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  1. The Nature of Appearance in Kant’s Transcendentalism: A Seman- Tico-Cognitive Analysis.Sergey L. Katrechko - 2018 - Kantian Journal 37 (3):41-55.
  • Rethinking Boltzmannian Equilibrium.Charlotte Werndl & Roman Frigg - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (5):1224-1235.
    Boltzmannian statistical mechanics partitions the phase space of a sys- tem into macro-regions, and the largest of these is identified with equilibrium. What justifies this identification? Common answers focus on Boltzmann’s combinatorial argument, the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution, and maxi- mum entropy considerations. We argue that they fail and present a new answer. We characterise equilibrium as the macrostate in which a system spends most of its time and prove a new theorem establishing that equilib- rium thus defined corresponds to the largest (...)
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  • Typicality and the Approach to Equilibrium in Boltzmannian Statistical Mechanics.Roman Frigg - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (5):997-1008.
    An important contemporary version of Boltzmannian statistical mechanics explains the approach to equilibrium in terms of typicality. The problem with this approach is that it comes in different versions, which are, however, not recognized as such and not clearly distinguished. This article identifies three different versions of typicality‐based explanations of thermodynamic‐like behavior and evaluates their respective successes. The conclusion is that the first two are unsuccessful because they fail to take the system's dynamics into account. The third, however, is promising. (...)
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  • The Aharonov Approach to Equilibrium.Foad Dizadji-Bahmani - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (5):976-988.
    Using the 'Aharonov approach', Linden and colleagues purportedly prove that reaching equilibrium is a universal property of quantum systems. Such a proof would constitute a very significant result in the foundations of statistical mechanics. I argue that, as it stands, this proof is not sound. However, based on the their theorems, I construct an argument for the conclusion that an arbitrary small subsystem of a large quantum system typically tends toward and remains in, or close to, equilibrium. This is the (...)
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  • Laws and Statistical Mechanics.Eric Winsberg - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (5):707-718.
    This paper explores some connections between competing conceptions of scientific laws on the one hand, and a problem in the foundations of statistical mechanics on the other. I examine two proposals for understanding the time asymmetry of thermodynamic phenomenal: David Albert's recent proposal and a proposal that I outline based on Hans Reichenbach's “branch systems”. I sketch an argument against the former, and mount a defense of the latter by showing how to accommodate statistical mechanics to recent developments in the (...)
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  • In Search of Time Lost: Asymmetry of Time and Irreversibility in Natural Processes.A. L. Kuzemsky - forthcoming - Foundations of Science:1-49.
    In this survey, we discuss and analyze foundational issues of the problem of time and its asymmetry from a unified standpoint. Our aim is to discuss concisely the current theories and underlying notions, including interdisciplinary aspects, such as the role of time and temporality in quantum and statistical physics, biology, and cosmology. We compare some sophisticated ideas and approaches for the treatment of the problem of time and its asymmetry by thoroughly considering various aspects of the second law of thermodynamics, (...)
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  • Deduction and Definability in Infinite Statistical Systems.Benjamin Feintzeig - 2017 - Synthese:1-31.
    Classical accounts of intertheoretic reduction involve two pieces: first, the new terms of the higher-level theory must be definable from the terms of the lower-level theory, and second, the claims of the higher-level theory must be deducible from the lower-level theory along with these definitions. The status of each of these pieces becomes controversial when the alleged reduction involves an infinite limit, as in statistical mechanics. Can one define features of or deduce the behavior of an infinite idealized system from (...)
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  • What Is the Paradox of Phase Transitions?Elay Shech - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (5):1170-1181.
    I present a novel approach to the scholarly debate that has arisen with respect to the philosophical import one should infer from scientific accounts of phase transitions by appealing to a distinction between representation understood as denotation, and faithful representation understood as a type of guide to ontology. It is argued that the entire debate is misguided, for it stems from a pseudo-paradox that does not license the type of claims made by scholars and that what is really interesting about (...)
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  • Less is Different: Emergence and Reduction Reconciled. [REVIEW]Jeremy Butterfield - 2011 - Foundations of Physics 41 (6):1065-1135.
