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Richard Dawid
Stockholm University
  1. The No Alternatives Argument.Richard Dawid, Stephan Hartmann & Jan Sprenger - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (1):213-234.
    Scientific theories are hard to find, and once scientists have found a theory, H, they often believe that there are not many distinct alternatives to H. But is this belief justified? What should scientists believe about the number of alternatives to H, and how should they change these beliefs in the light of new evidence? These are some of the questions that we will address in this article. We also ask under which conditions failure to find an alternative to H (...)
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  2.  83
    Many Worlds: Decoherent or Incoherent?Karim Thébault & Richard Dawid - 2015 - Synthese 192 (5):1559-1580.
    We claim that, as it stands, the Deutsch–Wallace–Everett approach to quantum theory is conceptually incoherent. This charge is based upon the approach’s reliance upon decoherence arguments that conflict with its own fundamental precepts regarding probabilistic reasoning in two respects. This conceptual conflict obtains even if the decoherence arguments deployed are aimed merely towards the establishment of certain ‘emergent’ or ‘robust’ structures within the wave function: To be relevant to physical science notions such as robustness must be empirically grounded, and, on (...)
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  3.  30
    String Theory and the Scientific Method.Richard Dawid - 2013 - Cambridge University Press.
    String theory has played a highly influential role in theoretical physics for nearly three decades and has substantially altered our view of the elementary building principles of the Universe. However, the theory remains empirically unconfirmed, and is expected to remain so for the foreseeable future. So why do string theorists have such a strong belief in their theory? This book explores this question, offering a novel insight into the nature of theory assessment itself. Dawid approaches the topic from a unique (...)
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  4. Underdetermination and Theory Succession From the Perspective of String Theory.Richard Dawid - 2006 - Philosophy of Science 73 (3):298-322.
  5. Scientific Realism in the Age of String Theory.Richard Dawid - 2007 - Physics and Philosophy.
    String theory currently is the only viable candidate for a unified description of all known natural forces. This article tries to demonstrate that the fundamental structural and methodological differences that set string theory apart from other physical theories have important philosophical consequences. Focussing on implications for the realism debate in philosophy of science, it is argued that both poles of that debate face new problems in the context of string theory. On the one hand, the claim of underdetermination of scientific (...)
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  6. On the Conflicting Assessments of the Current Status of String Theory.Richard Dawid - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (5):984-996.
    The current status of string theory is assessed quite differently by most of the theory’s exponents than by the majority of physicists in other fields. While the former tend to have a high degree of trust in string theory’s viability, the latter largely share a substantially more skeptical point of view. This article argues that the controversy can be best understood in terms of a paradigmatic rift between the two sides over their understandings of theory assessment. An attempt is made (...)
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  7.  68
    Theory Assessment and Final Theory Claim in String Theory.Richard Dawid - 2013 - Foundations of Physics 43 (1):81-100.
    String theory has by now maintained a highly influential position in high energy physics for more than a quarter of a century. The present article analyses the reasons for the considerable trust exponents of string theory have in their theory even though it has neither found empirical confirmation nor a complete formulation up to this point. It is argued that this trust can be understood in terms of an emerging new conception of theory assessment that relies strongly on the identification (...)
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  8.  35
    Higgs Discovery and the Look Elsewhere Effect.Richard Dawid - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (1):76-96.
    The discovery of the Higgs particle required a signal of 5σ significance. The rigid application of that condition is a convention that disregards more specific aspects of the given experiment. In particular, it does not account for the characteristics of the look elsewhere effect in the individual experimental context. The paper relates this aspect of data analysis to the question as to what extent theoretical reasoning should be admitted to play a role in the assessment of the significance of empirical (...)
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  9.  38
    Against the Empirical Viability of the Deutsch–Wallace–Everett Approach to Quantum Mechanics.Richard Dawid & Karim P. Y. Thébault - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 47:55-61.
    The subjective Everettian approach to quantum mechanics presented by Deutsch and Wallace fails to constitute an empirically viable theory of quantum phenomena. The decision theoretic implementation of the Born rule realized in this approach provides no basis for rejecting Everettian quantum mechanics in the face of empirical data that contradicts the Born rule. The approach of Greaves and Myrvold, which provides a subjective implementation of the Born rule as well but derives it from empirical data rather than decision theoretic arguments, (...)
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  10.  65
    Bayesian Perspectives on the Discovery of the Higgs Particle.Richard Dawid - 2017 - Synthese 194 (2):377-394.
    It is argued that the high degree of trust in the Higgs particle before its discovery raises the question of a Bayesian perspective on data analysis in high energy physics in an interesting way that differs from other suggestions regarding the deployment of Bayesian strategies in the field.
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  11.  12
    Chronical Incompleteness, Final Theory Claims, and the Lack of Free Parameters in String Theory.Richard Dawid - unknown
    String theory has not even come close to a complete formulation after half a century of intense research. On the other hand, a number of features of the theory suggest that the theory, once completed, may be a final theory. It is argued in this chapter that those two conspicuous characteristics of string physics are related to each other. What links them together is the fact that string theory has no dimensionless free parameters at a fundamental level. The paper analyses (...)
