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  1. Fundamentality, Effectiveness, and Objectivity of Gauge Symmetries.Aldo Filomeno - 2016 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 30 (1):19-37.
    Much recent philosophy of physics has investigated the process of symmetry breaking. Here, I critically assess the alleged symmetry restoration at the fundamental scale. I draw attention to the contingency that gauge symmetries exhibit, that is, the fact that they have been chosen from an infinite space of possibilities. I appeal to this feature of group theory to argue that any metaphysical account of fundamental laws that expects symmetry restoration up to the fundamental level is not fully satisfactory. This is (...)
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  • Emergence in Solid State Physics and Biology.George F. R. Ellis - 2020 - Foundations of Physics 50 (10):1098-1139.
    There has been much controversy over weak and strong emergence in physics and biology. As pointed out by Phil Anderson in many papers, the existence of broken symmetries is the key to emergence of properties in much of solid state physics. By carefully distinguishing between different types of symmetry breaking and tracing the relation between broken symmetries at micro and macro scales, I demonstrate that the emergence of the properties of semiconductors is a case of strong emergence. This is due (...)
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  • Whence the Effectiveness of Effective Field Theories?Alexander Franklin - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (4):1235-1259.
    Effective quantum field theories are effective insofar as they apply within a prescribed range of length-scales, but within that range they predict and describe with extremely high accuracy and precision. The effectiveness of EFTs is explained by identifying the features—the scaling behaviour of the parameters—that lead to effectiveness. The explanation relies on distinguishing autonomy with respect to changes in microstates, from autonomy with respect to changes in microlaws, and relating these, respectively, to renormalizability and naturalness. It is claimed that the (...)
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  • Reduction, Emergence, and Renormalization.Jeremy Butterfield - 2014 - Journal of Philosophy 111 (1):5-49.
    In previous work, I described several examples combining reduction and emergence: where reduction is understood a la Ernest Nagel, and emergence is understood as behaviour that is novel. Here, my aim is again to reconcile reduction and emergence, for a case which is apparently more problematic than those I treated before: renormalization. My main point is that renormalizability being a generic feature at accessible energies gives us a conceptually unified family of Nagelian reductions. That is worth saying since philosophers tend (...)
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  • Reductionism and the Irreducibility of Consciousness.John R. Searle - 1997 - In Owen J. Flanagan, Ned Block & Guven Guzeldere (eds.), The Nature of Consciousness. MIT Press.
  • Structuralism in the Idiom of Determination.Kerry McKenzie - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (2):497-522.
    Ontic structural realism is a thesis of fundamentality metaphysics: the thesis that structure, not objects, has fundamental status. Claimed as the metaphysic most befitting of modern physics, OSR first emerged as an entreaty to eliminate objects from the metaphysics of fundamental physics. Such elimination was urged by Steven French and James Ladyman on the grounds that only it could resolve the ‘underdetermination of metaphysics by physics’ that they claimed reduced any putative objectual commitment to a merely ‘ersatz’ form of realism. (...)
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  • Simplified Models: A Different Perspective on Models as Mediators.C. D. McCoy & Michela Massimi - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (1):99-123.
    We introduce a novel point of view on the “models as mediators” framework in order to emphasize certain important epistemological questions about models in science which have so far been little investigated. To illustrate how this perspective can help answer these kinds of questions, we explore the use of simplified models in high energy physics research beyond the Standard Model. We show in detail how the construction of simplified models is grounded in the need to mitigate pressing epistemic problems concerning (...)
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  • In Defence of Naiveté: The Conceptual Status of Lagrangian Quantum Field Theory.David Wallace - 2006 - Synthese 151 (1):33-80.
    I analyse the conceptual and mathematical foundations of Lagrangian quantum field theory (QFT) (that is, the ‘naive’ (QFT) used in mainstream physics, as opposed to algebraic quantum field theory). The objective is to see whether Lagrangian (QFT) has a sufficiently firm conceptual and mathematical basis to be a legitimate object of foundational study, or whether it is too ill-defined. The analysis covers renormalisation and infinities, inequivalent representations, and the concept of localised states; the conclusion is that Lagrangian QFT (at least (...)
