This paper follows up a debate as to whether classical electrodynamics is inconsistent. Mathias Frisch makes the claim in Inconsistency, Asymmetry and Non-Locality (), but this has been quickly countered by F. A. Muller () and Gordon Belot (). Here I argue that both Muller and Belot fail to connect with the background assumptions that support Frisch's claim. Responding to Belot I explicate Frisch's position in more detail, before providing my own criticisms. Correcting Frisch's position, I (...) find that I can present the theory in a way both authors can agree upon. Differences then manifest themselves purely within the reasoning methods employed. Introduction Features of the Theory Frisch's Inconsistency Claim Defending Frisch 4.1 Muller 4.2 Belot Difficulties for Frisch and a Compromise Conclusion CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Mathias Frisch provides the first sustained philosophical discussion of conceptual problems in classical particle-field theories. Part of the book focuses on the problem of a satisfactory equation of motion for charged particles interacting with electromagnetic fields. As Frisch shows, the standard equation of motion results in a mathematically inconsistent theory, yet there is no fully consistent and conceptually unproblematic alternative theory. Frisch describes in detail how the search for a fundamental equation of motion is partly driven by (...) pragmatic considerations (like simplicity and mathematical tractability) that can override the aim for full consistency. The book also offers a comprehensive review and criticism of both the physical and philosophical literature on the temporal asymmetry exhibited by electromagnetic radiation fields, including Einstein's discussion of the asymmetry and Wheeler and Feynman's influential absorber theory of radiation. Frisch argues that attempts to derive the asymmetry from thermodynamic or cosmological considerations fail and proposes that we should understand the asymmetry as due to a fundamental causal constraint. The book's overarching philosophical thesis is that standard philosophical accounts that strictly identify scientific theories with a mathematical formalism and a mapping function specifying the theory's ontology are inadequate, since they permit neither inconsistent yet genuinely successful theories nor thick causal notions to be part of fundamental physics. (shrink)
In order to motivate the thesis that there is no single concept of causation that can do justice to all of our core intuitions concerning that concept, Ned Hall has argued that there is a conflict between a counterfactual criterion of causation and the condition of causal locality. In this paper I critically examine Hall's argument within the context of a more general discussion of the role of locality constraints in a causal conception of the world. I present two strategies (...) that defenders of counterfactual accounts of causation can pursue to respond to Hall's challenge?including the adoption of a counterfactual condition that is sufficient for causal action-at-a-distance in place of Hall's ?process? condition?and conclude that Hall's argument against counterfactual accounts of causation is unsuccessful. (shrink)
Albert provides a sketch of an entropy account of the causal and counterfactual asymmetries. This paper critically examines a proposal that may be thought to fill in some of the lacunae in Albert’s account.
Much has been written on the role of causal notions and causal reasoning in the so-called 'special sciences' and in common sense. But does causal reasoning also play a role in physics? Mathias Frisch argues that, contrary to what influential philosophical arguments purport to show, the answer is yes. Time-asymmetric causal structures are as integral a part of the representational toolkit of physics as a theory's dynamical equations. Frisch develops his argument partly through a critique of anti-causal arguments (...) and partly through a detailed examination of actual examples of causal notions in physics, including causal principles invoked in linear response theory and in representations of radiation phenomena. Offering a new perspective on the nature of scientific theories and causal reasoning, this book will be of interest to professional philosophers, graduate students, and anyone interested in the role of causal thinking in science. (shrink)
As the record-breaking heat of 2016 continues into 2017, making it likely that 2017 will be the second hottest year on record just behind the El Niño year 2016, and as Arctic heat waves pushing the sea ice extent to record lows are mirrored by large scale sheets of meltwater and even rain in Antarctica—the Trump administration is taking dramatic steps to undo the Obama administration’s climate legacy.In its final years, the Obama administration pursued two principal strategies toward climate policy. (...) First, by signing the Paris Accord it committed the U.S. to contribute to global efforts to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to... (shrink)
In economics, thought experiments are frequently justified by the difficulty of conducting controlled experiments. They serve several functions, such as establishing causal facts, isolating tendencies, and allowing inferences from models to reality. In this paper, I argue that thought experiments served a further function in economics: facilitating the quantitative definition and measurement of the theoretical concept of utility, thereby bridging the gap between theory and statistical data. I support my argument by a case study, the “hypothetical experiments” of the Norwegian (...) economist Ragnar Frisch (1895-1973). Frisch aimed to eliminate introspection and a subjective concept of utility from economic reasoning. At the same time, he sought behavioral foundations for economic theory that enabled quantitative reasoning. By using thought experiments to justify his set of choice axioms and facilitating the operationalization of utility, Frisch circumvented the problem of observing utility via actual experiments without eliminating the concept of utility from economic theory altogether. As such, these experiments helped Frisch to empirically support the theory’s most important results, such as the laws of demand and supply, without the input of new empirical findings. I suggest that Frisch’s experiments fulfill the main characteristics of thought experiments. (shrink)
