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Peter J. Lewis [39]Peter John Lewis [1]
  1.  45
    Peter J. Lewis (2007). Uncertainty and Probability for Branching Selves. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 38 (1):1-14.
    Everettian accounts of quantum mechanics entail that people branch; every possible result of a measurement actually occurs, and I have one successor for each result. Is there room for probability in such an account? The prima facie answer is no; there are no ontic chances here, and no ignorance about what will happen. But since any adequate quantum mechanical theory must make probabilistic predictions, much recent philosophical labor has gone into trying to construct an account of probability for branching selves. (...)
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  2. Peter J. Lewis (2010). Probability in Everettian Quantum Mechanics. Manuscrito 33 (1):285--306.
    The main difficulty facing no-collapse theories of quantum mechanics in the Everettian tradition concerns the role of probability within a theory in which every possible outcome of a measurement actually occurs. The problem is two-fold: First, what do probability claims mean within such a theory? Second, what ensures that the probabilities attached to measurement outcomes match those of standard quantum mechanics? Deutsch has recently proposed a decision-theoretic solution to the second problem, according to which agents are rationally required to weight (...)
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  3. Peter J. Lewis (2001). Why the Pessimistic Induction is a Fallacy. Synthese 129 (3):371--380.
    Putnam and Laudan separately argue that the falsity of past scientific theories gives us reason to doubt the truth of current theories. Their arguments have been highly influential, and have generated a significant literature over the past couple of decades. Most of this literature attempts to defend scientific realism by attacking the historical evidence on which the premises of the relevant argument are based. However, I argue that both Putnam's and Laudan's arguments are fallacious, and hence attacking their premises is (...)
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  4. Peter J. Lewis (1997). Quantum Mechanics, Orthogonality, and Counting. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (3):313-328.
    In quantum mechanics it is usually assumed that mutually exclusives states of affairs must be represented by orthogonal vectors. Recent attempts to solve the measurement problem, most notably the GRW theory, require the relaxation of this assumption. It is shown that a consequence of relaxing this assumption is that arithmatic does not apply to ordinary macroscopic objects. It is argued that such a radical move is unwarranted given the current state of understanding of the foundations of quantum mechanics.
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  5.  33
    Peter J. Lewis (2004). Life in Configuration Space. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (4):713-729.
    This paper investigates the tenability of wavefunction realism, according to which the quantum mechanical wavefunction is not just a convenient predictive tool, but is a real entity figuring in physical explanations of our measurement results. An apparent difficulty with this position is that the wavefunction exists in a many-dimensional configuration space, whereas the world appears to us to be three-dimensional. I consider the arguments that have been given for and against the tenability of wavefunction realism, and note that both the (...)
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  6.  92
    Peter J. Lewis (2010). Credence and Self-Location. Synthese 175 (3):369-382.
    All parties to the Sleeping Beauty debate agree that it shows that some cherished principle of rationality has to go. Thirders think that it is Conditionalization and Reflection that must be given up or modified; halfers think that it is the Principal Principle. I offer an analysis of the Sleeping Beauty puzzle that allows us to retain all three principles. In brief, I argue that Sleeping Beauty’s credence in the uncentered proposition that the coin came up heads should be 1/2, (...)
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  7. Peter J. Lewis, Quantum Mechanics, Interpretations Of.
    Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics Quantum mechanics is a physical theory developed in the 1920s to account for the behavior of matter on the atomic scale. It has subsequently been developed into arguably the most empirically successful theory in the history of physics. However, it is hard to understand quantum mechanics as a description of the … Continue reading Quantum Mechanics, Interpretations of →.
     
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  8.  54
    Peter J. Lewis (2004). Life in Configuration Space. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (4):713-729.
    This paper investigates the tenability of wavefunction realism, according to which the quantum mechanical wavefunction is not just a convenient predictive tool, but is a real entity figuring in physical explanations of our measurement results. An apparent difficulty with this position is that the wavefunction exists in a many-dimensional configuration space, whereas the world appears to us to be three-dimensional. I consider the arguments that have been given for and against the tenability of wavefunction realism, and note that both the (...)
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  9.  86
    Peter J. Lewis (2007). Empty Waves in Bohmian Quantum Mechanics. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (4):787 - 803.
    There is a recurring line of argument in the literature to the effect that Bohm's theory fails to solve the measurement problem. I show that this argument fails in all its variants. Hence Bohm's theory, whatever its drawbacks, at least succeeds in solving the measurement problem. I briefly discuss a similar argument that has been raised against the GRW theory.