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  • Structural Modeling Error and the System Individuation Problem.Jon Lawhead - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Recent work by Frigg et. al. and Mayo-Wilson have called attention to a particular sort of error associated with attempts to model certain complex systems: structural modeling error. The assessment of the degree of SME in a model presupposes agreement between modelers about the best way to individuate natural systems, an agreement which can be more problematic than it appears. This problem, which we dub “the system individuation problem” arises in many of the same contexts as SME, and the two (...)
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  • Appearing Out of Nowhere: The Emergence of Spacetime in Quantum Gravity.Karen Crowther - 2014 - Dissertation, University of Sydney
    Quantum gravity is understood as a theory that, in some sense, unifies general relativity (GR) and quantum theory, and is supposed to replace GR at extremely small distances (high-energies). It may be that quantum gravity represents the breakdown of spacetime geometry described by GR. The relationship between quantum gravity and spacetime has been deemed ``emergence'', and the aim of this thesis is to investigate and explicate this relation. After finding traditional philosophical accounts of emergence to be inappropriate, I develop a (...)
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  • Interpreting Quantum Gravity.Dean Rickles - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 36 (4):691-715.
    This is an essay review of two textbooks on quantum gravity by Carlo Rovelli and Claus Kiefer.
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  • Condensed Matter Physics and the Nature of Spacetime.Jonathan Bain - 2007
    This essay considers the prospects of modeling spacetime as a phenomenon that emerges in the low-energy limit of a quantum liquid. It evaluates three examples of spacetime analogues in condensed matter systems that have appeared in the recent physics literature, indicating the extent to which they are viable, and considers what they suggest about the nature of spacetime.
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  • Why Interpret Quantum Physics?Edward MacKinnon - 2016 - Open Journal of Philosophy 6 (1):86-102.
    This article probes the question of what interpretations of quantum mechanics actually accomplish. In other domains, which are briefly considered, interpretations serve to make alien systematizations intelligible to us. This often involves clarifying the status of their implicit ontology. A survey of interpretations of non-relativistic quantum mechanics supports the evaluation that these interpretations make a contribution to philosophy, but not to physics. Interpretations of quantum field theory are polarized by the divergence between the Lagrangian field theory that led to the (...)
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  • The Interpretation of String Dualities.Dean Rickles - unknown
    Many of the advances in string theory have been generated by the discovery of new duality symmetries connecting what were once thought to be distinct theories, solu- tions, processes, backgrounds, and more. Indeed, duality has played an enormously important role in the creation and development of numerous theories in physics and numerous fields of mathematics. Dualities often lie at those fruitful intersections at which mathematics and physics are especially strongly intertwined. In this paper I describe some of these dualities and (...)
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  • Decoupling Emergence and Reduction in Physics.Karen Crowther - 2015 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 5 (3):419-445.
    An effective theory in physics is one that is supposed to apply only at a given length scale; the framework of effective field theory describes a ‘tower’ of theories each applying at different length scales, where each ‘level’ up is a shorter-scale theory. Owing to subtlety regarding the use and necessity of EFTs, a conception of emergence defined in terms of reduction is irrelevant. I present a case for decoupling emergence and reduction in the philosophy of physics. This paper develops (...)
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  • Downward Causation Without Foundations.Michel Bitbol - 2012 - Synthese 185 (2):233-255.
    Emergence is interpreted in a non-dualist framework of thought. No metaphysical distinction between the higher and basic levels of organization is supposed, but only a duality of modes of access. Moreover, these modes of access are not construed as mere ways of revealing intrinsic patterns of organization: They are supposed to be constitutive of them, in Kant’s sense. The emergent levels of organization, and the inter-level causations as well, are therefore neither illusory nor ontologically real: They are objective in the (...)
