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Geometric Possibility

Oxford University Press UK (2011)

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  1. Epistemic Modality, Mind, and Mathematics.Hasen Khudairi - 2020 - Dissertation, University of St Andrews
    This book concerns the foundations of epistemic modality. I examine the nature of epistemic modality, when the modal operator is interpreted as concerning both apriority and conceivability, as well as states of knowledge and belief. The book demonstrates how epistemic modality relates to the computational theory of mind; metaphysical modality; deontic modality; the types of mathematical modality; to the epistemic status of undecidable propositions and abstraction principles in the philosophy of mathematics; to the apriori-aposteriori distinction; to the modal profile of (...)
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  • Modal Cognitivism and Modal Expressivism.Hasen Khudairi - manuscript
    This paper aims to provide a mathematically tractable background against which to model both modal cognitivism and modal expressivism. I argue that epistemic modal algebras comprise a materially adequate fragment of the language of thought. I demonstrate, then, how modal expressivism can be regimented by modal coalgebraic automata, to which the above epistemic modal algebras are dually isomorphic. I examine, in particular, the virtues unique to the modal expressivist approach here proffered in the setting of the foundations of mathematics, by (...)
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  • Force and Objectivity: On Impact, Form, and Receptivity to Nature in Science and Art.Eli I. Lichtenstein - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Michigan
    Many praise science for its systematic drive to objectivity. But scientific objectivity is in fact valuable mainly as a species of objectivity in a broader sense, which extends to aesthetic experience and artistic forms of creativity. Objectivity should be understood as outwardness, or receptivity to basic features of the world. Scientific objectivity is receptivity to basic features of the world specifically by adopting their ‘point of view’. It is not a ‘view from nowhere’, or universally-valid perspective. Nor is it a (...)
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  • A challenge for Super-Humeanism: the problem of immanent comparisons.Vera Matarese - 2020 - Synthese 197 (9):4001-4020.
    According to the doctrine of Super-Humeanism, the world’s mosaic consists only of permanent matter points and changing spatial relations, while all the other entities and features figuring in scientific theories are nomological parameters, whose role is merely to build the best law system. In this paper, I develop an argument against Super-Humeanism by pointing out that it is vulnerable to and does not have the resources to solve the well-known problem of immanent comparisons. Firstly, I show that it cannot endorse (...)
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  • Substantivalist and Relationalist Approaches to Spacetime.Oliver Pooley - 2013 - In Robert Batterman (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Physics. Oxford University Press.
    Substantivalists believe that spacetime and its parts are fundamental constituents of reality. Relationalists deny this, claiming that spacetime enjoys only a derivative existence. I begin by describing how the Galilean symmetries of Newtonian physics tell against both Newton's brand of substantivalism and the most obvious relationalist alternative. I then review the obvious substantivalist response to the problem, which is to ditch substantival space for substantival spacetime. The resulting position has many affinities with what are arguably the most natural interpretations of (...)
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  • Substantivalism Vs Relationalism About Space in Classical Physics.Shamik Dasgupta - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (9):601-624.
    Substantivalism is the view that space exists in addition to any material bodies situated within it. Relationalism is the opposing view that there is no such thing as space; there are just material bodies, spatially related to one another. This paper assesses this issue in the context of classical physics. It starts by describing the bucket argument for substantivalism. It then turns to anti-substantivalist arguments, including Leibniz's classic arguments and their contemporary reincarnation under the guise of ‘symmetry’. It argues that (...)
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  • Nomic Necessitism.Hasen Khudairi - manuscript
    This paper aims to provide two abductive considerations adducing in favor of the thesis of Necessitism in modal ontology. I demonstrate how instances of the Barcan formula can be witnessed, when the modal operators are interpreted 'naturally' -- i.e., as including geometric and nomological possibilities -- and the quantifiers in the formula range over a domain of natural, or concrete, entities and their contingently non-concrete analogues. I argue that, because there are considerations within physics and metaphysical inquiry which corroborate modal (...)
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  • The Deep Metaphysics of Quantum Gravity: The Seventeenth Century Legacy and an Alternative Ontology Beyond Substantivalism and Relationism.Edward Slowik - 2013 - Studies in the History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (4):490-499.
    This essay presents an alternative to contemporary substantivalist and relationist interpretations of quantum gravity hypotheses by means of an historical comparison with the ontology of space in the seventeenth century. Utilizing differences in the spatial geometry between the foundational theory and the theory derived from the foundational, in conjunction with nominalism and platonism, it will be argued that there are crucial similarities between seventeenth century and contemporary theories of space, and that these similarities reveal a host of underlying conceptual issues (...)
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  • Modal Cognitivism and Modal Expressivism.Hasen Khudairi - manuscript
    This paper aims to provide a mathematically tractable background against which to model both modal cognitivism and modal expressivism. I argue that epistemic modal algebras comprise a materially adequate fragment of the language of thought, and endeavor to show how such algebras provide the resources necessary to resolve Russell's paradox of propositions. I demonstrate, then, how modal expressivism can be regimented by modal coalgebraic automata, to which the above epistemic modal algebras are dually isomorphic. I examine, in particular, the virtues (...)
