ABSTRACTAnxious individuals report disproportionately negative expectations concerning the future, termed the negative expectancy bias. In contrast, ageing is associated with an inflated expectancy for positive future events. A recent study [Steinman, S. A., Smyth, F. L., Bucks, R. S., MacLeod, C., & Teachman, B. A.. Anxiety-linked expectancy bias across the adult lifespan. Cognition and Emotion, 27, 345–355. doi:10.1080/02699931.2012.711743] found using an interpretation bias task, a negative expectancy bias in young adults and positive expectancy bias in older adults with high trait (...) anxiety. Extending this, the current study examined expectancy bias for positive, negative and ambiguously emotionally toned information in younger and older adults with clinical levels of depression and anxiety to community control groups, thus allowing examination of both disorder status and age on biases. Clinical participants reported a pervasive tendency to expect negative events relative to positive regardless o... (shrink)
Feynman diagrams: conceptual tools for theoretical physicists Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9580-y Authors Laurie M. Brown, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60201, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
Young men are more distressed by a partner’s sexual infidelity, whereas young women are more distressed by a partner’s emotional infidelity. The present research investigated (a) whether the sex difference in jealousy replicates in an older sample, and (b) whether younger people differ from older people in their selection of the more distressing infidelity scenario. We presented forced-choice dilemmas to 202 older people (mean age = 67 years) and to 234 younger people (mean age = 20 years). The sex difference (...) replicated in the older sample. In addition, older women were less likely than younger women to select a partner’s emotional infidelity as more distressing than a partner’s sexual infidelity. Discussion offers directions for future work on sex differences and age differences in jealousy. (shrink)
In order to fully understand the ethical, cultural, and political debate that moves around the papillomavirus vaccine, a bit of attention has to be paid to its history.In 2006 the first advertisements for Gardasil, the commercial name of the vaccine, started to appear in the United States. Merck pharmaceutical was the main dealer. Their “One Less” campaign was characterized by adolescent girls staring into the camera and saying, “I’m one less,” declaring their intention to be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus, (...) and to be one less victim of cervical cancer; all it would take was three injections over six months. A few months after the appearance of the advertisement, the HPV matter took another turn when Texas Governor Rick Perry decided to issue an executive order mandating vaccination of all sixth-grade girls in the state. Texas, a state with a conservative political culture and well-organized anti-vaccination movement, bypassed the legislature, overturned Perry’s order .. (shrink)
The combination of money and intimacy, particularly in the context of paid caring, can be difficult, given the tendency to view them as belonging to separate spheres. This research studied paid caring within the context of breastfeeding and labor support, using 72 interviews with lactation consultants, doulas, clients, and health care professionals, as well as 150 hours of ethnographic observation. Building upon the work of Viviana Zelizer, I examined the relational work of lactation consultants, doulas, and their clients, finding (...) that this process is highly influenced by the way gender is mapped onto the separate spheres dichotomy. Lactation consultants, doulas, and their clients drew boundaries around their social relations to construct them as different from family care in order to legitimate the combination of money and intimacy. Lactation consultants and doulas both experienced tension in determining appropriate transactions and media for their care work, which illustrates how the separate spheres ideology can perpetuate the relative low pay of care work. (shrink)
ABSTRACT Unlike the relativity theory it seeks to replace, causal set theory has been interpreted to leave space for a substantive, though perhaps ‘localized’, form of ‘becoming’. The possibility of fundamental becoming is nourished by the fact that the analogue of Stein’s theorem from special relativity does not hold in CST. Despite this, we find that in many ways, the debate concerning becoming parallels the well-rehearsed lines it follows in the domain of relativity. We present, however, some new twists and (...) challenges. In particular, we show that a novel and exotic notion of becoming is compatible with causal sets. In contrast to the localized becoming considered compatible with the dynamics of CST by its advocates, our novel kind of becoming, while not answering to the typical A-theoretic demands, is global and objective. _1_ Introduction _2_ The Basics of Causal Set Theory _3_ Facing the Same Dilemma? _4_ Taking Growth Seriously _5_ Conclusion. (shrink)
Philosophy Beyond Spacetime assesses the state of play in the philosophy of quantum gravity. Research in this field aims at a unified theory in which quantum matter is related dynamically to relativistic spacetime. This volume highlights the conceptual questions involved, showing how physics and metaphysics can illuminate each other.