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  10.  29
    Peter J. Lewis, In Search of Local Beables.
    The call to supplement the quantum wave function with local beables is almost as old as quantum mechanics. But what exactly is the problem with the wave function as the representation of a quantum system? I canvass three potential problems with the wave function: the well-known problems of incompleteness and dimensionality, and the lesser known problem of non-locality introduced recently by Myrvold. Building on Myrvold's insight, I show that the standard ways of introducing local beables into quantum mechanics are unsuccessful. (...)
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  11.  98
    Peter J. Lewis (2007). Quantum Sleeping Beauty. Analysis 67 (293):59-65.
    The Sleeping Beauty paradox in epistemology and the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics both raise problems concerning subjective probability assignments. Furthermore, there are striking parallels between the two cases; in both cases personal experience has a branching structure, and in both cases the agent loses herself among the branches. However, the treatment of probability is very different in the two cases, for no good reason that I can see. Suppose, then, that we adopt the same treatment of probability in each (...)
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  12.  72
    Peter J. Lewis (2003). Counting Marbles: A Reply to Critics. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (1):165-170.
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  13.  40
    Peter J. Lewis (2009). Reply to Papineau and Durà-Vilà. Analysis 69 (1):86-89.
    I argued that anyone who adopts the Everettian approach to the foundations of quantum mechanics must also accept the (unpopular) ‘halfer’ solution to the Sleeping Beauty puzzle. Papineau and Durà-Vilà have responded with an argument that it is perfectly cogent both to be an Everettian and to accept the (popular) ‘thirder’ solution to Sleeping Beauty. Here I attempt to rebut their argument, and to clarify my original position.
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  14. Peter J. Lewis (2000). What is It Like to Be Schrödinger's Cat? Analysis 60 (265):22–29.
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  15.  45
    Peter J. Lewis (2006). Conspiracy Theories of Quantum Mechanics. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (2):359-381.
    It has long been recognized that a local hidden-variable theory of quantum mechanics can in principle be constructed, provided one is willing to countenance pre-measurement correlations between the properties of measured systems and measuring devices. However, this “conspiratorial” approach is typically dismissed out of hand. In this paper I examine the justification for dismissing conspiracy theories of quantum mechanics. I consider the existing arguments against such theories, and find them to be less than conclusive. I suggest a more powerful argument (...)
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  16.  71
    Peter J. Lewis, Deutsch on Quantum Decision Theory.
    A major problem facing no-collapse interpretations of quantum mechanics in the tradition of Everett is how to understand the probabilistic axiom of quantum mechanics (the Born rule) in the context of a deterministic theory in which every outcome of a measurement occurs. Deutsch claims to derive a decision-theoretic analogue of the Born rule from the non-probabilistic part of quantum mechanics and some non-probabilistic axioms of classical decision theory, and hence concludes that no probabilistic axiom is needed. I argue that Deutsch’s (...)
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  17.  14
    Don Fallis & Peter J. Lewis (2015). The Brier Rule Is Not a Good Measure of Epistemic Utility. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (3):576-590.
    ABSTRACTMeasures of epistemic utility are used by formal epistemologists to make determinations of epistemic betterness among cognitive states. The Brier rule is the most popular choice among formal epistemologists for such a measure. In this paper, however, we show that the Brier rule is sometimes seriously wrong about whether one cognitive state is epistemically better than another. In particular, there are cases where an agent gets evidence that definitively eliminates a false hypothesis, but where the Brier rule says that things (...)
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  18.  54
    Peter J. Lewis (2013). Retrocausal Quantum Mechanics: Maudlin's Challenge Revisited. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (4):442-449.
    In 1994, Maudlin proposed an objection to retrocausal approaches to quantum mechanics in general, and to the transactional interpretation in particular, involving an absorber that changes location depending on the trajectory of the particle. Maudlin considered this objection fatal. However, the TI did not die; rather, a number of responses were developed, some attempting to accommodate Maudlin's example within the existing TI, and others modifying the TI. I argue that none of these responses is fully adequate. The reason, I submit, (...)
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  19.  81
    Peter J. Lewis (2010). A Note on the Doomsday Argument. Analysis 70 (1):27-30.
    I argue that the Doomsday argument fails because it fails to take into account the lesson of the Sleeping Beauty puzzle.
