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Profile: Paul Sheldon Davies (College of William and Mary)
  1. Derek Abbott & Paul C. W. Davies, Order From Disorder: The Role of Noise in Creative Processes. A Special Issue On Game Theory And.
    The importance of applying game theory to the evolution of information in the presence of noise has recently become widely recognized. This Special Issue addresses the theme of spontaneously emergent order in both classical and quantum systems subject to external noise, and includes papers directly related to game theory or the development of supporting techniques. In the following editorial overview we examine the broader context of the subject, including the tension between the destructive and creative aspects of noise, and foreshadow (...)
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  2. Paul Davies, A Quantum Recipe for Life.
    One of the most influential physics books of the twentieth century was actually about biology. In a series of lectures, Erwin Schrödinger described how he believed that quantum mechanics, or some variant of it, would soon solve the riddle of life. These lectures were published in 1944 under the title What is life? and are credited by some as ushering in the age of molecular biology. In the nineteenth century, many scientists thought they knew the answer to Schrödinger’s rhetorical question. (...)
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  3. Paul Davies, New Hope for Life Beyond Earth.
    In the early 1970’s, the research submarine, Alvin explored a system of volcanic vents on the floor of the Pacific Ocean and biologists were surprised to see a variety of organisms living near the vents in total darkness and at enormous pressures thereby hinting that life on Earth is not restricted to the near surface only. The discovery that microbes dwell deep in apparently solid rock gives credence to the theory that life can be transported between planets inside material blasted (...)
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  4. Paul Davies, The Implications of a Cosmological Information Bound for Complexity, Quantum Information and the Nature of Physical Law.
    The finite age of the universe and the existence of cosmological horizons provides a strong argument that the observable universe represents a finite causal region with finite material and informational resources. A similar conclusion follows from the holographic principle. In this paper I address the question of whether the cosmological information bound has implications for fundamental physics. Orthodox physics is based on Platonism: the laws are treated as infinitely precise, perfect, immutable mathematical relationships that transcend the physical universe and remain (...)
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  5. Paul Davies, + Templeton Prize Address.
    It is both an honour and a pleasure for me to deliver my acceptance address for the 1995 Templeton Prize to such a distinguished audience in this world-famous Abbey, just a few metres from the remains of Isaac Newton. Along with Einstein and Darwin, Newton is one of the few scientists known to almost every member of the population. He is one of the great heroes of my own discipline, physics, even if his career as a civil servant (...)
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  6. Paul C. W. Davies, Was Mars the Cradle of Life?
    The problem of life’s origin remains one of the great outstanding challenges to science. Ever since Charles Darwin mused about a “warm little pond” incubating life beneath sunny primeval skies, scientists have speculated about the exact location of this transforming event. Nearly a century and a half later, we remain almost completely ignorant of the physical processes that led from a nonliving chemical mixture to the first autonomous organism. However, some progress at least has been made on tracking down where (...)
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  7. Paul C. W. Davies, Carol E. Cleland & Christopher P. McKay, Signatures of a Shadow Biosphere.
    Astrobiologists are aware that extraterrestrial life might differ from known life, and considerable thought has been given to possible signatures associated with weird forms of life on other planets. So far, however, very little attention has been paid to the possibility that our own planet might also host communities of weird life. If life arises readily in Earth-like conditions, as many astrobiologists contend, then it may well have formed many times on Earth itself, which raises the question whether one or (...)
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  8. Paul Davies, Detection of Negative Energy: 4-Dimensional Examples.
    We study the response of switched particle detectors to static negative energy densities and negative energy fluxes. It is demonstrated how the switching leads to excitation even in the vacuum and how negative energy can lead to a suppression of this excitation. We obtain quantum inequalities on the detection similar to those obtained for the energy density by Ford and co-workers and in an ‘‘operational’’ context by Helfer. We reexamine the question ‘‘Is there a quantum equivalence principle?’’ in terms of (...)
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  9. Paul Davies, Detecting the Rotating Quantum Vacuum.
    We derive conditions for rotating particle detectors to respond in a variety of bounded spacetimes and compare the results with the folklore that particle detectors do not respond in the vacuum state appropriate to their motion. Applications involving possible violations of the second law of thermodynamics are briefly addressed.
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  10. Paul Davies, Emergent Biological Principles and the Computational Properties of the Universe.