    This is a companion to another paper. Together they rebut two widespread philosophical doctrines about emergence. The first, and main, doctrine is that emergence is incompatible with reduction. The second is that emergence is supervenience; or more exactly, supervenience without reduction.In the other paper, I develop these rebuttals in general terms, emphasising the second rebuttal. Here I discuss the situation in physics, emphasising the first rebuttal. I focus on limiting relations between theories and illustrate my claims with four examples, each (...)
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  • Approximation and Idealization: Why the Difference Matters.John D. Norton - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (2):207-232.
    It is proposed that we use the term “approximation” for inexact description of a target system and “idealization” for another system whose properties also provide an inexact description of the target system. Since systems generated by a limiting process can often have quite unexpected, even inconsistent properties, familiar limit systems used in statistical physics can fail to provide idealizations, but are merely approximations. A dominance argument suggests that the limiting idealizations of statistical physics should be demoted to approximations.
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  • Symmetry Breaking and Functional Incompleteness in Biological Systems.Andrej Korenić, Slobodan Perović, Milan Ćirković & Paul-Antoine Miquel - unknown
    Symmetry-based explanations using symmetry breaking as the key explanatory tool have complemented and replaced traditional causal explanations in various domains of physics. The process of spontaneous SB is now a mainstay of contemporary explanatory accounts of large chunks of condensed-matter physics, quantum field theory, nonlinear dynamics, cosmology, and other disciplines. A wide range of empirical research into various phenomena related to symmetries and SB across biological scales has accumulated as well. Led by these results, we identify and explain some common (...)
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  • A Confrontation of Convergent Realism.Peter Vickers - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (2):189-211.
  • Who’s Afraid of Nagelian Reduction?Foad Dizadji-Bahmani, Roman Frigg & Stephan Hartmann - 2010 - Erkenntnis 73 (3):393-412.
    We reconsider the Nagelian theory of reduction and argue that, contrary to a widely held view, it is the right analysis of intertheoretic reduction. The alleged difficulties of the theory either vanish upon closer inspection or turn out to be substantive philosophical questions rather than knock-down arguments.
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  • Philosophy of the Physical Sciences.Chris Smeenk & Hoefer Carl - 2015 - In Paul Humphreys (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    The authors survey some debates about the nature and structure of physical theories and about the connections between our physical theories and naturalized metaphysics. The discussion is organized around an “ideal view” of physical theories and criticisms that can be raised against it. This view includes controversial commitments regarding the best analysis of physical modalities and intertheory relations. The authors consider the case in favor of taking laws as the primary modal notion, discussing objections related to alleged violations of the (...)
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  • Approximations, Idealizations, and Models in Statistical Mechanics.Chuang Liu - 2004 - Erkenntnis 60 (2):235-263.
    In this paper, a criticism of the traditional theories of approximation and idealization is given as a summary of previous works. After identifying the real purpose and measure of idealization in the practice of science, it is argued that the best way to characterize idealization is not to formulate a logical model – something analogous to Hempel's D-N model for explanation – but to study its different guises in the praxis of science. A case study of it is then made (...)
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  • Fried Eggs, Thermodynamics, and the Special Sciences.Jeffrey Dunn - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (1):71-98.
    David Lewis ([1986b]) gives an attractive and familiar account of counterfactual dependence in the standard context. This account has recently been subject to a counterexample from Adam Elga ([2000]). In this article, I formulate a Lewisian response to Elga’s counterexample. The strategy is to add an extra criterion to Lewis’s similarity metric, which determines the comparative similarity of worlds. This extra criterion instructs us to take special science laws into consideration as well as fundamental laws. I argue that the Second (...)
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  • Objectivity Sans Intelligibility. Hermann Weyl's Symbolic Constructivism.Iulian D. Toader - 2011 - Dissertation, University of Notre Dame
  • Panpsychism and Causation: A New Argument and a Solution to the Combination Problem.Hedda Hassel Mørch - 2014 - Dissertation, Oslo
    Panpsychism is the view that every concrete and unified thing has some form of phenomenal consciousness or experience. It is an age-old doctrine, which, to the surprise of many, has recently taken on new life. In philosophy of mind, it has been put forth as a simple and radical solution to the mind–body problem (Chalmers 1996, 2003;Strawson 2006; Nagel 1979, 2012). In metaphysics and philosophy of science, it has been put forth as a solution to the problem of accounting for (...)
