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  1.  15
    Scientific Realism and Primordial Cosmology.Feraz Azhar & Jeremy Butterfield - unknown
    We discuss scientific realism from the perspective of modern cosmology, especially primordial cosmology: i.e. the cosmological investigation of the very early universe. We first state our allegiance to scientific realism, and discuss what insights about it cosmology might yield, as against "just" supplying scientific claims that philosophers can then evaluate. In particular, we discuss: the idea of laws of cosmology, and limitations on ascertaining the global structure of spacetime. Then we review some of what is now known about the early (...)
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  2.  8
    Gauging Fine-Tuning.Feraz Azhar & Abraham Loeb - unknown
    We introduce a mathematical framework for quantifying fine-tuning in general physical settings. In particular, we identify two distinct perspectives on fine-tuning, namely, a local and a global perspective --- and develop corresponding measures. These measures apply broadly to settings characterized by an arbitrary number of observables whose values are dependent on an arbitrary number of parameters. We illustrate our formalism by quantifying fine-tuning as it arises in two pertinent astrophysical settings: in models where a significant fraction of the dark matter (...)
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  3.  17
    Three Aspects of Typicality in Multiverse Cosmology.Feraz Azhar - unknown
    Extracting predictions from cosmological theories that describe a multiverse, for what we are likely to observe in our domain, is crucial to establishing the validity of these theories. One way to extract such predictions is from theory-generated probability distributions that allow for selection effects---generally expressed in terms of assumptions about anthropic conditionalization and how typical we are. In this paper, I urge three lessons about typicality in multiverse settings. Because it is difficult to characterize our observational situation in the multiverse, (...)
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  4.  5
    Flows Into Inflation: An Effective Field Theory Approach.Feraz Azhar & David I. Kaiser - 2018 - Physical Review D 98 (6).
    We analyze the flow into inflation for generic "single-clock" systems, by combining an effective field theory approach with a dynamical-systems analysis. In this approach, we construct an expansion for the potential-like term in the effective action as a function of time, rather than specifying a particular functional dependence on a scalar field. We may then identify fixed points in the effective phase space for such systems, order-by-order, as various constraints are placed on the Mth time derivative of the potential-like function. (...)
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  5.  18
    Spectra of Conditionalization and Typicality in the Multiverse.Feraz Azhar - unknown
    An approach to testing theories describing a multiverse, that has gained interest of late, involves comparing theory-generated probability distributions over observables with their experimentally measured values. It is likely that such distributions, were we indeed able to calculate them unambiguously, will assign low probabilities to any such experimental measurements. An alternative to thereby rejecting these theories, is to conditionalize the distributions involved by restricting attention to domains of the multiverse in which we might arise. In order to elicit a crisp (...)
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  6.  16
    Polytopes as Vehicles of Informational Content in Feedforward Neural Networks.Feraz Azhar - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (5):697-716.
    Localizing content in neural networks provides a bridge to understanding the way in which the brain stores and processes information. In this paper, I propose the existence of polytopes in the state space of the hidden layer of feedforward neural networks as vehicles of content. I analyze these geometrical structures from an information-theoretic point of view, invoking mutual information to help define the content stored within them. I establish how this proposal addresses the problem of misclassification and provide a novel (...)
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  7.  13
    Testing Typicality in Multiverse Cosmology.Feraz Azhar - unknown
    In extracting predictions from theories that describe a multiverse, we face the difficulty that we must assess probability distributions over possible observations, prescribed not just by an underlying theory, but by a theory together with a conditionalization scheme that allows for selection effects. This means we usually need to compare distributions that are consistent with a broad range of possible observations, with actual experimental data. One controversial means of making this comparison is by invoking the 'principle of mediocrity': that is, (...)
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  8.  11
    Prediction and Typicality in Multiverse Cosmology.Feraz Azhar - unknown
    In the absence of a fundamental theory that precisely predicts values for observable parameters, anthropic reasoning attempts to constrain probability distributions over those parameters in order to facilitate the extraction of testable predictions. The utility of this approach has been vigorously debated of late, particularly in light of theories that claim we live in a multiverse, where parameters may take differing values in regions lying outside our observable horizon. Within this cosmological framework, we investigate the efficacy of top-down anthropic reasoning (...)
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  9.  9
    Polytopes as Vehicles of Informational Content in Feedforward Neural Networks.Feraz Azhar - unknown
    Localizing content in neural networks provides a bridge to understanding the way in which the brain stores and processes information. In this paper, I propose the existence of polytopes in the state space of the hidden layer of feedforward neural networks as vehicles of content. I analyze these geometrical structures from an information-theoretic point of view, invoking mutual information to help define the content stored within them. I establish how this proposal addresses the problem of misclassification, and provide a novel (...)
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