    T he term emergence is used to describe the appearance of new properties that arise when a system exceeds a certain level of size or complexity, properties that are absent from the constituents of the system. It is a concept often summed up by the phrase that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” and it is a key notion in the burgeoning field of complexity science. Life is often cited as a classic example of an emergent (...)
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  11. Paul Davies, How Bio-Friendly is the Universe ?
    : The oft-repeated claim that life is ‘ written into ’ the laws of nature is examined and criticised. Arguments are given in favour of life spreading between near-neighbour planets in rocky impact ejecta (transpermia), but against panspermia, leading to the conclusion that if life is indeed found to be widespread in the universe, some form of life principle or biological determinism must be at work in the process of biogenesis. Criteria for what would constitute a credible life principle are (...)
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  12. Paul Davies, Order From Disorder: The Role of Noise in Creative Processes. A Special Issue on Game Theory and Evolutionary Processes – Overview.
    The importance of applying game theory to the evolution of information in the presence of noise has recently become widely recognized. This Special Issue addresses the theme of spontaneously emergent order in both classical and quantum systems subject to external noise, and includes papers directly related to game theory or the development of supporting techniques. In the following editorial overview we examine the broader context of the subject, including the tension between the destructive and creative aspects of noise, and foreshadow (...)
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  13. Paul Davies, Quantum Mechanics and the Equivalence Principle.
    A quantum particle moving in a gravitational field may penetrate the classically forbidden region of the gravitational potential. This raises the question of whether the time of flight of a quantum particle in a gravitational field might deviate systematically from that of a classical particle due to tunnelling delay, representing a violation of the weak equivalence principle. I investigate this using a model quantum clock to measure the time of flight of a quantum particle in a uniform gravitational field, and (...)
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  14. Paul Davies, Quantum Tunneling Time.
    A simple model of a quantum clock is applied to the old and controversial problem of how long a particle takes to tunnel through a quantum barrier. The model has the advantage of yielding sensible results for energy eigenstates and does not require the use of time-dependent wave packets. Although the treatment does not forbid superluminal tunneling velocities, there is no implication of faster-than-light signaling because only the transit duration is measurable, not the absolute time of transit. A comparison is (...)
     
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  15. Paul Davies, Quantum Vacuum Friction.
    The quantum vacuum may in certain circumstances be regarded as a type of fluid medium, or aether, exhibiting energy density, pressure, stress and friction. Vacuum friction may be thought of as being responsible for the spontaneous creation of particles from the vacuum state when the system is non-stationary. Examples include the expanding universe, rotating black holes, moving mirrors, atoms passing close to surfaces, and the activities of sub-cellular biosystems. The concept of vacuum friction will be reviewed and illustrated, and some (...)
     
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  16. Paul Davies, Quantum Vacuum Noise in Physics and Cosmology.
    The concept of the vacuum in quantum field theory is a subtle one. Vacuum states have a rich and complex set of properties that produce distinctive, though usually exceedingly small, physical effects. Quantum vacuum noise is familiar in optical and electronic devices, but in this paper I wish to consider extending the discussion to systems in which gravitation, or large accelerations, are important. This leads to the prediction of vacuum friction: The quantum vacuum can act in a manner reminiscent of (...)
     
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  17. Paul Davies, Tachyonic Dark Matter.
    Recent attempts to explain the dark matter and energy content of the universe have involved some radical extensions of standard physics, including quintessence, phantom energy, additional space dimensions, and variations in the speed of light. In this paper I consider the possibility that some dark matter might be in the form of tachyons. I show that, subject to some reasonable assumptions, a tachyonic cosmological fluid would produce distinctive effects, such as a surge in quantum vacuum energy and particle creation, and (...)
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  18. Paul Davies, The Origin of Life II: How Did It Begin?
    The problem of how a mixture of chemicals can spontaneously transform themselves into even a simple living organism remains one of the great outstanding challenges to science. Various primordial soup theories have been proposed in which chemical self- organization brings about the required level of complexity. Major conceptual obstacles remain, however, such as the emergence of the genetic code, and the “chicken-and-egg” problem concerning which came first: nucleic acids or proteins. Currently fashionable is the so-called RNA world theory, which casts (...)
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  19. Paul Davies, The Origin of Life I: When and Where Did It Begin?