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  • How (Not) to Be a Reductionist in a Complex Universe.Karola Stotz - unknown
    This paper understands reductionism as a relation between explanations, not theories. It argues that knowledge of the micro-level behavior of the components of systems is necessary, but only combined with a full specification of the contingent context sufficient for a full explanation of systems phenomena. The paper takes seriously fundamental principles independent and transcendent of the laws of quantum mechanics that govern most of real-world phenomena. It will conclude in showing how the recent postgenomic revolution, taking seriously the physical principle (...)
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  • Structural Realism and Quantum Gravity.Tian Yu Cao - 2006 - In Dean Rickles, Steven French & Juha Saatsi (eds.), The Structural Foundations of Quantum Gravity. Oxford University Press.
  • Against Brute Fundamentalism.Kerry McKenzie - 2017 - Dialectica 71 (2):231-261.
    In metaphysics, the fundamental is standardly equated with that which has no explana- tion – with that which is, in other words, ‘brute’. But this doctrine of brutalism is in tension with physicists’ ambitions to not only describe but also explain why the fundamental is as it is. The tension would ease were science taken to be incapable of furnishing the sort of explanations that brutalism is concerned with, given that these are understood to be dis- tinctively ‘metaphysical’ in character. (...)
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  • Schwinger and the Ontology of Quantum Field Theory.Edward MacKinnon - 2007 - Foundations of Science 12 (4):295-323.
    An epistemological interpretation of quantum mechanics hinges on the claim that the distinctive features of quantum mechanics can be derived from some distinctive features of an observational basis. Old and new variations of this theme are listed. The program has a limited success in non-relativistic quantum mechanics. The crucial issue is how far it can be extended to quantum field theory without introducing significant ontological postulates. A C*-formulation covers algebraic quantum field theory, but not the standard model. Julian Schwinger’s anabatic (...)
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  • Ontology, Matter and Emergence.Michel Bitbol - 2007 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (3):293-307.
    “Ontological emergence” of inherent high-level properties with causal powers is witnessed nowhere. A non-substantialist conception of emergence works much better. It allows downward causation, provided our concept of causality is transformed accordingly.
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  • Autonomous Patterns and Scientific Realism.Katherine Brading - 2010 - Philosophy of Science 77 (5):827-839.
  • Naturalness, the Autonomy of Scales, and the 125GeV Higgs.Porter Williams - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 51:82-96.
    The recent discovery of the Higgs at 125 GeV by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the LHC has put significant pressure on a principle which has guided much theorizing in high energy physics over the last 40 years, the principle of naturalness. In this paper, I provide an explication of the conceptual foundations and physical significance of the naturalness principle. I argue that the naturalness principle is well-grounded both empirically and in the theoretical structure of effective field theories, and (...)
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  • The Role of a Posteriori Mathematics in Physics.Edward MacKinnon - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 62:166-175.
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  • The Case of the Composite Higgs: The Model as a “Rosetta Stone” in Contemporary High-Energy Physics.Arianna Borrelli - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 43 (3):195-214.
    This paper analyses the practice of model-building “beyond the Standard Model” in contemporary high-energy physics and argues that its epistemic function can be grasped by regarding models as mediating between the phenomenology of the Standard Model and a number of “theoretical cores” of hybrid character, in which mathematical structures are combined with verbal narratives and analogies referring back to empirical results in other fields . Borrowing a metaphor from a physics research paper, model-building is likened to the search for a (...)
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  • Relativities of Fundamentality.Kerry McKenzie - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 59:89-99.
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  • Emergent Spacetime According to Effective Field Theory: From Top-Down and Bottom-Up.Karen Crowther - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (3):321-328.
    The framework of effective field theory is a natural one in which to understand the claim that the spacetime of general relativity is an emergent low-energy phenomenon. I argue for a pragmatic understanding of EFT, given that the appropriate conception of emergence it suggests is necessarily epistemological in a sense. Analogue models of spacetime are examples of the top-down approach to EFT. They offer concrete illustrations of spacetime emergent within an EFT, and lure us toward a strong analogy between condensed (...)
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  • A Philosopher Looks at String Dualities.Dean Rickles - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 42 (1):54-67.