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  • Forms of Luminosity.Hasen Khudairi - 2017
    This dissertation concerns the foundations of epistemic modality. I examine the nature of epistemic modality, when the modal operator is interpreted as concerning both apriority and conceivability, as well as states of knowledge and belief. The dissertation demonstrates how phenomenal consciousness and gradational possible-worlds models in Bayesian perceptual psychology relate to epistemic modal space. The dissertation demonstrates, then, how epistemic modality relates to the computational theory of mind; metaphysical modality; deontic modality; logical modality; the types of mathematical modality; to the (...)
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  • ¿Qué Hace Físicamente Posible a Un Mundo Posible?Manuel Jesús Herrera Aros & Cristián Ariel López - 2020 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 24 (1):65-88.
    There is a widely extended viewpoint about physical possibility, what we will call Standard Approach, which holds that the physically possible is delimited by the nomological structure of physical theories: to be physically possible is to be in accordance with the physical laws, to be physically impossible is to be prohibited by physical laws and to be physically necessary is to be demanded by the physical laws. However, it is possible to show that this approach is too relaxed and permissive (...)
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  • On Spacetime Functionalism.David John Baker - manuscript
    Eleanor Knox has argued that our concept of spacetime applies to whichever structure plays a certain functional role in the laws (the role of determining local inertial structure). I raise two complications for this approach. First, our spacetime concept seems to have the structure of a cluster concept, which means that Knox's inertial criteria for spacetime cannot succeed with complete generality. Second, the notion of metaphysical fundamentality may feature in the spacetime concept, in which case spacetime functionalism may be uninformative (...)
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  • Background Independence: Lessons for Further Decades of Dispute.Trevor Teitel - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics:41-54.
    Background independence begins life as an informal property that a physical theory might have, often glossed as 'doesn't posit a fixed spacetime background'. Interest in trying to offer a precise account of background independence has been sparked by the pronouncements of several theorists working on quantum gravity that background independence embodies in some sense an essential discovery of the General Theory of Relativity, and a feature we should strive to carry forward to future physical theories. This paper has two goals. (...)
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  • On the Argument from Physics and General Relativity.Christopher Gregory Weaver - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (2):333-373.
    I argue that the best interpretation of the general theory of relativity has need of a causal entity, and causal structure that is not reducible to light cone structure. I suggest that this causal interpretation of GTR helps defeat a key premise in one of the most popular arguments for causal reductionism, viz., the argument from physics.
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  • Relationalism About Mechanics Based on a Minimalist Ontology of Matter.Antonio Vassallo, Dirk-André Deckert & Michael Esfeld - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science:1-20.
    This paper elaborates on relationalism about space and time as motivated by a minimalist ontology of the physical world: there are only matter points that are individuated by the distance relations among them, with these relations changing. We assess two strategies to combine this ontology with physics, using classical mechanics as example: the Humean strategy adopts the standard, non-relationalist physical theories as they stand and interprets their formal apparatus as the means of bookkeeping of the change of the distance relations (...)
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  • On the Existence of Spacetime Structure.Erik Curiel - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axw014.
    I examine the debate between substantivalists and relationalists about the ontological character of spacetime and conclude it is not well posed. I argue that the hole argument does not bear on the debate, because it provides no clear criterion to distinguish the positions. I propose two such precise criteria and construct separate arguments based on each to yield contrary conclusions, one supportive of something like relationalism and the other of something like substantivalism. The lesson is that one must fix an (...)
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  • Was Leibniz the First Spacetime Structuralist?Kyle Sereda - unknown
    I argue that the standard interpretation of Leibniz as a relationist about space is mistaken, and defend a reading according to which his correspondence with Samuel Clarke actually suggests that Leibniz holds a view closely resembling modern spacetime structuralism. I distinguish my proposal from Belot's recent reading of Leibniz as a modal relationist, arguing for the superiority of my reading based on the Clarke correspondence and on Leibniz's conception of God's relation to the created world. I note a tension between (...)
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  • Psa 2012.-Preprint Volume- - unknown
    These preprints were automatically compiled into a PDF from the collection of papers deposited in PhilSci-Archive in conjunction with the PSA 2012.
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  • Physical Geometry.James P. Binkoski - 2016 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
    All physical theories, from classical Newtonian mechanics to relativistic quantum field theory, entail propositions concerning the geometric structure of spacetime. To give an example, the general theory of relativity entails that spacetime is curved, smooth, and four-dimensional. In this dissertation, I take the structural commitments of our theories seriously and ask: how is such structure instantiated in the physical world? Mathematically, a property like 'being curved' is perfectly well-defined insofar as we know what it means for a mathematical space to (...)