    For decades most scientists assumed that life emerged billions of years ago in a “primordial soup” somewhere on the Earth’s surface. Evidence is mounting, however, that life may have begun deep beneath the surface, perhaps near a volcanic ocean vent or even inside the hot crust itself. Since there are hints that life’s history on Earth extends back through the phase of massive cosmic bombardment, it may be that life started on Mars and came here later, perhaps inside rocks ejected (...)
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  20. Felisa Wolfe-Simon & Paul C. W. Davies, Did Nature Also Choose Arsenic ?
    : All known life requires phosphorus (P) in the form of inorganic phosphate (PO43x or Pi) and phosphate-containing organic molecules. Pi serves as the backbone of the nucleic acids that constitute genetic material and as the major repository of chemical energy for metabolism in polyphosphate bonds. Arsenic (As) lies directly below P on the periodic table and so the two elements share many chemical properties, although their chemistries are sufficiently dissimilar that As cannot directly replace P in modern biochemistry. Arsenic (...)
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  21. Pauls Davies (forthcoming). O que é a ciência? Crítica.
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  22. John A. Ford, Craig MacKay, Chris Peach, Paul Davies & Malcolm Loudon (2013). Putting Guidelines Into Practice: A Tailored Multi‐Modal Approach to Improve Post‐Operative Assessments. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 19 (1):106-111.
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  23. Paul Davies (2011). Withholding Evidence: Phenomenology and Secrecy. The New Yearbook for Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy 6 (1):237-258.
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  24. Paul Davies (2010). Be Not Overcome by Evil but Overcome Evil with Good' : The Theology of Evil in Man on Fire. In Nancy Billias (ed.), Promoting and Producing Evil. Rodopi. 63--211.
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  25. Paul Davies (2010). Universe From Bit. In P. C. W. Davies & Niels Henrik Gregersen (eds.), Information and the Nature of Reality: From Physics to Metaphysics. Cambridge University Press.
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  26. Paul Davies & Niels Henrik Gregersen (2010). Does Information Matter? In P. C. W. Davies & Niels Henrik Gregersen (eds.), Information and the Nature of Reality: From Physics to Metaphysics. Cambridge University Press.
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  27. Paul Sheldon Davies (2009). Conceptual Conservatism : The Case of Normative Functions. In Ulrich Krohs & Peter Kroes (eds.), Functions in Biological and Artificial Worlds: Comparative Philosophical Perspectives. Mit Press.
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  28. Paul Sheldon Davies (2009). Some Evolutionary Model or Other: Aspirations and Evidence in Evolutionary Psychology. Philosophical Psychology 22 (1):83 – 97.
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  29. Paul Sheldon Davies (2009). Subjects of the World: Darwin's Rhetoric and the Study of Agency in Nature. The University of Chicago Press.
    Part one: A progressive orientation: naturalism as exploration -- The vividness of truth: Darwin's romantic rhetoric and the evolutionary framework -- Our most vexing problem: conceptual conservatism and conceptual imperialism -- Naturalism as exploration: the elements of reform -- Part two: The allure of agency: "purpose" in biology -- The real heart of Darwinian evolutionary biology -- A formative power of a self-propagating kind: natural purposes and the concept location project -- A persistent mode of understanding: the psychological power of (...)
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  30. Paul Davies (2006). Withholding Evidence. New Yearbook for Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy 6:237-257.
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  31. Paul Cw Davies (2006). The Physics of Downward Causation. In P. Davies & P. Clayton (eds.), The Re-Emergence of Emergence. Oxford University Press.
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  32. Paul Sheldon Davies (2006). The Physics of Downward Causation. In Philip Clayton & Paul Sheldon Davies (eds.), The Re-Emergence of Emergence. Oxford University Press.
  33. Paul Davies (2005). Asymmetry and Transcendence: On Scepticism and First Philosophy. Research in Phenomenology 35 (1):118-140.
    In attempting to re-think the notion of asymmetry and its relations with 'first philosophy' and to see how that notion is tracked by the provocation of scepticism, the paper demonstrates something about the implications of Levinas' ethical asymmetry. The paper considers Levinas' tendency to introduce the topic of scepticism when confronted by the logical and textual difficulties that necessarily befall his account of the ethical relation. It argues that such an introduction commits Levinas to the claim: first philosophy entails a (...)
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  34. Paul Sheldon Davies (2005). Unmasking Self-Deception. Philosophia 32 (1-4):413-417.
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  35. Paul Davies (2004). The Fifth Miracle. Zygon 39 (1):261 - 265.
