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Simon Friederich
University of Groningen
  1. Philosophical Perspectives on Ad Hoc Hypotheses and the Higgs Mechanism.Simon Friederich, Robert V. Harlander & Koray Karaca - 2014 - Synthese 191 (16):3897-3917.
    We examine physicists’ charge of ad hocness against the Higgs mechanism in the standard model of elementary particle physics. We argue that even though this charge never rested on a clear-cut and well-entrenched definition of “ad hoc”, it is based on conceptual and methodological assumptions and principles that are well-founded elements of the scientific practice of high-energy particle physics. We further evaluate the implications of the recent discovery of a Higgs-like particle at the CERN’s Large Hadron Collider for the charge (...)
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  2.  94
    Gauge Symmetry Breaking in Gauge Theories—in Search of Clarification.Simon Friederich - 2013 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 3 (2):157-182.
    The paper investigates the spontaneous breaking of gauge symmetries in gauge theories from a philosophical angle, taking into account the fact that the notion of a spontaneously broken local gauge symmetry, though widely employed in textbook expositions of the Higgs mechanism, is not supported by our leading theoretical frameworks of gauge quantum theories. In the context of lattice gauge theory, the statement that local gauge symmetry cannot be spontaneously broken can even be made rigorous in the form of Elitzur’s theorem. (...)
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  3.  62
    Symmetry, Empirical Equivalence, and Identity.Simon Friederich - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (3):537-559.
    The article proposes a novel approach to the much discussed question of which symmetries have ‘direct empirical significance’ and which do not. The approach is based on a development of a recently proposed framework by Hilary Greaves and David Wallace, who claim that, contrary to the standard folklore among philosophers of physics, ‘local’ symmetries may have direct empirical significance no less than ‘global’ ones. Partly vindicating the standard folklore, a result is derived here from a number of plausible assumptions, that (...)
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  4. How to Spell Out the Epistemic Conception of Quantum States.Simon Friederich - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 42 (3):149-157.
    The paper investigates the epistemic conception of quantum states---the view that quantum states are not descriptions of quantum systems but rather reflect the assigning agents' epistemic relations to the systems. This idea, which can be found already in the works of Copenhagen adherents Heisenberg and Peierls, has received increasing attention in recent years because it promises an understanding of quantum theory in which neither the measurement problem nor a conflict between quantum non-locality and relativity theory arises. Here it is argued (...)
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  5.  91
    A Philosophical Look at the Higgs Mechanism.Simon Friederich - 2014 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 45 (2):335-350.
    On the occasion of the recent experimental detection of a Higgs-type particle at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the paper reviews philosophical aspects of the Higgs mechanism as the presently preferred account of the generation of particle masses in the Standard Model of elementary particle physics and its most discussed extensions. The paper serves a twofold purpose: on the one hand, it offers an introduction to the Higgs mechanism and its most interesting philosophical aspects to readers not familiar with (...)
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  6.  58
    In Defence of Non-Ontic Accounts of Quantum States.Simon Friederich - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (2):77-92.
    The paper discusses objections against non-hidden variable versions of the epistemic conception of quantum states—the view that quantum states do not describe the properties of quantum systems but reflect, in some way to be specified, the epistemic conditions of agents assigning them. In the first half of the paper, the main motivation for the epistemic conception of quantum states is sketched, and a version of it is outlined, which combines ideas from an earlier study of it with elements of Richard (...)
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  7. Re-Thinking Local Causality.Simon Friederich - 2015 - Synthese 192 (1):221-240.
    There is widespread belief in a tension between quantum theory and special relativity, motivated by the idea that quantum theory violates J. S. Bell’s criterion of local causality, which is meant to implement the causal structure of relativistic space-time. This paper argues that if one takes the essential intuitive idea behind local causality to be that probabilities in a locally causal theory depend only on what occurs in the backward light cone and if one regards objective probability as what imposes (...)
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  8.  11
    Resolving the Observer Reference Class Problem in Cosmology.Simon Friederich - 2017 - Physical Review D 95 (12).
    The assumption that we are typical observers plays a core role in attempts to make multiverse theories empirically testable. A widely shared worry about this assumption is that it suffers from systematic ambiguity concerning the reference class of observers with respect to which typicality is assumed. As a way out, Srednicki and Hartle recommend that we empirically test typicality with respect to different candidate reference classes in analogy to how we test physical theories. Unfortunately, as this paper argues, this idea (...)
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  9.  9
    Symmetries and the Identity of Physical States.Simon Friederich - 2016 - EPSA15 Selected Papers 5.
    The paper proposes a combined account of identity for physical states and direct empirical significance for symmetries according to which symmetry-related state variables designate distinct physical states if and only if the symmetry that relates them has direct empirical significance. Strengthening an earlier result, I show that, given this combined account, the local gauge symmetries in our leading contemporary theories of particle physics do not have any direct empirical significance.
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  10.  98
    Structuralism and Meta-Mathematics.Simon Friederich - 2010 - Erkenntnis 73 (1):67 - 81.
    The debate on structuralism in the philosophy of mathematics has brought into focus a question about the status of meta-mathematics. It has been raised by Shapiro (2005), where he compares the ongoing discussion on structuralism in category theory to the Frege-Hilbert controversy on axiomatic systems. Shapiro outlines an answer according to which meta-mathematics is understood in structural terms and one according to which it is not. He finds both options viable and does not seem to prefer one over the other. (...)
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  11.  13
    Motivating Wittgenstein’s Perspective on Mathematical Sentences as Norms†.Simon Friederich - 2010 - Philosophia Mathematica 18 (3):1-19.