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  20.  59
    Peter J. Lewis (2003). Four Strategies for Dealing with the Counting Anomaly in Spontaneous Collapse Theories of Quantum Mechanics. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (2):137 – 142.
    A few years ago, I argued that according to spontaneous collapse theories of quantum mechanics, arithmetic applies to macroscopic objects only as an approximation. Several authors have written articles defending spontaneous collapse theories against this charge, including Bassi and Ghirardi, Clifton and Monton, and now Frigg. The arguments of these authors are all different and all ingenious, but in the end I think that none of them succeeds, for reasons I elaborate here. I suggest a fourth line of response, based (...)
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  21.  36
    Peter J. Lewis (2006). GRW: A Case Study in Quantum Ontology. Philosophy Compass 1 (2):224–244.
  22.  38
    Peter J. Lewis (2003). Quantum Mechanics and Ordinary Language: The Fuzzy Link. Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1437-1446.
    It is widely acknowledged that the link between quantum language and ordinary language must be "fuzzier" than the traditional eigenstate-eigenvalue link. In the context of spontaneous-collapse theories, Albert and Loewer argue that the form of this fuzzy link is a matter of convention, and can be freely chosen to minimize anomalies for those theories. I defend the position that the form of the link is empirical, and could be such as to render collapse theories idle. This means that defenders of (...)
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  23.  21
    Peter J. Lewis, Dimension and Illusion.
    The world looks three-dimensional unless one looks closely, when it looks 3N-dimensional. But which appearance is veridical, and which the illusion? Albert contends that the three-dimensionality of the everyday world is illusory, and that 3N-dimensional wavefunction one discerns in quantum phenomena is the reality behind the illusion. What I try to do here is to argue for the converse of Albert's position; the world really is three dimensional, and the 3N-dimensional appearance of quantum phenomena is the theoretical analog of an (...)
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  24.  13
    Peter J. Lewis, Measurement and Metaphysics.
    Protective measurement might be taken to put the last nail in the coffin of ensemble interpretations of the quantum state. My goal here is to show that even though ensemble interpretations face formidable obstacles, protective measurements don't lead to any additional difficulties. Rather, they provide us with a nice illustration of a conclusion for which we had considerable indirect evidence already, namely that quantum mechanics leads to a blurring of the distinction between the intrinsic properties of a system and the (...)
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  25.  38
    Peter J. Lewis (2009). Probability, Self‐Location, and Quantum Branching. Philosophy of Science 76 (5):1009-1019.
    The main problem with the many‐worlds theory is that it is not clear how the notion of probability should be understood in a theory in which every possible outcome of a measurement actually occurs. In this paper, I argue for the following theses concerning the many‐worlds theory: If probability can be applied at all to measurement outcomes, it must function as a measure of an agent’s self‐location uncertainty. Such probabilities typically violate reflection. Many‐worlds branching does not have sufficient structure to (...)
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  26.  68
    Peter J. Lewis (2006). Conspiracy Theories of Quantum Mechanics. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (2):359-381.
    It has long been recognized that a local hidden variable theory of quantum mechanics can in principle be constructed, provided one is willing to countenance pre-measurement correlations between the properties of measured systems and measuring devices. However, this ‘conspiratorial’ approach is typically dismissed out of hand. In this article I examine the justification for dismissing conspiracy theories of quantum mechanics. I consider the existing arguments against such theories, and find them to be less than conclusive. I suggest a more powerful (...)
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  27.  9
    Peter J. Lewis, Bell's Theorem, Realism, and Locality.
    According to a recent paper by Tim Maudlin, Bell’s theorem has nothing to tell us about realism or the descriptive completeness of quantum mechanics. What it shows is that quantum mechanics is non-local, no more and no less. What I intend to do in this paper is to challenge Maudlin’s assertion about the import of Bell’s proof. There is much that I agree with in the paper; in particular, it does us the valuable service of demonstrating that Einstein’s objections to (...)
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  28.  4
    Peter J. Lewis (2007). Towards a Local Hidden Variable Theory. Foundations of Physics 37 (10):1461-1469.
    A local hidden variable theory of quantum mechanics is formulated by adapting Gell-Mann and Hartle’s many-histories formulation. The resulting theory solves the measurement problem by exploiting the independence loophole in Bell’s theorem; it violates the independence of hidden variable values and measuring device settings. Although the theory is problematic in some respects, it provides a concrete example via which the tenability of this approach can be better evaluated.
