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Profile: Samuel C. Fletcher (University of Minnesota, Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München)
  1. Samuel C. Fletcher (2012). What Counts as a Newtonian System? The View From Norton's Dome. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (3):275-297.
    If the force on a particle fails to satisfy a Lipschitz condition at a point, it relaxes one of the conditions necessary for a locally unique solution to the particle’s equation of motion. I examine the most discussed example of this failure of determinism in classical mechanics—that of Norton’s dome—and the range of current objections against it. Finding there are many different conceptions of classical mechanics appropriate and useful for different purposes, I argue that no single conception is preferred. Instead (...)
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    Samuel C. Fletcher (2016). Similarity, Topology, and Physical Significance in Relativity Theory. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (2):365-389.
    Stephen Hawking, among others, has proposed that the topological stability of a property of space-time is a necessary condition for it to be physically significant. What counts as stable, however, depends crucially on the choice of topology. Some physicists have thus suggested that one should find a canonical topology, a single ‘right’ topology for every inquiry. While certain such choices might be initially motivated, some little-discussed examples of Robert Geroch and some propositions of my own show that the main candidates—and (...)
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    Samuel C. Fletcher, Model Verification and the Likelihood Principle.
    The likelihood principle is typically understood as a constraint on any measure of evidence arising from a statistical experiment. It is not sufficiently often noted, however, that the LP assumes that the probability model giving rise to a particular concrete data set must be statistically adequate—it must “fit” the data sufficiently. In practice, though, scientists must make modeling assumptions whose adequacy can nevertheless then be verified using statistical tests. My present concern is to consider whether the LP applies to these (...)
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  4. Samuel C. Fletcher, Discussion Notes on Physical Computation.
    Much has been written as of late on the status of the physical Church- Turing thesis and the relation between physics and computer science in general. The following discussion will focus on one such article [5]. The purpose of these notes is not so much to argue for a particular thesis as it is to solicit a dialog that will help clarify our own thoughts.
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    Samuel C. Fletcher (2013). Light Clocks and the Clock Hypothesis. Foundations of Physics 43 (11):1369-1383.
    The clock hypothesis of relativity theory equates the proper time experienced by a point particle along a timelike curve with the length of that curve as determined by the metric. Is it possible to prove that particular types of clocks satisfy the clock hypothesis, thus genuinely measure proper time, at least approximately? Because most real clocks would be enormously complicated to study in this connection, focusing attention on an idealized light clock is attractive. The present paper extends and generalized partial (...)
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