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  • Explaining Thermodynamic-Like Behavior in Terms of Epsilon-Ergodicity.Roman Frigg & Charlotte Werndl - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (4):628-652.
    Gases reach equilibrium when left to themselves. Why do they behave in this way? The canonical answer to this question, originally proffered by Boltzmann, is that the systems have to be ergodic. This answer has been criticised on different grounds and is now widely regarded as flawed. In this paper we argue that some of the main arguments against Boltzmann's answer, in particular, arguments based on the KAM-theorem and the Markus-Meyer theorem, are beside the point. We then argue that something (...)
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  • When Does ‘Folk Psychology’ Count as Folk Psychological?Eric Hochstein - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (4):1125-1147.
    It has commonly been argued that certain types of mental descriptions, specifically those characterized in terms of propositional attitudes, are part of a folk psychological understanding of the mind. Recently, however, it has also been argued that this is the case even when such descriptions are employed as part of scientific theories in domains like social psychology and comparative psychology. In this paper, I argue that there is no plausible way to understand the distinction between folk and scientific psychology that (...)
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  • Can Conditioning on the “Past Hypothesis” Militate Against the Reversibility Objections?Eric Winsberg - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (4):489-504.
    In his recent book, Time and Chance, David Albert claims that by positing that there is a uniform probability distribution defined, on the standard measure, over the space of microscopic states that are compatible with both the current macrocondition of the world, and with what he calls the “past hypothesis”, we can explain the time asymmetry of all of the thermodynamic behavior in the world. The principal purpose of this paper is to dispute this claim. I argue that Albert's proposal (...)
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  • An Alternative Interpretation of Statistical Mechanics.C. D. McCoy - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (1):1-21.
    In this paper I propose an interpretation of classical statistical mechanics that centers on taking seriously the idea that probability measures represent complete states of statistical mechanical systems. I show how this leads naturally to the idea that the stochasticity of statistical mechanics is associated directly with the observables of the theory rather than with the microstates (as traditional accounts would have it). The usual assumption that microstates are representationally significant in the theory is therefore dispensable, a consequence which suggests (...)
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  • Ten Reasons Why a Thermalized System Cannot Be Described by a Many-Particle Wave Function.Barbara Drossel - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 58:12-21.
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  • Stars and Steam Engines: To What Extent Do Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics Apply to Self-Gravitating Systems?Katie Robertson - 2019 - Synthese 196 (5):1783-1808.
    Foundational puzzles surround gravitational thermal physics—a realm in which stars are treated as akin to molecules in a gas. Whether such an enterprise is successful and the domain of thermal physics extends beyond our terrestrial sphere is disputed. There are successes and paradoxical features. Callender :960–981, 2011) advocates reconciling the two sides of the dispute by taking a broader view of thermodynamics. Here I argue for an alternative position: if we are careful in distinguishing statistical mechanics and thermodynamics, then no (...)
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  • Can Somebody Please Say What Gibbsian Statistical Mechanics Says?Roman Frigg & Charlotte Werndl - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axy057.
    Gibbsian statistical mechanics is the most widely used version of statistical mechanics among working physicists. Yet a closer look at GSM reveals that it is unclear what the theory actually says and how it bears on experimental practice. The root cause of the difficulties is the status of the Averaging Principle, the proposition that what we observe in an experiment is the ensemble average of a phase function. We review different stances toward this principle, and eventually present a coherent interpretation (...)
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  • Israeli Society for History and Philosophy of Science 14th Annual Conference.Fabio Ceravolo - 2014 - Rivista Italiana di Filosofia Analitica Junior 5 (1):124-144.
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  • A New Approach to the Approach to Equilibrium.Roman Frigg & Charlotte Werndl - 2012 - In Yemima Ben-Menahem & Meir Hemmo (eds.), Probability in Physics. The Frontiers Collection. Springer. pp. 99-114.