I reconstruct the discovery of the Higgs boson by the ATLAS collaboration at CERN as the application of a series of inferences from effects to causes. I show to what extent such diagnostic causal inferences can be based on well established knowledge gained in previous experiments. To this extent, causal reasoning can be used to infer the existence of entities, rather than just causal relationships between them. The resulting account relies on the principle of causality, attributes only a heuristic role (...) to the theory’s predictions, and shows how, and to what extent, data selection can be used to exclude alternative causes, even “unconceived” ones. (shrink)
Over the past three decades, economic sociology has been revealing how culture shapes economic life even while economic facts affect social relationships. This work has transformed the field into a flourishing and increasingly influential discipline. No one has played a greater role in this development than Viviana Zelizer, one of the world's leading sociologists. Economic Lives synthesizes and extends her most important work to date, demonstrating the full breadth and range of her field-defining contributions in a single volume for (...) the first time. Economic Lives shows how shared cultural understandings and interpersonal relations shape everyday economic activities. Far from being simple responses to narrow individual incentives and preferences, economic actions emerge, persist, and are transformed by our relations to others. Distilling three decades of research, the book offers a distinctive vision of economic activity that brings out the hidden meanings and social actions behind the supposedly impersonal worlds of production, consumption, and asset transfer. Economic Lives ranges broadly from life insurance marketing, corporate ethics, household budgets, and migrant remittances to caring labor, workplace romance, baby markets, and payments for sex. These examples demonstrate an alternative approach to explaining how we manage economic activity--as well as a different way of understanding why conventional economic theory has proved incapable of predicting or responding to recent economic crises. Providing an important perspective on the recent past and possible futures of a growing field, Economic Lives promises to be widely read and discussed. (shrink)
This paper is an enquiry into the logical, metaphysical, and physical possibility of time travel understood in the sense of the existence of closed worldlines that can be traced out by physical objects. We argue that none of the purported paradoxes rule out time travel either on grounds of logic or metaphysics. More relevantly, modern spacetime theories such as general relativity seem to permit models that feature closed worldlines. We discuss, in the context of Gödel's infamous argument for the ideality (...) of time based on his eponymous spacetime, what this apparent physical possibility of time travel means. Furthermore, we review the recent literature on so-called time machines, i.e., of devices that produce closed worldlines where none would have existed otherwise. Finally, we investigate what the implications of the quantum behaviour of matter for the possibility of time travel might be and explicate in what sense time travel might be possible according to leading contenders for full quantum theories of gravity such as string theory and loop quantum gravity. (shrink)
There exists a growing literature on the so-called physical Church-Turing thesis in a relativistic spacetime setting. The physical Church-Turing thesis is the conjecture that no computing device that is physically realizable can exceed the computational barriers of a Turing machine. By suggesting a concrete implementation of a beyond-Turing computer in a spacetime setting, Istvan Nemeti and Gyula David have shown how an appreciation of the physical Church-Turing thesis necessitates the confluence of mathematical, computational, physical, and indeed cosmological ideas. In this (...) essay, I will honour Istvan's seventieth birthday, as well as his longstanding interest in, and his seminal contributions to, this field going back to as early as 1987 by modestly proposing how the concrete implementation in Nemeti and D\'avid might be complemented by a quantum-information-theoretic communication protocol between the computing device and the logician who sets the beyond-Turing computer a task such as determining the consistency of Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory. This suggests that even the foundations of quantum theory and, ultimately, quantum gravity may play an important role in determining the validity of the physical Church-Turing thesis. (shrink)
Theories of quantum gravity generically presuppose or predict that the reality underlying relativistic spacetimes they are describing is significantly non-spatiotemporal. On pain of empirical incoherence, approaches to quantum gravity must establish how relativistic spacetime emerges from their non-spatiotemporal structures. We argue that in order to secure this emergence, it is sufficient to establish that only those features of relativistic spacetimes functionally relevant in producing empirical evidence must be recovered. In order to complete this task, an account must be given of (...) how the more fundamental structures instantiate these functional roles. We illustrate the general idea in the context of causal set theory and loop quantum gravity, two prominent approaches to quantum gravity. (shrink)
Numerous approaches to a quantum theory of gravity posit fundamental ontologies that exclude spacetime, either partially or wholly. This situation raises deep questions about how such theories could relate to the empirical realm, since arguably only entities localized in spacetime can ever be observed. Are such entities even possible in a theory without fundamental spacetime? How might they be derived, formally speaking? Moreover, since by assumption the fundamental entities cannot be smaller than the derived and so cannot ‘compose’ them in (...) any ordinary sense, would a formal derivation actually show the physical reality of localized entities? We address these questions via a survey of a range of theories of quantum gravity, and generally sketch how they may be answered positively. (shrink)
