: Some feminist epistemologists make the radical claim that there are varieties of epistemically valid warrant that agents access only through having lived particular types of contingent history, varieties of epistemic warrant to which, moreover, the confirmation-theoretic accounts of warrant favored by some traditional epistemologists are inapplicable. I offer Aristotelian virtue as a model for warrant of this sort, and use loosely Aristotelian vocabulary to express, and begin to evaluate, a range of feminist epistemological positions.
If a classical system has infinitely many degrees of freedom, its Hamiltonian quantization need not be unique up to unitary equivalence. I sketch different approaches (Hilbert space and algebraic) to understanding the content of quantum theories in light of this non‐uniqueness, and suggest that neither approach suffices to support explanatory aspirations encountered in the thermodynamic limit of quantum statistical mechanics.
It has been suggested that the Modal Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics (QM) is "incomplete" if it lacks a dynamics for possessed values. I argue that this is only one of two possible attitudes one might adopt toward a Modal Interpretation without dynamics. According to the other attitude, such an interpretation is a complete interpretation of QM as standardly formulated, an interpretation whose innovation is to attempt to make sense of the quantum realm without the expedient of novel physics. Then I (...) explain why this attitude, though available, is unattractive. Without dynamics, the Modal Interpretation vanquishes the measurement problem only, it seems, to succumb to the problem of state preparation. On this view, the Modal Interpretation needs dynamics not to be an interpretation at all, but to be an adequate one. I review reasons to suspect that the dynamics which would best suit the Modal Interpretation--a dynamics equivalent to a set of two time transition probabilities of the sort used to solve the preparation problem--is not a dynamics the interpretation can have. I close with a brief discussion of versions of the Modal Interpretation that may not succumb to the considerations presented here. (shrink)
The simplest case of quantum field theory on curved spacetime-that of the Klein-Gordon field on a globally hyperbolic spacetime-reveals a dilemma: In generic circumstances, either there is no dynamics for this quantum field, or else there is a dynamics that is not unitarily implementable. We do not try to resolve the dilemma here, but endeavour to spell out the consequences of seizing one or the other horn of the dilemma.
The availability of unitarily inequivalent representations of the canonical commutation relations constituting a quantization of a classical field theory raises questions about how to formulate and pursue quantum field theory. In a minimally technical way, I explain how these questions arise and how advocates of the Hilbert space and of the algebraic approaches to quantum theory might answer them. Where these answers differ, I sketch considerations for and against each approach, as well as considerations which might temper their apparent rivalry.
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 (...) evolution in black hole evaporation, and review responses to the Hawking paradox with respect to how effectively they rebut this argument. (shrink)
In a pair of articles (1996, 1997) and in his recent book (1998), Miklos Redei has taken enormous strides toward characterizing the conditions under which relativistic quantum field theory is a safe setting for the deployment of causal talk. Here, we challenge the adequacy of the accounts of causal dependence and screening off on which rests the relevance of Redei's theorems to the question of causal good behavior in the theory.
Van Fraassen's 1991 modal interpretation of Quantum Mechanics offers accounts of measurement and state preparation. I argue that both accounts overlook a class of interactions I call General Unitary Measurements, or GUMs. Ironically, GUMs are significant for van Fraassen's account of measurement because they challenge it, and significant for his account of preparation because they simplify it. Van Fraassen's oversight prompts a question about modal interpretations: developed to account for ideal measurement outcomes, can they consistently account as well for the (...) whole horizon of laboratory practices by which we investigate QM? (shrink)