In Frisch 2004 and 2005 I showed that the standard ways of modeling particle-field interactions in classical electrodynamics, which exclude the interactions of a particle with its own field, results in a formal inconsistency, and I argued that attempts to include the self-field lead to numerous conceptual problems. In this paper I respond to criticism of my account in Belot 2007 and Muller 2007. I concede that this inconsistency in itself is less telling than I suggested earlier but argue (...) that existing solutions to the theory's foundational problems do not support the kind of traditional philosophical conception of scientific theorizing defended by Muller and Belot. *Received January 2007; revised October 2007. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Maryland, Skinner Building, College Park, MD 20742; e-mail: [email protected] (shrink)
Ethical leadership has become a thriving research field. However, on reviewing previous research, we argue that several fundamental questions remain unclear and need further investigation. Ethical leaders are defined as behaving ‘normatively appropriate[ly]’ :117–134, 2005), but it remains unclear what this entails. What specific behaviours does an ethical leader show? To date, ethical leadership has focused primarily on leader behaviour towards employees. Which stakeholders apart from employees are important to the ethical leader, and what kind of ethical behaviour does the (...) ethical leader show towards them? What are further antecedents and consequences of ethical leadership? We addressed these questions by qualitatively analysing interviews with 17, mostly Swiss, executive ethical leaders. The results indicate that executive ethical leaders care not only about employees but also about other stakeholders, such as customers, suppliers, owners of companies, the natural environment and society. Additionally, this study identified a broad range of executive ethical leaders’ behaviours towards these stakeholders, and, therefore, may function as a useful resource for future quantitative studies. Furthermore, we identified several antecedents of executive ethical leadership, for example ethical role models, business strategy and owner’s values, and consequences such as effects on other stakeholders than employees. Finally, our results shed more light on the processes of ethical guidance of employees. Managerial implications and avenues for further research are discussed. (shrink)
According to a widespread view, which can be traced back to Russell’s famous attack on the notion of cause, causal notions have no legitimate role to play in how mature physical theories represent the world. In this paper I first critically examine a number of arguments for this view that center on the asymmetry of the causal relation and argue that none of them succeed. I then argue that embedding the dynamical models of a theory into richer causal structures can (...) allow us to decide between models in cases where our observational data severely underdetermine our choice of dynamical models. (shrink)
In recent work on the foundations of statistical mechanics and the arrow of time, Barry Loewer and David Albert have developed a view that defends both a best system account of laws and a physicalist fundamentalism. I argue that there is a tension between their account of laws, which emphasizes the pragmatic element in assessing the relative strength of different deductive systems, and their reductivism or funda- mentalism. If we take the pragmatic dimension in their account seriously, then the laws (...) of the special sciences should be part of our best explanatory system of the world, as well. (shrink)
I examine Harvey Brown’s account of relativity as dynamic and constructive theory and Michel Janssen recent criticism of it. By contrasting Einstein’s principle-constructive distinction with a related distinction by Lorentz, I argue that Einstein's distinction presents a false dichotomy. Appealing to Lorentz’s distinction, I argue that there is less of a disagreement between Brown and Janssen than appears initially and, hence, that Brown’s view presents less of a departure from orthodoxy than it may seem. Neither the kinematics-dynamics distinction nor Einstein’s (...) principle- and constructive theory distinction ultimately capture their disagreement, which may instead be a disagreement about the role of modality in science and the explanatory force of putatively nomic constraints. (shrink)
Many climate scientists have made claims that may suggest that evidence used in tuning or calibrating a climate model cannot be used to evaluate the model. By contrast, the philosophers Katie Steele and Charlotte Werndl have argued that, at least within the context of Bayesian confirmation theory, tuning is simply an instance of hypothesis testing. In this paper I argue for a weak predictivism and in support of a nuanced reading of climate scientists’ concerns about tuning: there are cases, model-tuning (...) among them, in which predictive successes are more highly confirmatory of a model than accommodation of evidence. (shrink)
According to a view widely held among philosophers of science, the notion of cause has no legitimate role to play in mature theories of physics. In this paper I investigate the role of what physicists themselves identify as causal principles in the derivation of dispersion relations. I argue that this case study constitutes a counterexample to the popular view and that causal principles can function as genuine factual constraints. Introduction Causality and Dispersion Relations Norton's Skepticism Conclusion.
