are invariant under the action of the symmetry group of a classical spacetime; i.e., a spacetime that minimally admits absolute spatial and temporal metrics. This essay is concerned with cashing out two implications of this basic difference. First, under a Received View, RQFTs do not admit particle interpretations. I will argue that the concept of particle (...)
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  17. Jonathan Bain (2009). A Package of Positions in The Philosophy of Physics. Metascience 18 (3):485-489.
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  18. Jonathan Bain (2008). Richard Healey:Gauging What's Real: The Conceptual Foundations of Contemporary Gauge Theories,:Gauging What's Real: The Conceptual Foundations of Contemporary Gauge Theories. Philosophy of Science 75 (4):479-485.
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  19. Jordi Cat, Jonathan Bain & John Gascoigne (2006). Book Reviews. [REVIEW] International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 20 (3):347 – 357.
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  20. James W. McAllister, Leonard Angel, Jonathan Bain, Craig Callender, Tian Yu Cao, Lisa Dolling, Gerald D. Doppelt, Antony Eagle, Henry Folse & Mélanie Frappier (2006). Editor's Report, 2005. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 20 (2).
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  21. Jonathan Bain (2005). Quantum Processes: A Whiteheadian Interpretation of Quantum Field Theory. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 36 (4):680-690.
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  22. Jonathan Bain (2004). Theories of Newtonian Gravity and Empirical Indistinguishability. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 35 (3):345--76.
    In this essay, I examine the curved spacetime formulation of Newtonian gravity known as Newton–Cartan gravity and compare it with flat spacetime formulations. Two versions of Newton–Cartan gravity can be identified in the physics literature—a ‘‘weak’’ version and a ‘‘strong’’ version. The strong version has a constrained Hamiltonian formulation and consequently a well-defined gauge structure, whereas the weak version does not (with some qualifications). Moreover, the strong version is best compared with the structure of what Earman (World enough and spacetime. (...)
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  23. Jonathan Bain, Timothy Bays, Katherine A. Brading, Stephen G. Brush, Murray Clarke, Sharyn Clough, Jonathan Cohen, Giancarlo Ghirardi, Brendan S. Gillon & Robert G. Hudson (2004). First Page Preview. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 18 (2-3).
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  24. Jonathan Bain (2003). Einstein Algebras and the Hole Argument. Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1073-1085.
    Einstein algebras have been suggested (Earman 1989) and rejected (Rynasiewicz 1992) as a way to avoid the hole argument against spacetime substantivalism. In this article, I debate their merits and faults. In particular, I suggest that a gauge‐invariant interpretation of Einstein algebras that avoids the hole argument can be associated with one approach to quantizing gravity, and, for this reason, is at least as well motivated as sophisticated substantivalist and relationalist interpretations of the standard tensor formalism.
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  25. Jonathan Bain & John Norton (2001). What Should Philosophers of Science Learn From the History of the Electron? In A. Warwick (ed.), Histories of the Electron: The Birth of Microphysics. 451--465.
    We have now celebrated the centenary of J. J. Thomson’s famous paper (1897) on the electron and have examined one hundred years of the history of our first fundamental particle. What should philosophers of science learn from this history? To some, the fundamental moral is already suggested by the rapid pace of this history. Thomson’s concern in 1897 was to demonstrate that cathode rays are electrified particles and not aetherial vibrations, the latter being the “almost unanimous opinion of German physicists” (...)
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  26. Jonathan Bain (2000). Against Particle/Field Duality: Asymptotic Particle States and Interpolating Fields in Interacting Qft (Or: Who's Afraid of Haag's Theorem?). [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 53 (3):375-406.
    This essay touches on a number of topics in philosophy of quantum field theory from the point of view of the LSZ asymptotic approach to scattering theory. First, particle/field duality is seen to be a property of free field theory and not of interacting QFT. Second, it is demonstrated how LSZ side-steps the implications of Haag's theorem. Finally, a recent argument due to Redhead (1995), Malament (1996) and Arageorgis (1995) against the concept of localized particle states is addressed. Briefly, the (...)
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  27. Jonathan Bain (2000). The Coordinate-Independent 2-Component Spinor Formalism and the Conventionality of Simultaneity. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 31 (2):201-226.
    In recent articles, Zangari (1994) and Karakostas (1997) observe that while an &unknown;-extended version of the proper orthochronous Lorentz group O + (1,3) exists for values of &unknown; not equal to zero, no similar &unknown;-extended version of its double covering group SL(2, C) exists (where &unknown;=1-2&unknown; R , with &unknown; R the non-standard simultaneity parameter of Reichenbach). Thus, they maintain, since SL(2, C) is essential in describing the rotational behaviour of half-integer spin fields, and since there is empirical evidence for (...)
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  28. Jonathan Bain (1998). Weinberg on QFT: Demonstrative Induction and Underdetermination. Synthese 117 (1):1-30.
    In this essay I examine a recent argument by Steven Weinberg that seeks to establish local quantum field theory as the only type of quantum theory in accord with the relevent evidence and satisfying two basic physical principles. I reconstruct the argument as a demonstrative induction and indicate it's role as a foil to the underdetermination argument in the debate over scientific realism.
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  29. Jonathan Bain (1998). Whitehead's Theory of Gravity. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 29 (4):547-574.
    In 1922 in The Principle of Relativity, Whitehead presented an alternative theory of gravitation in response to Einstein’s general relativity. To the latter, he objected on philosophical grounds—specifically, that Einstein’s notion of a variable spacetime geometry contingent on the presence of matter (a) confounds theories of measurement, and, more generally, (b) is unacceptable within the bounds of a reasonable epistemology. Whitehead offered instead a theory based within a comprehensive philosophy of nature. The formulal Whitehead adopted for the gravitational field has (...)
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