    Consider a gas confined to the left half of a container. Then remove the wall separating the two parts. The gas will start spreading and soon be evenly distributed over the entire available space. The gas has approached equilibrium. Why does the gas behave in this way? The canonical answer to this question, originally proffered by Boltzmann, is that the system has to be ergodic for the approach to equilibrium to take place. This answer has been criticised on different grounds (...)
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  • Inferential Vs. Dynamical Conceptions of Physics.David Wallace - unknown
    I contrast two possible attitudes towards a given branch of physics: as inferential, and as dynamical. I contrast these attitudes in classical statistical mechanics, in quantum mechanics, and in quantum statistical mechanics; in this last case, I argue that the quantum-mechanical and statistical-mechanical aspects of the question become inseparable. Along the way various foundational issues in statistical and quantum physics are illuminated.
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  • The Necessity of Gibbsian Statistical Mechanics.David Wallace - unknown
    In discussions of the foundations of statistical mechanics, it is widely held that the Gibbsian and Boltzmannian approaches are incompatible but empirically equivalent; the Gibbsian approach may be calculationally preferable but only the Boltzmannian approach is conceptually satisfactory. I argue against both assumptions. Gibbsian statistical mechanics is applicable to a wide variety of problems and systems, such as the calculation of transport coefficients and the statistical mechanics and thermodynamics of mesoscopic systems, in which the Boltzmannian approach is inapplicable. And the (...)
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  • On the Explanatory Role of Mathematics in Empirical Science.Robert Batterman - 2010 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (1):1-25.
    This paper examines contemporary attempts to explicate the explanatory role of mathematics in the physical sciences. Most such approaches involve developing so-called mapping accounts of the relationships between the physical world and mathematical structures. The paper argues that the use of idealizations in physical theorizing poses serious difficulties for such mapping accounts. A new approach to the applicability of mathematics is proposed.
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  • What Statistical Mechanics Actually Does.David Wallace - unknown
    I give a brief account of the way in which thermodynamics and statistical mechanics actually work as contemporary scientific theories, and in particular of what statistical mechanics contributes to thermodynamics over and above any supposed underpinning of the latter's general principles. In doing so, I attempt to illustrate that statistical mechanics should not be thought of wholly or even primarily as itself a foundational project for thermodynamics, and that conceiving of it this way potentially distorts the foundational study of statistical (...)
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  • Confirmation and Reduction: A Bayesian Account.Foad Dizadji-Bahmani, Roman Frigg & Stephan Hartmann - 2011 - Synthese 179 (2):321-338.
    Various scientific theories stand in a reductive relation to each other. In a recent article, we have argued that a generalized version of the Nagel-Schaffner model (GNS) is the right account of this relation. In this article, we present a Bayesian analysis of how GNS impacts on confirmation. We formalize the relation between the reducing and the reduced theory before and after the reduction using Bayesian networks, and thereby show that, post-reduction, the two theories are confirmatory of each other. We (...)
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  • Compendium of the Foundations of Classical Statistical Physics.Jos Uffink - unknown
    Roughly speaking, classical statistical physics is the branch of theoretical physics that aims to account for the thermal behaviour of macroscopic bodies in terms of a classical mechanical model of their microscopic constituents, with the help of probabilistic assumptions. In the last century and a half, a fair number of approaches have been developed to meet this aim. This study of their foundations assesses their coherence and analyzes the motivations for their basic assumptions, and the interpretations of their central concepts. (...)
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  • Why Typicality Does Not Explain the Approach to Equilibrium.Roman Frigg - 2011 - In .
    Why do systems prepared in a non-equilibrium state approach, and eventually reach, equilibrium? An important contemporary version of the Boltzmannian approach to statistical mechanics answers this question by an appeal to the notion of typicality. The problem with this approach is that it comes in different versions, which are, however, not recognised as such, much less clearly distinguished, and we often find different arguments pursued side by side. The aim of this paper is to disentangle different versions of typicality-based explanations (...)