I show that Albert Einstein’s distinction between principle and constructive theories was predated by Hendrik A. Lorentz’s equivalent distinction between mechanism- and principle-theories. I further argue that Lorentz’s views toward realism similarly prefigure what Arthur Fine identified as Einstein’s ‘‘motivational realism.’’ r 2005 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
This article develops theory on responsible leadership based on a model involving three leadership roles: an expert who displays organizational expertise, a facilitator who cares for and motivates employees and a citizen who considers the consequences of her or his decisions for society. It draws on previous responsible leadership research, stakeholder theory and theories of behavioral complexity to conceptualize the roles model of responsible leadership. Responsible leadership is positioned as a concept that requires leaders to show behavioral complexity in addressing (...) all three roles. In three studies, we provide a first empirical test of antecedents and outcomes of the roles model of responsible leadership. The results of the studies indicate that responsible leadership is positively related to the leader’s perceived effectiveness, favorable stakeholder evaluations and employee engagement with the organization and society. Responsible leadership behavior, in turn, seems to be facilitated by leader empathy, positive affect and universal value orientation. (shrink)
David Albert and Barry Loewer have argued that the temporal asymmetry of our concept of causal influence or control is grounded in the statistical mechanical assumption of a low-entropy past. In this paper I critically examine Albert's and Loewer 's accounts.
In 1967, American biologist Adrian Wenner (1928-) launched an extensive challenge to Karl von Frisch's (1886-1982) theory that bees communicate to each other the direction and distance of food sources by a symbolic dance language. Wenner and various collaborators argued that bees locate foods solely by odors. Although the dispute had largely run its course by 1973 -- von Frisch was awarded a Nobel Prize, while Wenner withdrew from active bee research -- it offers us a rare window (...) into mid-twentieth century discussions about animals, language, and cognition. Historians, sociologists, and scientists have commented on the debate and its outcome, but none has seriously questioned why von Frisch and Wenner pursued such different explanations of the bees' dances. In this paper, I explore von Frisch and Wenner's differing visions of animals and their behaviors and show how these contributed to their respective positions. Von Frisch's early-twentieth-century training in experimental physiology disposed him to focus on individual animals, their abilities, and their behaviors' evolutionary significance. Wenner, by contrast, was trained in mathematics and statistics and the Schneirla school of behavior. He viewed the bees' behaviors probabilistically with an eye toward the entire hive and its surroundings and ultimately explained them in terms of simple stimulus--response conditioning. Finally, while the debate was resolved in von Frisch's favor, he neither waged nor won the battle by himself. Instead, I show that practitioners, whose agendas ranged from the nascent fields of sociobiology to cognitive ethology, took up the cause of the communicating bees. (shrink)
Models not only represent but may also influence their targets in important ways. While models’ abilities to influence outcomes has been studied in the context of economic models, often under the label ‘performativity’, we argue that this phenomenon also pertains to epidemiological models, such as those used for forecasting the trajectory of the Covid-19 pandemic. After identifying three ways in which a model by the Covid-19 Response Team at Imperial College London may have influenced scientific advice, policy, and individual responses, (...) we consider the implications of epidemiological models’ performative capacities. We argue, first, that performativity may impair models’ ability to successfully predict the course of an epidemic; but second, that it may provide an additional sense in which these models can be successful, namely by changing the course of an epidemic. (shrink)
I criticize two accounts of the temporal asymmetry of electromagnetic radiation - that of Huw Price, whose account centrally involves a reinterpretation of Wheeler and Feynman's infinite absorber theory, and that of Dieter Zeh. I then offer some reasons for thinking that the purported puzzle of the arrow of radiation does not present a genuine puzzle in need of a solution.
