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Wayne C. Myrvold [31]Wayne Myrvold [3]
  1. Wayne C. Myrvold, Probabilities in Statistical Mechanics: What Are They?
    This paper addresses the question of how we should regard the probability distributions introduced into statistical mechanics. It will be argued that it is problematic to take them either as purely ontic, or purely epistemic. I will propose a third alternative: they are almost objective probabilities, or epistemic chances. The definition of such probabilities involves an interweaving of epistemic and physical considerations, and thus they cannot be classified as either purely epistemic or purely ontic. This conception, it will be argued, (...)
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  2. Wayne C. Myrvold (forthcoming). Probabilities in Statistical Mechanics. In Christopher Hitchcock & Alan Hájek (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Probability and Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    This chapter will review selected aspects of the terrain of discussions about probabilities in statistical mechanics (with no pretensions to exhaustiveness, though the major issues will be touched upon), and will argue for a number of claims. None of the claims to be defended is entirely original, but all deserve emphasis. The first, and least controversial, is that probabilistic notions are needed to make sense of statistical mechanics. The reason for this is the same reason that convinced Maxwell, Gibbs, and (...)
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  3. Wayne C. Myrvold (forthcoming). You Can't Always Get What You Want Some Considerations Regarding Conditional Probabilities. Erkenntnis:1-31.
    The standard treatment of conditional probability leaves conditional probability undefined when the conditioning proposition has zero probability. Nonetheless, some find the option of extending the scope of conditional probability to include zero-probability conditions attractive or even compelling. This article reviews some of the pitfalls associated with this move, and concludes that, for the most part, probabilities conditional on zero-probability propositions are more trouble than they are worth.
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  4. Michael E. Cuffaro & Wayne C. Myrvold (2013). On the Debate Concerning the Proper Characterization of Quantum Dynamical Evolution. Philosophy of Science 80 (5):1125-1136.
    There has been a long-standing and sometimes passionate debate between physicists over whether a dynamical framework for quantum systems should incorporate not completely positive (NCP) maps in addition to completely positive (CP) maps. Despite the reasonableness of the arguments for complete positivity, we argue that NCP maps should be allowed, with a qualification: these should be understood, not as reflecting ‘not completely positive’ evolution, but as linear extensions, to a system’s entire state space, of CP maps that are only partially (...)
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  5. Wayne C. Myrvold (2012). Deterministic Laws and Epistemic Chances. In Yemima Ben-Menahem & Meir Hemmo (eds.), Probability in Physics. Springer. 73--85.
    In this paper, a concept of chance is introduced that is compatible with deterministic physical laws, yet does justice to our use of chance-talk in connection with typical games of chance. We take our cue from what Poincaré called "the method of arbitrary functions," and elaborate upon a suggestion made by Savage in connection with this. Comparison is made between this notion of chance, and David Lewis' conception.
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  6. Wayne C. Myrvold (2012). Epistemic Values and the Value of Learning. Synthese 187 (2):547-568.
    In addition to purely practical values, cognitive values also figure into scientific deliberations. One way of introducing cognitive values is to consider the cognitive value that accrues to the act of accepting a hypothesis. Although such values may have a role to play, such a role does not exhaust the significance of cognitive values in scientific decision-making. This paper makes a plea for consideration of epistemic value—that is, value attaching to a state of belief—and defends the notion of cognitive epistemic (...)
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  7. Wayne C. Myrvold (2011). Nonseparability, Classical, and Quantum. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (2):417-432.
    This article examines the implications of the holonomy interpretation of classical electromagnetism. As has been argued by Richard Healey and Gordon Belot, classical electromagnetism on this interpretation evinces a form of nonseparability, something that otherwise might have been thought of as confined to nonclassical physics. Consideration of the differences between this classical nonseparability and quantum nonseparability shows that the nonseparability exhibited by the classical electromagnetism on the holonomy interpretation is closer to separability than might at first appear.
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  8. Wayne C. Myrvold (2011). Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics: A Maxwellian View. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 42 (4):237-243.
    One finds, in Maxwell's writings on thermodynamics and statistical physics, a conception of the nature of these subjects that differs in interesting ways from the way that they are usually conceived. In particular, though—in agreement with the currently accepted view—Maxwell maintains that the second law of thermodynamics, as originally conceived, cannot be strictly true, the replacement he proposes is different from the version accepted by most physicists today. The modification of the second law accepted by most physicists is a probabilistic (...)
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  9. Hilary Greaves & Wayne C. Myrvold (2010). Everett and Evidence. In Simon Saunders, Jonathan Barrett, Adrian Kent & David Wallace (eds.), Many Worlds? Everett, Quantum Theory, and Reality. Oxford University Press.
    Much of the evidence for quantum mechanics is statistical in nature. The Everett interpretation, if it is to be a candidate for serious consideration, must be capable of doing justice to reasoning on which statistical evidence in which observed relative frequencies that closely match calculated probabilities counts as evidence in favour of a theory from which the probabilities are calculated. Since, on the Everett interpretation, all outcomes with nonzero amplitude are actualized on different branches, it is not obvious that sense (...)