    The later Wittgenstein’s perspective on mathematical sentences as norms is motivated for sentences belonging to Hilbertian axiomatic systems where the axioms are treated as implicit definitions. It is shown that in this approach the axioms are employed as norms in that they function as standards of what counts as using the concepts involved. This normative dimension of their mode of use, it is argued, is inherited by the theorems derived from them. Having been motivated along these lines, Wittgenstein’s perspective on (...)
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  12.  28
    Interpreting Heisenberg Interpreting Quantum States.Simon Friederich - 2012 - Philosophia Naturalis 50 (1):85-114.
    The paper investigates possible readings of the later Heisenberg's remarks on the nature of quantum states. It discusses, in particular, whether Heisenberg should be seen as a proponent of the epistemic conception of states – the view that quantum states are not descriptions of quantum systems but rather reflect the state assigning observers' epistemic relations to these systems. On the one hand, it seems plausible that Heisenberg subscribes to that view, given how he defends the notorious "collapse of the wave (...)
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  13.  10
    Epistemic Separability and Everettian Branches: A Critique of Sebens and Carroll.Richard Dawid & Simon Friederich - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axaa002.
    We discuss the proposal by Sebens and Carroll to derive the Born rule in Everettian quantum mechanics from a principle they call ‘ESP-QM’. We argue that the proposal fails: ESP-QM is not, as Sebens and Carroll argue, a ‘less general version’ of an independently plausible principle, ESP, and can only be motivated by the empirical success of quantum mechanics, including use of the Born rule. Therefore, ESP-QM cannot have the status of a meta-theoretical principle of reasoning and provides no viable (...)
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  14.  28
    A New Fine-Tuning Argument for the Multiverse.Simon Friederich - 2019 - Foundations of Physics 49 (9):1011-1021.
    This paper has two aims. First, it points out a crucial difference between the standard argument from fine-tuning for the multiverse and paradigmatic instances of anthropic reasoning. The former treats the life-friendliness of our universe as the evidence whose impact is assessed, whereas the latter treat the life-friendliness of our universe as background information. Second, the paper develops a new fine-tuning argument for the multiverse which, unlike the old one, parallels the structure of paradigmatic instances of anthropic reasoning. The main (...)
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  15.  33
    Choosing Beauty.Simon Friederich - unknown
    Reasoning that takes into account self-locating evidence in apparently plausible ways sometimes yields the startling conclusion that rational credences are such as if agents had bizarre causal powers. The present paper introduces a novel version of the Sleeping Beauty problem—Choosing Beauty—for which the response to the problem advocated by David Lewis unappealingly yields this conclusion. Furthermore, it suggests as a general desideratum for approaches to problems of self-locating belief that they should not recommend credences that are as if anyone had (...)
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  16.  27
    Fine-Tuning as Old Evidence, Double Counting, and the Multiverse.Simon Friederich - 2017 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 31 (4):363-377.
    ABSTRACTThe idea that there might be multiple universes with different parameters of nature is often considered an attractive response to the finding that various parameters appear to be delicately fine-tuned for life. The present paper investigates whether the appeal to fine-tuning can legitimately be combined with an appeal to independent empirical evidence for other universes or whether, as suggested by Cory Juhl, combining such appeals inevitably results in illegitimate double counting of the finding that the parameters are right for life. (...)
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  17.  50
    Hans-Johann Glock/John Hyman : Wittgenstein and Analytic Philosophy. [REVIEW]Simon Friederich - 2009 - Philosophischer Literaturanzeiger 62 (3).
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  18.  56
    Particle Physics After the Higgs Discovery: Philosophical Perspectives.Simon Friederich & Dennis Lehmkuhl - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 51:69-70.
  19.  62
    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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  20.  31
    Reconsidering the Inverse Gambler’s Fallacy Charge Against the Fine-Tuning Argument for the Multiverse.Simon Friederich - 2019 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 50 (1):29-41.
    Does the claimed fine-tuning of the constants of nature for life give reason to think that there are many other universes in which the constants have different values? Or does the inference from fine-tuning to a multiverse commit what Hacking calls the inverse gambler’s fallacy? The present paper considers two fine-tuning problems that seem promising to consider because they are in many respects analogous to the problem of the fine-tuned constants. Reasoning that parallels the inference from fine-tuning to a multiverse (...)
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  21.  21
    Self-Location and Causal Context.Simon Friederich - 2016 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 93 (2):232-258.
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  22.  17
    The Asymptotic Safety Scenario for Quantum Gravity – An Appraisal.Simon Friederich - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 63:65-73.
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  23. Warum die Mathematik keine ontologische Grundlegung braucht.Simon Friederich - 2014 - Wittgenstein-Studien 5 (1).
    Einer weit verbreiteten Auffassung zufolge ist es eine zentrale Aufgabe der Philosophie der Mathematik, eine ontologische Grundlegung der Mathematik zu formulieren: eine philosophische Theorie darüber, ob mathematische Sätze wirklich wahr sind und ob mathematischen Gegenstände wirklich existieren. Der vorliegende Text entwickelt eine Sichtweise, der zufolge diese Auffassung auf einem Missverständnis beruht. Hierzu wird zunächst der Grundgedanke der Hilbert'schen axiomatischen Methode orgestellt, die Axiome als implizite Definitionen der in ihnen enthaltenen Begriffe zu behandeln. Anschließend wird in Anlehnung an einen Wittgenstein'schen Gedanken (...)
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