I show that the standard approach to modeling phenomena involving microscopic classical electrodynamics is mathematically inconsistent. I argue that there is no conceptually unproblematic and consistent theory covering the same phenomena to which this inconsistent theory can be thought of as an approximation; and I propose a set of conditions for the acceptability of inconsistent theories.
In this paper I propose a reasonably sharp formulation of the temporal asymmetry of radiation. I criticize accounts that propose to derive the asymmetry from a low-entropy assumption characterizing the state of the early universe and argue that these accounts fail, since they presuppose the very asymmetry they are intended to derive. r 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Classical dispersion relations are derived from a time-asymmetric constraint. I argue that the standard causal interpretation of this constraint plays a scientifically legitimate role in dispersion theory, and hence provides a counterexample to the causal skepticism advanced by John Norton and others. Norton () argues that the causal interpretation of the time-asymmetric constraint is an empty honorific and that the constraint can be motivated by purely non-causal considerations. In this paper I respond to Norton's criticisms and argue that Norton's skepticism (...) derives its force partly by holding causal principles to a standard too high to be met by other scientifically legitimate constraints. (shrink)
Climate change presents us with a problem of intergenerational justice. While any costs associated with climate change mitigation measures will have to be borne by the world’s present generation, the main beneficiaries of mitigation measures will be future generations. This raises the question to what extent present generations have a responsibility to shoulder these costs. One influential approach for addressing this question is to appeal to neo-classical economic cost–benefit analyses and so-called economy-climate “integrated assessment models” to determine what course of (...) action a principle of intergenerational welfare maximization would require of us. I critically examine a range of problems for this approach. First, integrated assessment models face a problem of underdetermination and induction: They are very sensitive to a number of highly conjectural assumptions about economic responses to a temperature and climate regime, for which we have no empirical evidence. Second, they involve several simplifying assumptions which cannot be justified empirically. And third, some of the assumptions underlying the construction of economic models are intrinsically normative assumptions that reflect value judgments of the modeler. I conclude that, while integrated assessment models may play a useful role as “toy models,” their use as tools for policy optimization is highly problematic. (shrink)
This article defends a pragmatic and structuralist account of scientific representation of the kind recently proposed by Bas van Fraassen against criticisms of both the structuralist and the pragmatist plank of the account. I argue that the account appears to have the unacceptable consequence that the domain of a theory is restricted to phenomena for which we actually have constructed a model—a worry arising from the account’s pragmatism, which is exacerbated by its structuralism. Yet, the account has the resources, at (...) least partially, to address the worry. What remains as implication is a strong anti-foundationalism. 1 Introduction2 ‘No Representation without Representer’3 Representational Structuralism3.1 Do structural models need to be concretely fitted out?3.2 The triviality objection4 Anti-foundationalism5 Conclusion. (shrink)
This book is a stimulating and engaging discussion of philosophical issues in the foundations of classical electromagnetism. In the rst half, Frisch argues against the standard conception of the theory as consistent and local. The second half is devoted to the puzzle of the arrow of radiation: the fact that waves behave asymmetrically in time, though the laws governing their evolution are temporally symmetric. The book is worthwhile for anyone interested in understanding the physical theory of electromagnetism, as well (...) for the views it presents on philosophical issues such as causation, counterfactuals, laws, scienti c theories, models, and explanation. While philosophers of physics tend to focus on quantum mechanics and relativity, Frisch’s book shows that there are deep foundational issues in classical physics, equally worthy of attention. That said, let me lodge disagreement on some key points. Frisch argues from an alleged inconsistency in classical electromagnetism— that Maxwell’s equations, the Lorentz force law, and the conservation of energy cannot be jointly true—to the conclusion that the standard view of scienti c theories as a formalism plus an interpretation is incorrect. Consistency is a necessary condition of any view on which scienti c theories give us an account of “ways the world could be” (Frisch, , ). Since classical electromagnetism is successfully used by practicing physicists, consistency must be just one criterion of theory choice weighed equally among others. This is an intriguing idea, but I am not sure that consistency can be given up so easily. That road leads dangerously close to accepting orthodox ‘Copenhagen’ quantum mechanics. Surely the inconsistency of.. (shrink)
I discuss two case studies from classical electrodynamics challenging the distinction between laws that delineate physically possible words and initial conditions. First, for many reasonable initial conditions there exist no global solutions to the Maxwell‐Lorentz equations for continuous charge distributions. Second, in deriving an equation of motion for a charged point particle one needs to invoke an asymptotic condition that seems to express a physically contingent fact even though it is mathematically necessary for the derivation.