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  36. Paul Davies (2003). The Appearance of Design in Physics and Cosmology. In Neil A. Manson (ed.), God and Design: The Teleological Argument and Modern Science. Routledge.
     
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  37. Paul Davies (2002). How Far Can the Generalized Second Law Be Generalized? Foundations of Physics 32 (12):1877-1889.
    Jacob Bekenstein's identification of black hole event horizon area with entropy proved to be a landmark in theoretical physics. In this paper we trace the subsequent development of the resulting generalized second law of thermodynamics (GSL), especially its extension to incorporate cosmological event horizons. In spite of the fact that cosmological horizons do not generally have well-defined thermal properties, we find that the GSL is satisfied for a wide range of models. We explore in particular the case of an asymptotically (...)
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  38. Paul Sheldon Davies (2002). Does Past Selective Efficacy Matter to Psychology? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (4):513-514.
    Andrews et al. subscribe to the view that distinguishing selectionist from nonselectionist hypotheses – or, distinguishing adaptations from mere spandrels or exaptations – is important to the study of psychology. I offer three reasons for thinking that this view is false; that considerations of past selective efficacy have little to contribute to inquiry in psychology.
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  39. Paul S. Davies (2001). The Excesses of Teleosemantics. In J. S. McIntosh (ed.), Naturalism, Evolution, and Intentionality (Canadian Journal of Philosophy Supplementary Volume 27). University of Calgary Press. 117-137.
  40. Paul Sheldon Davies (2000). Malfunctions. Biology and Philosophy 15 (1):19-38.
    A persistent boast of the historical approach to functions is that functional properties are normative. The claim is that a token trait retains its functional status even when it is defective, diseased, or damaged and consequently unable to perform the relevant task. This is because historical functional categories are defined in terms of some sort of historical success -- success in natural selection, typically -- which imposes a norm upon the performance of descendent tokens. Descendents thus are supposed to perform (...)
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  41. Paul Sheldon Davies (2000). The Nature of Natural Norms: Why Selected Functions Are Systemic Capacity Functions. Noûs 34 (1):85–107.
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  42. Paul Sheldon Davies (1999). The Conflict of Evolutionary Psychology. In Valerie Gray Hardcastle (ed.), Where Biology Meets Psychology. MIT Press.
     
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  43. Paul Davies (1998). Sincerity and the End of Theodicy: Three Remarks on Levinas and Kant. Research in Phenomenology 28 (1):126-151.
  44. Paul Sheldon Davies (1997). Deflating Consciousness: A Critical Review of Fred Dretske's Naturalizing the Mind. Philosophical Psychology 10 (4):541-550.
    Fred Dretske asserts that the conscious or phenomenal experiences associated with our perceptual states—e.g. the qualitative or subjective features involved in visual or auditory states—are identical to properties that things have according to our representations of them. This is Dretske's version of the currently popular representational theory of consciousness . After explicating the core of Dretske's representational thesis, I offer two criticisms. I suggest that Dretske's view fails to apply to a broad range of mental phenomena that have rather distinctive (...)
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  45. Paul Sheldon Davies (1996). Discovering the Functional Mesh: On the Methods of Evolutionary Psychology. [REVIEW] Minds and Machines 6 (4):559-585.
    The aim of this paper is to clarify and critically assess the methods of evolutionary psychology, and offer a sketch of an alternative methodology. My thesis is threefold. (1) The methods of inquiry unique to evolutionary psychology rest upon the claim that the discovery of theadaptive functions of ancestral psychological capacities leads to the discovery of thepsychological functions of those ancestral capacities. (2) But this claim is false; in fact, just the opposite is true. We first must discover the psychological (...)
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  46. Paul Sheldon Davies (1996). Preface: Evolutionary Theory in Cognitive Psychology. [REVIEW] Minds and Machines 6 (4):445-462.
  47. Pauls Heldon Davies (1996). Books Reviews. Mind 105 (418):337-341.
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  48. Paul Davies (1995). Centres and Peripheries in Europe: The Welsh Experience. History of European Ideas 20 (1-3):425-430.
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  49. Paul Davies (1995). The Birth of the Cosmos. In P. C. W. Davies & Jill Gready (eds.), God, Cosmos, Nature, and Creativity. Scottish Academic Press.
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  50. Paul Sheldon Davies (1995). 'Defending' Direct Proper Functions. Analysis 55 (4):299 - 306.
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