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  • Is More Different? Emergent Properties in Physics.Paul Mainwood - unknown
    This thesis gives a philosophical assessment of a contemporary movement, influential amongst physicists, about the status of microscopic and macroscopic properties. The fountainhead for the movement was a short 1972 paper `More is Different', written by the condensed-matter physicist, Philip Anderson. Each of the chapters is concerned with themes mentioned in that paper, or subsequently expounded by Anderson and his followers. In Chapter 1, I aim to locate Anderson's existence claims for `emergent properties' within the metaphysical, epistemological and methodological doctrines (...)
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  • Emergence and Reduction Combined in Phase Transitions.Jeremy Butterfield & Nazim Bouatta - unknown
    In another paper, one of us argued that emergence and reduction are compatible, and presented four examples illustrating both. The main purpose of this paper is to develop this position for the example of phase transitions. We take it that emergence involves behaviour that is novel compared with what is expected: often, what is expected from a theory of the system's microscopic constituents. We take reduction as deduction, aided by appropriate definitions. Then the main idea of our reconciliation of emergence (...)
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  • Hot and Heavy Matters in the Foundations of Statistical Mechanics.Craig Callender - 2011 - Foundations of Physics 41 (6):960-981.
    Are the generalizations of classical equilibrium thermodynamics true of self-gravitating systems? This question has not been addressed from a foundational perspective, but here I tackle it through a study of the “paradoxes” commonly said to afflict such systems. My goals are twofold: (a) to show that the “paradoxes” raise many questions rarely discussed in the philosophical foundations literature, and (b) to counter the idea that these “paradoxes” spell the end for gravitational equilibrium thermodynamics.
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  • Boltzmannian Equilibrium in Stochastic Systems.Charlotte Werndl & Roman Frigg - unknown
    Equilibrium is a central concept of statistical mechanics. In previous work we introduced the notions of a Boltzmannian alpha-epsilon-equilibrium and a Boltzmannian gamma-epsilon-equilibrium. This was done in a deterministic context. We now consider systems with a stochastic micro-dynamics and transfer these notions from the deterministic to the stochastic context. We then prove stochastic equivalents of the Dominance Theorem and the Prevalence Theorem. This establishes that also in stochastic systems equilibrium macro-regions are large in requisite sense.
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  • Equilibrium in Boltzmannian Statistical Mechanics.Roman Frigg & Charlotte Werndl - unknown
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  • Phase Transitions: A Challenge for Reductionism?Patricia Palacios - unknown
    In this paper, I analyze the extent to which classical phase transitions, especially continuous phase transitions, impose a challenge for reduction- ism. My main contention is that classical phase transitions are compatible with reduction, at least with the notion of limiting reduction, which re- lates the behavior of physical quantities in different theories under certain limiting conditions. I argue that this conclusion follows even after rec- ognizing the existence of two infinite limits involved in the treatment of continuous phase transitions.
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  • The Past-Future Asymmetry.Friedel Weinert - unknown
    As the past-future asymmetry – that fact that we have records of the past but not the future – is still a puzzle the aim of this paper is twofold: a) to explain the asymmetry and its status in philosophy and physics and to critically review the proposed solutions to this puzzle; b) to advance a dynamic solution to the puzzle in terms of the ‘universality’ of the entropy relation in statistical mechanics.
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  • When Does a Boltzmannian Equilibrium Exist?Charlotte Werndl & Roman Frigg - 2016 - In Daniel Bedingham, Owen Maroney & Christopher Timpson (eds.), Quantum Foundations of Statistical Mechanics. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press.
    The received wisdom in statistical mechanics is that isolated systems, when left to themselves, approach equilibrium. But under what circumstances does an equilibrium state exist and an approach to equilibrium take place? In this paper we address these questions from the vantage point of the long-run fraction of time definition of Boltzmannian equilibrium that we developed in two recent papers. After a short summary of Boltzmannian statistical mechanics and our definition of equilibrium, we state an existence theorem which provides general (...)