My paper proposes the concept of relational work to explain economic activity. In all economic action, I argue, people engage in the process of differentiating meaningful social relations. For each distinct category of social relations, people erect a boundary, mark the boundary by means of names and practices, establish a set of distinctive understandings that operate within that boundary, designate certain sorts of economic transactions as appropriate for the relation, bar other transactions as inappropriate, and adopt certain media for reckoning (...) and facilitating economic transactions within the relation. I call that process relational work. After identifying specific elements of a relational work approach, the paper focuses on the case of monetary differentiation. It compares a relational work theory of earmarking money with behavioral economics’ individually based mental accounting approach. (shrink)
This is a chapter of the planned monograph "Out of Nowhere: The Emergence of Spacetime in Quantum Theories of Gravity", co-authored by Nick Huggett and Christian Wüthrich and under contract with Oxford University Press. (More information at www<dot>beyondspacetime<dot>net.) This chapter investigates the meaning and significance of string theoretic dualities, arguing they reveal a surprising physical indeterminateness to spacetime.
Defining ‘presentism’ in a way that saves it from being trivially false yet metaphysically substantively distinct from eternalism is no mean feat, as the first part of this collection testifies. In Wuthrich (forthcoming), I have offered an attempt to achieve just this, arguing that this is best done in the context of modern spacetime theories. Here, I shall refrain from going through all the motions again and simply state the characterization of an ersatzist version of presentism as it has (...) emerged from considerations there. Any acceptable formulation of presentism should remain neutral among competing spacetime theories in order to enable the present project of assessing the compatibility of presentism with various theories of modern physics, including both spacetime theories and theories of physical processes situated in a spatiotemporal setting. (shrink)
Este trabajo se enmarca dentro del análisis de las acciones alternativas a la privación de libertad en adolescentes infractores a la ley penal. Intenta buscar soluciones que eviten la cárcel para quienes cometan pequeños delitos, opción que puede disminuir el índice de reincidencias. El objetivo es promover, desde el Trabajo Social, una doble reflexión: primero, analizando críticamente el concepto de delito, su definición en las diversas corrientes ideológicas y su aplicación en la legislación argentina; y segundo, la importancia de que (...) los jóvenes se responsabilicen de sus actos y experimenten caminos alternativos al delito.This work places inside the analysis of the alternative actions to the privation of freedom in inobservant teenagers to the penal law. It tries to look for solutions that avoid the jail for those who commit small crimes, option that can diminish the index of repetitions. The aim is to promote, from the Social Work, a double reflection: first, analyzing critically the concept of crime, his definition in the diverse ideological currents and his application in the argentine legislation; and second, the importance of which the young men take responsibility of his acts and experience alternative ways to the crime. (shrink)
Structural realist interpretations of generally relativistic spacetimes have recently come to enjoy a remarkable degree of popularity among philosophers. I present a challenge to these structuralist interpretations that arises from considering cosmological models in general relativity. As a consequence of their high degree of spacetime symmetry, these models resist a structuralist interpretation. I then evaluate the various strategies available to the structuralist to react to this challenge. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, 9500 Gilman Drive, 0119, (...) University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093‐0119; e‐mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
Kuhn claimed that several algorithms can be defended to select the best theory based on epistemic values such as simplicity, accuracy, and fruitfulness. In a recent paper, Okasha :83–115, 2011) argued that no theory choice algorithm exists which satisfies a set of intuitively compelling conditions that Arrow had proposed for a consistent aggregation of individual preference orderings. In this paper, we put forward a solution to avoid this impossibility result. Based on previous work by Gaertner and Xu, we suggest to (...) view the theory choice problem in a cardinal context and to use a general scoring function defined over a set of qualitative verdicts for every epistemic value. This aggregation method yields a complete and transitive ranking and the rule satisfies all Arrovian conditions appropriately reformulated within a cardinal setting. We also propose methods that capture the aggregation across different scientists. (shrink)
Spacetime as we know and love it is lost in most approaches to quantum gravity. For many of these approaches, as inchoate and incomplete as they may be, one of the main challenges is to relate what they take to be the fundamental non-spatiotemporal structure of the world back to the classical spacetime of GR. The present essay investigates how spacetime is lost and how it may be regained in one major approach to quantum gravity, loop quantum gravity.