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  10. Wayne C. Myrvold (2010). From Physics to Information Theory and Back. In Alisa Bokulich & Gregg Jaeger (eds.), Philosophy of Quantum Information and Entanglement. Cambridge University Press. 181--207.
    Quantum information theory has given rise to a renewed interest in, and a new perspective on, the old issue of understanding the ways in which quantum mechanics differs from classical mechanics. The task of distinguishing between quantum and classical theory is facilitated by neutral frameworks that embrace both classical and quantum theory. In this paper, I discuss two approaches to this endeavour, the algebraic approach, and the convex set approach, with an eye to the strengths of each, and the relations (...)
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  11. Harvey R. Brown, Wayne Myrvold & Jos Uffink (2009). Boltzmann's H-Theorem, its Discontents, and the Birth of Statistical Mechanics. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 40 (2):174-191.
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  12. Wayne C. Myrvold (2009). Chasing Chimeras. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (3):635-646.
    Earman and Ruetsche ([2005]) have cast their gaze upon existing no-go theorems for relativistic modal interpretations, and have found them inconclusive. They suggest that it would be more fruitful to investigate modal interpretations proposed for "really relativistic theories," that is, algebraic relativistic quantum field theories. They investigate the proposal of Clifton ([2000]), and extend Clifton's result that, for a host of states, his proposal yields no definite observables other than multiples of the identity. This leads Earman and Ruetsche to a (...)
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  13. Wayne C. Myrvold & Joy Christian (2009). Bistro Banter. In Wayne C. Myrvold & Joy Christian (eds.), Quantum Reality, Relativistic Causality, and Closing the Epistemic Circle. Springer. 445--477.
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  14. Wayne C. Myrvold & Joy Christian (eds.) (2009). Quantum Reality, Relativistic Causality, and Closing the Epistemic Circle. Springer.
  15. Harvey R. Brown & Wayne Myrvold, Boltzmann's H-Theorem, its Limitations, and the Birth of (Fully) Statistical Mechanics.
    A comparison is made of the traditional Loschmidt (reversibility) and Zermelo (recurrence) objections to Boltzmann's H-theorem, and its simplified variant in the Ehrenfests' 1912 wind-tree model. The little-cited 1896 (pre-recurrence) objection of Zermelo (similar to an 1889 argument due to Poincare) is also analysed. Significant differences between the objections are highlighted, and several old and modern misconceptions concerning both them and the H-theorem are clarified. We give (...)
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  16. Wayne C. Myrvold (2008). Review of R. Clifton, Quantum Entanglements. [REVIEW] Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39:700-701.
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  17. Wayne C. Myrvold (2003). A Bayesian Account of the Virtue of Unification. Philosophy of Science 70 (2):399-423.
    A Bayesian account of the virtue of unification is given. On this account, the ability of a theory to unify disparate phenomena consists in the ability of the theory to render such phenomena informationally relevant to each other. It is shown that such ability contributes to the evidential support of the theory, and hence that preference for theories that unify the phenomena need not, on a Bayesian account, be built into the prior probabilities of theories.
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  18. Wayne C. Myrvold (2003). A Loophole in Bell's Theorem? Parameter Dependence in the Hess‐Philipp Model. Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1357-1367.
    The hidden-variables model constructed by Karl Hess and Walter Philipp is claimed by its authors to exploit a "loophole" in Bell's theorem; according to Hess and Philipp, the parameters employed in their model extend beyond those considered by Bell. Furthermore, they claim that their model satisfies Einstein locality and is free of any "suspicion of spooky action at a distance." Both of these claims are false; the Hess-Philipp model achieves agreement with the quantum-mechanical predictions, not by circumventing Bell's theorem, but (...)
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  19. Wayne C. Myrvold (2003). On Some Early Objections to Bohm's Theory. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (1):7 – 24.
    Recent literature on Bohm's alternative to mainstream quantum mechanics may create the misleading impression that, except for perfunctory dismissals, the theory was ignored by the physics community in the years immediately following its proposal. As a matter of fact, Einstein, Pauli, and Heisenberg all published criticisms of Bohm's theory, explaining their reasons for not accepting the theory. These criticisms will be discussed and evaluated in this article.
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  20. Wayne C. Myrvold (2003). Relativistic Quantum Becoming. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (3):475-500.
    In a recent paper, David Albert has suggested that no quantum theory can yield a description of the world unfolding in Minkowski spacetime. This conclusion is premature; a natural extension of Stein's notion of becoming in Minkowski spacetime to accommodate the demands of quantum nonseparability yields such an account, an account that is in accord with a proposal which was made by Aharonov and Albert but which is dismissed by Albert as a ‘mere trick’. The nature of such an account (...)
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  21. Wayne C. Myrvold (2002). Kochen-Specker Epsilon-Obstruction for Position and Momentum. Physics Letters A 299:8-14.
     
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  22. Wayne C. Myrvold (2002). Modal Interpretations and Relativity. Foundations of Physics 32 (11):1773-1784.