This paper provides a survey of several philosophical issues arising in classical electrodynamics arguing that there is a philosophically rich set of problems in theories of classical physics that have not yet received the attention by philosophers that they deserve. One issue, which is connected to the philosophy of causation, concerns the temporal asymmetry exhibited by radiation fields in the presence of wave sources. Physicists and philosophers disagree on whether this asymmetry reflects a fundamental causal asymmetry or is due to (...) statistical or thermodynamic considerations. I suggest that an explanation appealing to the asymmetry of causation is more promising. Another issue concerns the conceptual structure of the theory. Despite its empirical success, classical electrodynamics faces serious foundational problems. Models of charged particles involve what by the theory's own lights are idealizations, I maintain, and this is a feature that is not readily captured by traditional philosophical accounts of scientific theories. Other issues I discuss concern (i) the relation between Lorentz's theory of the electron and Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity; (ii) the notion of the domain of a theory, the question of theory reduction, and the relation between classical and more fundamental quantum theories; and (iii) the role of locality constraints, their relation to the concept of causation; and the status of locality conditions in the semi-classical theory of the Aharanov-Bohm effect. (shrink)
Classical dispersion relations are derived from a time-asymmetric constraint. I argue that the standard causal interpretation of this constraint plays a scientifically legitimate role in dispersion theory, and hence provides a counterexample to the causal skepticism advanced by John Norton and others. Norton argues that the causal interpretation of the time-asymmetric constraint is an empty honorific and that the constraint can be motivated by purely non-causal considerations. In this paper I respond to Norton's criticisms and argue that Norton's skepticism derives (...) its force partly by holding causal principles to a standard too high to be met by other scientifically legitimate constraints. Introduction Non-causal Foundations? Other Grounds for Skepticism The Principle of Energy Conservation. (shrink)
in Dirac's classical theory of the electron—is causally non-local. I distinguish two distinct causal locality principles and argue, using Dirac's theory as my main case study, that neither can be reduced to a non-causal principle of local determinism.
In an illuminating article, Claus Beisbart argues that the recently-popular thesis that the probabilities of statistical mechanics (SM) are Best System chances runs into a serious obstacle: there is no one axiomatization of SM that is robustly best, as judged by the theoretical virtues of simplicity, strength, and fit. Beisbart takes this 'no clear winner' result to imply that the probabilities yielded by the competing axiomatizations simply fail to count as Best System chances. In this reply, we express sympathy for (...) the 'no clear winner' thesis. However, we argue that an importantly different moral should be drawn from this. We contend that the implication for Humean chances is not that there are no SM chances, but rather that SM chances fail to be sharp. (shrink)
I have argued that the standard ways of modeling classical particle-field interactions rely on a set of inconsistent assumptions. This claim has been criticized in (Muller forthcoming). In this paper I respond to some of Muller's criticism.
Bas van Fraassen has recently argued for a "dissolution" of Hilary Putnam's well-known model-theoretic argument. In this paper I argue that, as it stands, van Fraassen's reply to Putnam is unsuccessful. Nonetheless, it suggests the form a successful response might take.