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  12.  12
    Non-Empirical But Scientific (Response to "Physics on Edge" by George Ellis).Richard Dawid - 2017 - Inference 3 (3).
  13. Causal Realism and the Laws of Nature.Richard Corry, Robert N. Brandon, H. Frederik Nijhout, Richard Dawid, Ron Mallon, Jonathan M. Weinberg & Hong Yu Wong - 2006 - In Borchert (ed.), Philosophy of Science. Macmillan. pp. 261-276.
    This paper proposes a revision of our understanding of causation that is designed to address what Hartry Field has suggested is the central problem in the metaphysics of causation today: reconciling Bertrand Russell’s arguments that the concept of causation can play no role in the advanced sciences with Nancy Cartwright’s arguments that causal concepts are essential to a scientific understanding of the world. The paper shows that Russell’s main argument is, ironically, very similar to an argument that Cartwright has put (...)
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  14.  9
    On the Empirical Consequences of the AdS/CFT Duality.Radin Dardashti, Richard Dawid, Sean Gryb & Karim P. Y. Thebault - unknown
    We provide an analysis of the empirical consequences of the AdS/CFT duality with reference to the application of the duality in a fundamental theory, effective theory and instrumental context. Analysis of the first two contexts is intended to serve as a guide to the potential empirical and ontological status of gauge/gravity dualities as descriptions of actual physics at the Planck scale. The third context is directly connected to the use of AdS/CFT to describe real quark-gluon plasmas. In the latter context, (...)
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  15.  9
    The No Miracles Argument Without the Base Rate Fallacy.Richard Dawid & Stephan Hartmann - 2018 - Synthese 195 (9):4063-4079.
    According to an argument by Colin Howson, the no-miracles argument is contingent on committing the base-rate fallacy and is therefore bound to fail. We demonstrate that Howson’s argument only applies to one of two versions of the NMA. The other version, which resembles the form in which the argument was initially presented by Putnam and Boyd, remains unaffected by his line of reasoning. We provide a formal reconstruction of that version of the NMA and show that it is valid. Finally, (...)
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  16.  21
    Delimiting the Unconceived.Richard Dawid - 2018 - Foundations of Physics 48 (5):492-506.
    It has been argued in Dawid that physicists at times generate substantial trust in an empirically unconfirmed theory based on observations that lie beyond the theory’s intended domain. A crucial role in the reconstruction of this argument of “non-empirical confirmation” is played by limitations to scientific underdetermination. The present paper discusses the question as to how generic the role of limitations to scientific underdetermination really is. It is argued that assessing such limitations is essential for generating trust in any theory’s (...)
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  17.  9
    Scientific Realism and High Energy Physics.Richard Dawid - 2018 - In Juha Saatsi (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Scientific Realism. Routledge. pp. 279-290.
    The paper discusses major implications of high energy physics for the scientific realism debate. The first part analyses the ways in which aspects of the empirically well-confirmed standard model of particle physics are relevant for a reassessment of entity realism, ontological realism and structural realism. The second part looks at the implications of more far-reaching concepts like string theory. While those theories have not found empirical confirmation, if they turned out viable, their implications for the realism debate would be more (...)
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  18.  8
    The Significance of Non-Empirical Confirmation in Fundamental Physics.Richard Dawid - unknown
    In the absence of empirical confirmation, scientists may judge a theory's chances of being viable based on a wide range of arguments. The paper argues that such arguments can differ substantially with regard to their structural similarly to empirical confirmation. Arguments that resemble empirical confirmation in a number of crucial respects provide a better basis for reliable judgement and can, in a Bayesian sense, amount to significant \textit{non-empirical} confirmation. It is shown that three kinds of non-empirical confirmation that have been (...)
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  19.  51
    The No Miracles Argument Without the Base Rate Fallacy.Richard Dawid & Stephan Hartmann - unknown
    According to an argument by Colin Howson, the no-miracles argument is contingent on committing the base-rate fallacy and is therefore bound to fail. We demonstrate that Howson's argument only applies to one of two versions of the no-miracles argument. The other, more considerate version is not adequately reconstructed in Howson's approach and thus remains unaffected by his line of reasoning. We provide a Bayesian reconstruction of this version of the no-miracles argument and show that it is valid. We then proceed (...)
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  20.  17
    String Dualities and Empirical Equivalence.Richard Dawid - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 59:21-29.
    String dualities establish empirical equivalence between theories that often look entirely different with respect to their basic ontology and physical structure. Therefore, they represent a particularly interesting example of empirical equivalence in physics. However, the status of duality relations in string physics differs substantially from the traditional understanding of the role played by empirical equivalence. The paper specifies three important differences and argues that they are related to a substantially altered view on the underdetermination of theory building.
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  21.  36
    A Philosophical Look at the Discovery the Higgs Boson.Richard Dawid - 2017 - Synthese 194 (2):253-257.
  22.  51
    Turning Norton’s Dome Against Material Induction.Richard Dawid - 2015 - Foundations of Physics 45 (9):1101-1109.