    A proof is given, at a greater level of generality than previous 'no-go' theorems, of the impossibility of formulating a modal interpretation that exhibits 'serious' Lorentz invariance at the fundamental level. Particular attention is given to modal interpretations of the type proposed by Bub.
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  23. Wayne C. Myrvold (2002). On Peaceful Coexistence: Is the Collapse Postulate Incompatible with Relativity? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 33 (3):435-466.
    In this paper, it is argued that the prima facie conflict between special relativity and the quantum-mechanical collapse postulate is only apparent, and that the seemingly incompatible accounts of entangled systems undergoing collapse yielded by different reference frames can be regarded as no more than differing accounts of the same processes and events. Attention to the transformation properties of quantum-mechanical states undergoing unitary, non-collapse evolution points the way to a treatment of collapse evolution consistent with the demands of relativity. r (...)
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  24. Wayne C. Myrvold (2002). Review of J. A. Barrett, The Quantum Mechanics of Minds and Worlds. [REVIEW] Philosophy of Science 69:536-38.
    This book is a discussion of the Everett relative-state interpretation of quantum mechanics and related “no collapse” interpretations. The book presumes that its readers will have some familiarity with quantum mechanics and with the interpretational issues connected with it. It would be suitable for use in an introductory graduate course on the philosophy of quantum mechanics, although even experts are likely to enjoy its clear summaries of the material in its purview.
     
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  25. Wayne C. Myrvold & William L. Harper (2002). Model Selection, Simplicity, and Scientific Inference. Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S135-S149.
    The Akaike Information Criterion can be a valuable tool of scientific inference. This statistic, or any other statistical method for that matter, cannot, however, be the whole of scientific methodology. In this paper some of the limitations of Akaikean statistical methods are discussed. It is argued that the full import of empirical evidence is realized only by adopting a richer ideal of empirical success than predictive accuracy, and that the ability of a theory to turn phenomena into accurate, agreeing measurements (...)
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  26. S. L. Zabell, Brian Skyrms, Elliott Sober, Malcolm R. Forster, Wayne C. Myrvold, William L. Harper, Rob Clifton, Itamar Pitowsky, Robyn M. Dawes & David Faust (2002). 10. It All Adds Up: The Dynamic Coherence of Radical Probabilism It All Adds Up: The Dynamic Coherence of Radical Probabilism (Pp. S98-S103). [REVIEW] Philosophy of Science 69 (S3).
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  27. Wayne C. Myrvold (2001). Review of C. Norris, Quantum Theory and the Flight From Realism. [REVIEW] International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 15:116-120.
    The ambition of this book is a noble one: to provide a counter to the assumption, taken for granted made by many postmodernists, that quantum mechanics lends support to the view that scienti® c realism is nothing more than an outmoded fad. It is especially gratifying that this book comes from a literary theorist, author of a well-respected book on Derrida (Norris, 1987), who, by his own admission, has ª previously published several books on literary theory that might be construed (...)
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  28. Wayne C. Myrvold, Einstein's Untimely Burial.
    There seems to be a growing consensus that any interpretation of quantum mechanics other than an instrumentalist interpretation will have to abandon the requirement of Lorentz invariance, at least at the fundamental level, preserving at best Lorentz invariance of phenomena. In particular, it is often said that the collapse postulate is incompatible with the demands of relativity. It is the purpose of this paper to argue that such a conclusion is premature, and to defend the view that a covariant account (...)
     
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  29. Wayne C. Myrvold (1997). The Decision Problem for Entanglement. In Robert S. Cohen, Michael Horne & John Stachel (eds.), Potentiality, Entanglement, and Passion-at-a-Distance: Quantum Mechanical Studies for Abner Shimony. Kluwer Academic Publishers. 177--190.
  30. Wayne C. Myrvold (1996). Bayesianism and Diverse Evidence: A Reply to Andrew Wayne. Philosophy of Science 63 (4):661-665.
    Andrew Wayne (1995) discusses some recent attempts to account, within a Bayesian framework, for the "common methodological adage" that "diverse evidence better confirms a hypothesis than does the same amount of similar evidence" (112). One of the approaches considered by Wayne is that suggested by Howson and Urbach (1989/1993) and dubbed the "correlation approach" by Wayne. This approach is, indeed, incomplete, in that it neglects the role of the hypothesis under consideration in determining what diversity in a body of evidence (...)
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  31. Wayne C. Myrvold (1995). Computability in Quantum Mechanics. In Werner De Pauli-Schimanovich, Eckehart Köhler & Friedrich Stadler (eds.), The Foundational Debate: Complexity and Constructivity in Mathematics and Physics. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  32. Wayne C. Myrvold (1995). Peirce on Cantor's Paradox and the Continuum. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 31 (3):508 - 541.
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  33. Wayne C. Myrvold (1990). Tractatus 4.04: (Compare Hertz' Mechanics, on Dynamical Models). In Rudolf Haller & Johannes Brandl (eds.), Wittgenstein: Eine Neubewertung/Towards a Re-evaluation. Verlag Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky.
     
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