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  29.  17
    Peter J. Lewis (2005). Interpreting Spontaneous Collapse Theories. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 36 (1):165-180.
    Spontaneous collapse theories of quantum mechanics require an interpretation if their claim to solve the measurement problem is to be vindicated. The most straightforward interpretation rule, the fuzzy link, generates a violation of common sense known as the counting anomaly. Recently, a consensus has developed that the mass density link provides an appropriate interpretation of spontaneous collapse theories that avoids the counting anomaly. In this paper, I argue that the mass density link violates common sense in just as striking a (...)
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  30.  44
    Peter J. Lewis (2007). How Bohm's Theory Solves the Measurement Problem. Philosophy of Science 74 (5):749-760.
    I examine recent arguments based on functionalism that claim to show that Bohm's theory fails to solve the measurement problem, or if it does so, it is only because it reduces to a form of the many-worlds theory. While these arguments reveal some interesting features of Bohm's theory, I contend that they do not undermine the distinctive Bohmian solution to the measurement problem. ‡I would like to thank Harvey Brown, Martin Thomson-Jones, and David Wallace for helpful discussions. †To contact the (...)
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  31.  38
    Peter J. Lewis (2013). The Doomsday Argument and the Simulation Argument. Synthese 190 (18):4009-4022.
    The Simulation Argument and the Doomsday Argument share certain structural similarities, and hence are often discussed together. Both are cases where reflecting on one’s location among a set of possibilities yields a counter-intuitive conclusion—in one case that the end of humankind is closer than you initially thought, and in the second case that it is more likely than you initially thought that you are living in a computer simulation. Indeed, the two arguments do share strong structural similarities. But there are (...)
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  32.  26
    Peter J. Lewis, Credence for Whom?
    There is an important sense in which an agent’s credences are universal: while they reflect an agent’s own judgments, those judgments apply equally to everyone’s bets. This point, while uncontentious, has been overlooked; people automatically assume that credences concern an agent’s own bets, perhaps just because of the name “subjective” that is typically applied to this account of belief. This oversight has had unfortunate consequences for recent epistemology, in particular concerning the Sleeping Beauty case and its myriad variants.
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  33.  25
    Peter J. Lewis, A Note on the Simulation Argument.
    The point of this note is to compare the Doomsday Argument to the Simulation Argument. The latter, I maintain, is a better argument than the former.
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  34.  2
    Peter J. Lewis (2007). Uncertainty and Probability for Branching Selves. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (1):1-14.
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  35.  10
    Peter J. Lewis, Maudlin's Challenge Revisited.
    In 1994, Maudlin proposed proposed an objection to the transactional interpretation, involving an absorber that changes location depending on the trajectory of the particle. Maudlin considered this objection fatal. However, the TI did not die; rather, a number of responses were developed, some attempting to accommodate Maudlin's example within the existing TI, and others modifying the TI. I argue that none of these responses is fully adequate. The reason, I submit, is that there are two aspects to Maudlin's objection; the (...)
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  36. Peter J. Lewis, Can Transactional Description of Quantum-Mechanical Reality Be Considered Complete?
    The Transactional Interpretation of quantum mechanics is a promising way of fulfilling Einstein’s vision of a completed quantum mechanics. However, it has received forceful criticism from Maudlin. Indeed, I shall argue that the force of Maudlin’s criticisms has been underestimated, and that none of the extant responses are adequate. An adequate response, I contend, requires reconceptualizing the kinds of explanations the Transactional Interpretation gives. I sketch such a reinterpretation and argue that it does not fall prey to Maudlin’s objections. However, (...)
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  37. Peter J. Lewis (2005). Interpreting Spontaneous Collapse Theories. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 36 (1):165-180.
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  38. Peter J. Lewis (2009). Metaphysics and Quantum Physics. In Robin Le Poidevin (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics. Routledge
     
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  39. Peter J. Lewis (2016). Quantum Ontology: A Guide to the Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics. Oxford University Press Usa.
    Metaphysicians should pay attention to quantum mechanics. Why? Not because it provides definitive answers to many metaphysical questions-the theory itself is remarkably silent on the nature of the physical world, and the various interpretations of the theory on offer present conflicting ontological pictures. Rather, quantum mechanics is essential to the metaphysician because it reshapes standard metaphysical debates and opens up unforeseen new metaphysical possibilities. Even if quantum mechanics provides few clear answers, there are good reasons to think that any adequate (...)
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