    John Norton has proposed a position of “material induction” that denies the existence of a universal inductive inference schema behind scientific reasoning. In this vein, Norton has recently presented a “dome scenario” based on Newtonian physics that, in his understanding, is at variance with Bayesianism. The present note points out that a closer analysis of the dome scenario reveals incompatibilities with material inductivism itself.
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  23.  49
    Novel Confirmation and the Underdetermination of Scientific Theory Building.Richard Dawid - unknown
    The extra value of novel confirmation over accommodation is explained based on an analysis of the underdetermination of scientific theory building. Novel confirmation can provide information on the number of possible scientific alternatives to a predictively successful theory. This information, in turn, can raise the probability that the given theory is true or will be empirically viable in the future.
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  24.  43
    Models and Inferences in Science.Richard Dawid - 2016 - In Emiliano Ippoliti, Thomas Nickles & Fabio Sterpetti (eds.), Modelling Non-Empirical Confirmation. Springer. pp. 191-205.
    The paper provides a presentation and motivation of the concept of non-empirical theory confirmation. Non-empirical theory confirmation is argued to play an important role in the scientific process that has not been adequately acknowledged so far. Its formalization within a Bayesian framework demonstrates that non-empirical confirmation does have the essential structural characteristics of theory confirmation.
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  25. Scientific Prediction and the Underdetermination of Scientific Theory Building.Richard Dawid - unknown
    According to the no miracles argument, scientific realism provides the only satisfactory explanation of the predictive success of science. It is argued in the present article that a different explanatory strategy, based on the posit of limitations to the underdetermination of scientific theory building by the available empirical data, offers a more convincing understanding of scientific success.
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  26.  4
    The No Miracles Argument Without Scientific Realism.Richard Dawid - unknown
    According to the no miracles argument, scientific realism provides the only satisfactory explanation of the predictive success of science. It is argued in the present article that a different explanatory strategy, based on the posit of strong limitations to the underdetermination of scientific theory building by the available empirical data, offers a more convincing understanding of scientific success.
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  27.  82
    Realism in the Age of String Theory.Richard Dawid - unknown
    String theory currently is the only viable candidate for a unified description of all known natural forces. This article tries to demonstrate that the fundamental structural and methodological differences that set string theory apart from other physical theories have important philosophical consequences. Focussing on implications for the realism debate in philosophy of science, it is argued that both poles of that debate become untenable in the context of string theory. On one side the claim of underdetermination of scientific theories, which (...)
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  28.  21
    Marginalisation Of The Phenomena And The Limits Of Scientific Knowledge In High Energy Physics.Richard Dawid - 2010 - Manuscrito 33 (1):165-206.
    It is argued that the evolution of fundamental microphysics throughout the twentieth century is characterised by two interrelated developments. On the one hand, the experimental signatures which confirm theoretical statements are moving towards the fringes of the phenomenal world and, at the same time, leave increasingly wide spaces for entirely theoretical reasoning with little or no empirical interference. On the other hand, assessments of limitations to scientific underdetermination gain importance within the theoretical process.
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  29.  33
    High Energy Physics and the Marginalization of The Phenomena.Richard Dawid - 2010 - Manuscrito 33 (1):165-206.
    It is argued that the evolution of fundamental microphysics throughout the twentieth century is characterised by two interrelated developments. On the one hand, the experimental signatures which confirm theoretical statements are moving towards the fringes of the phenomenal world and, at the same time, leave increasingly wide spaces for entirely theoretical reasoning with little or no empirical interference. On the other hand, assessments of limitations to scientific underdetermination gain importance within the theoretical process.
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  30.  38
    High Energy Physics and Constructive Empiricism.Richard Dawid - unknown
    Progress in elementary particle physics in recent decades has changed the status of the visible phenomena in the context of scientific research. Empiricist positions in philosophy of science, which put particular emphasis on the pre-eminence of the visible regime, are affected by this development. In spite of its less radical claims, constructive empiricism turns out to run into more serious problems than straightforward instrumentalism. The constructive empiricist’s emphasis on the scientist’s aims makes it essential for her to provide a satisfactory (...)
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  31.  14
    Moritz Schlick and Bas van Fraassen: Two Different Perspectives on Causality and Quantum Mechanics.Richard Dawid - unknown
    Moritz Schlick’s interpretation of the causality principle is based on Schlick’s understanding of quantum mechanics and on his conviction that quantum mechanics strongly supports an empiricist reading of causation in his sense. The present paper compares the empiricist position held by Schlick with Bas van Fraassen’s more recent conception of constructive empiricism. It is pointed out that the development from Schlick’s understanding of logical empiricism to constructive empiricism reflects a difference between the understanding of quantum mechanics endorsed by Schlick and (...)
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  32. No-Miracles argumentet utan vetenskaplig realism.Richard Dawid - 2018 - Filosofisk Tidskrift 2018 (3).
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  33. The Emperor's New Physics. [REVIEW]Richard Dawid - 2016 - Nature 538:36-37.
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