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  • The Path To Supersubstantivalism.Joshua D. Moulton - unknown
    This dissertation is divided into two parts. In the first part I defend substantivalism. I do this by offering, in chapter 1, a counterpart-theoretic defense of substantivalism from Leibniz’ shift arguments. Then, in chapter 2, I defend substantivalism from the hole argument and argue, against the consensus, that the question of haecceitism is irrelevant to substantivalism in the context of general relativity. In the second part of the dissertation I defend supersubstantivalism. I do this by offering, in chapter 3, an (...)
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  • Geometry, Fields, and Spacetime.James Binkoski - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (4):1097-1117.
    I present an argument against a relational theory of spacetime that regards spacetime as a ‘structural quality of the field’. The argument takes the form of a trilemma. To make the argument, I focus on relativistic worlds in which there exist just two fields, an electromagnetic field and a gravitational field. Then there are three options: either spacetime is a structural quality of each field separately, both fields together, or one field but not the other. I argue that the first (...)
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  • A Proposal for a Minimalist Ontology.Michael Esfeld - 2017 - Synthese:1-17.
    This paper seeks to answer the following question: What is a minimal set of entities that form an ontology of the natural world, given our well-established physical theories? The proposal is that the following two axioms are sufficient to obtain such a minimalist ontology: There are distance relations that individuate simple objects, namely matter points. The matter points are permanent, with the distances between them changing. I sketch out how one can obtain our well-established physical theories on the basis of (...)
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  • A Pre-History of Quantum Gravity: The Seventeenth Century Legacy and the Deep Metaphysics of Space Beyond Substantivalism and Relationism.Edward Slowik - unknown
    This essay demonstrates the inadequacy of contemporary substantivalist and relationist interpretations of quantum gravity hypotheses via an historical investigation of the debate on the underlying ontology of space in the seventeenth century. Viewed in the proper context, there are crucial similarities between seventeenth century theories of space and contemporary work on the ontological foundations of spacetime theories, and these similarities challenge the utility of the substantival/relational dichotomy by revealing a host of underlying conceptual issues that do not naturally align with (...)
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  • On the Viability of Galilean Relationalism.James P. Binkoski - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (4):1183-1204.
    ABSTRACT I explore the viability of a Galilean relational theory of space-time—a theory that includes a three-place collinearity relation among its stock of basic relations. Two formal results are established. First, I prove the existence of a class of dynamically possible models of Newtonian mechanics in which collinearity is uninstantiated. Second, I prove that the dynamical properties of Newtonian systems fail to supervene on their Galilean relations. On the basis of these two results, I argue that Galilean relational space-time is (...)
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  • Quantum States for Primitive Ontologists: A Case Study.Gordon Belot - 2012 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (1):67-83.
    Under so-called primitive ontology approaches, in fully describing the history of a quantum system, one thereby attributes interesting properties to regions of spacetime. Primitive ontology approaches, which include some varieties of Bohmian mechanics and spontaneous collapse theories, are interesting in part because they hold out the hope that it should not be too difficult to make a connection between models of quantum mechanics and descriptions of histories of ordinary macroscopic bodies. But such approaches are dualistic, positing a quantum state as (...)
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  • Geometric Possibility- an Argument From Dimension.Carolyn Brighouse - 2014 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (1):31-54.
    One cannot expect an exact answer to the question “What are the possible structures of space?”, but rough answers to it impact central debates within philosophy of space and time. Recently Gordon Belot has suggested that a rough answer takes the class of metric spaces to represent the possible structures of space. This answer has intuitive appeal, but I argue, focusing on topological characterizations of dimension, examples of prima facie space-like mathematical spaces that have pathological dimension properties, and endorsing a (...)
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  • An Aristotelian Realist Philosophy of Mathematics: Mathematics as the Science of Quantity and Stucture.James Franklin - 2014 - Palgrave MacMillan.
    An Aristotelian Philosophy of Mathematics breaks the impasse between Platonist and nominalist views of mathematics. Neither a study of abstract objects nor a mere language or logic, mathematics is a science of real aspects of the world as much as biology is. For the first time, a philosophy of mathematics puts applied mathematics at the centre. Quantitative aspects of the world such as ratios of heights, and structural ones such as symmetry and continuity, are parts of the physical world and (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Emergent Spacetime Theories.Niels C. M. Martens - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (7).
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  • Mathematics and Explanatory Generality.Alan Baker - 2017 - Philosophia Mathematica 25 (2):194-209.
    According to one popular nominalist picture, even when mathematics features indispensably in scientific explanations, this mathematics plays only a purely representational role: physical facts are represented, and these exclusively carry the explanatory load. I think that this view is mistaken, and that there are cases where mathematics itself plays an explanatory role. I distinguish two kinds of explanatory generality: scope generality and topic generality. Using the well-known periodical-cicada example, and also a new case study involving bicycle gears, I argue that (...)
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