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  • On Nonequilibrium Statistical Mechanics.M. Luczak Joshua - unknown
    This thesis makes the issue of reconciling the existence of thermodynamically irreversible processes with underlying reversible dynamics clear, so as to help explain what philosophers mean when they say that an aim of nonequilibrium statistical mechanics is to underpin aspects of thermodynamics. Many of the leading attempts to reconcile the existence of thermodynamically irreversible processes with underlying reversible dynamics proceed by way of discussions that attempt to underpin the following qualitative facts: that isolated macroscopic systems that begin away from equilibrium (...)
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  • The Emergence of Macroscopic Regularity.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2015 - Mind and Society 14 (2):221-244.
    Special sciences (such as biology, psychology, economics) describe various regularities holding at some high macroscopic level. One of the central questions concerning these macroscopic regularities is how they are related to the laws of physics governing the underlying microscopic physical reality. In this paper we show how a macroscopic regularity may emerge from an underlying micro- scopic structure, and how the appearance of multiple realizability of the special sciences by physics comes about in a reductionist-physicalist framework. On this basis we (...)
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  • Reduction and the Neighbourhood of Theories: A New Approach to the Intertheoretic Relations in Physics.Rico Gutschmidt - 2014 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 45 (1):49-70.
    This paper proposes a classification of the intertheoretic relations in physics by bringing out the conditions for a relation of reduction which is eliminative, so that a theory reduced in terms of reductionism is superfluous in principle, and by distinguishing such a relation from another one based on comparison, which will be called neighbourhood of theories; the latter is a neighbouring relation between theories and is not able to support claims of eliminative reductionism. In the first part, it will be (...)
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  • Two Approaches to Fractional Statistics in the Quantum Hall Effect: Idealizations and the Curious Case of the Anyon.Elay Shech - 2015 - Foundations of Physics 45 (9):1063-1100.
    This paper looks at the nature of idealizations and representational structures appealed to in the context of the fractional quantum Hall effect, specifically, with respect to the emergence of anyons and fractional statistics. Drawing on an analogy with the Aharonov–Bohm effect, it is suggested that the standard approach to the effects— the topological approach to fractional statistics—relies essentially on problematic idealizations that need to be revised in order for the theory to be explanatory. An alternative geometric approach is outlined and (...)
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  • Pristinism Under Pressure: Ruetsche on the Interpretation of Quantum Theories: Laura Ruetsche, Interpreting Quantum Theories, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2011, Xvii+379 Pp. [REVIEW]Simon Friederich - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (5):1205-1212.
    Review of Laura Ruetsche's book "Interpreting Quantum Theories".
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  • Toward an Understanding of Parochial Observables.Benjamin Feintzeig - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (1):161-191.
    ABSTRACT Ruetsche claims that an abstract C*-algebra of observables will not contain all of the physically significant observables for a quantum system with infinitely many degrees of freedom. This would signal that in addition to the abstract algebra, one must use Hilbert space representations for some purposes. I argue to the contrary that there is a way to recover all of the physically significant observables by purely algebraic methods. 1Introduction 2Preliminaries 3Three Extremist Interpretations 3.1Algebraic imperialism 3.2Hilbert space conservatism 3.3Universalism 4Parochial (...)
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  • Toward an Understanding of Parochial Observables.Benjamin Feintzeig - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axw010.
    Ruetsche claims that an abstract C*-algebra of observables will not contain all of the physically significant observables for a quantum system with infinitely many degrees of freedom. This would signal that in addition to the abstract algebra, one must use Hilbert space representations for some purposes. I argue to the contrary that there is a way to recover all of the physically significant observables by purely algebraic methods. 1 Introduction2 Preliminaries3 Three Extremist Interpretations3.1 Algebraic imperialism3.2 Hilbert space conservatism3.3 Universalism4 Parochial (...)
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  • What Does History Matter to Philosophy of Physics?Thomas Ryckman - 2011 - Journal of the Philosophy of History 5 (3):496-512.
    Naturalized metaphysics remains a default presupposition of much contemporary philosophy of physics. As metaphysics is supposed to be about the general structure of reality, so a naturalized metaphysics draws upon our best physical theories: Assuming the truth of such a theory, it attempts to answer the “foundational question par excellence “, “how could the world possibly be the way this theory says it is?“ It is argued that attention to historical detail in the development and formulation of physical theories serves (...)
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