In his 2009 PSA Recent Ph.D. Award winning contribution to the bi-annual PSA Conference at Pittsburgh in 2008, C. Wu ̈thrich mounted an argument against struc- turalism about space-time in the context of the General Theory of Relativity, to the effect that structuralists cannot discern space-time points. An “abysmal embarrass- ment” for the structuralist, Wu ̈thrich judged. Wu ̈thrich’s characterisation of space-time structuralism is however incorrect. We demonstrate how, on the basis of a correct char- acterisation of space-time structuralism, it (...) is possible to discern space-time points in the GTR-structures under consideration. Thus Wu ̈thrich’s argument crumbles. (shrink)
This paper reports the framework, method and main findings of an analysis of cultural milieus in 4 European countries. The analysis is based on a questionnaire applied to a sample built through a two-step procedure of post-hoc random selection from a broader dataset based on an online survey. Responses to the questionnaire were subjected to multidimensional analysis-a combination of Multiple Correspondence Analysis and Cluster Analysis. We identified 5 symbolic universes, that correspond to basic, embodied, affect-laden, generalized worldviews. People in this (...) study see the world as either a) an ordered universe;b) a matter of interpersonal bond;c) a caring society;d) consisting of a niche of belongingness;e) a hostile place. These symbolic universes were also interpreted as semiotic capital: they reflect the capacity of a place to foster social and civic development. Moreover, the distribution of the symbolic universes, and therefore social and civic engagement, is demonstrated to be variable across the 4 countries in the analysis. Finally, we develop a retrospective reconstruction of the distribution of symbolic universes as well as the interplay between their current state and past, present and future socio-institutional scenarios. (shrink)
In prior work, we have argued that spacetime functionalism provides tools for clarifying the conceptual difficulties specifically linked to the emergence of spacetime in certain approaches to quantum gravity. We argue in this article that spacetime functionalism in quantum gravity is radically different from other functionalist approaches that have been suggested in quantum mechanics and general relativity: in contrast to these latter cases, it does not compete with purely interpretative alternatives, but is rather intertwined with the physical theorizing itself at (...) the level of quantum gravity. Spacetime functionalism allows one to articulate a coherent realist perspective in the context of quantum gravity, and to relate it to a straightforward realist understanding of general relativity. (shrink)
Research in quantum gravity strongly suggests that our world in not fundamentally spatiotemporal, but that spacetime may only emerge in some sense from a non-spatiotemporal structure, as this paper illustrates in the case of causal set theory and loop quantum gravity. This would raise philosophical concerns regarding the empirical coherence and general adequacy of theories in quantum gravity. If it can be established, however, that spacetime emerges in the appropriate circumstances and how all its relevant aspects are explained in fundamental (...) non-spatiotemporal terms, then the challenge is fully met. It is argued that a form of spacetime functionalism offers the most promising template for this project. (shrink)
The European framework surrounding clinical trials on medicinal products for human use is going to change as demonstrated by the large debate at European institutional level. One of the major challenges is to overcome the lack of harmonisation of clinical trial procedures among countries. This aspect is gaining more and more importance, considering the increasing number of multicentre and multinational studies. In this work, the actual European rules governing the Clinical Trial Application have been analysed throughout the different steps including (...) the registration of the trial in the European database; the preparation of documents to be submitted and their contents; the preparation of documents related to the information and consent process; the submission to competent bodies. Specific issues related to paediatric research and trials involving non EU/EEA countries have been addressed as well. Results reveal that the European legislation offers a well defined set of European rules covering different aspects of a Clinical Trial Application. However, these are not suitable to meet the challenges from multicentre and multinational clinical studies. A stronger set of rules, such as is available in a composite European Regulation has been adopted and is expected to harmonise practices and enable sponsors to carry out well conducted trials. But will the new regulation overcome the existing criticisms of Directive 2001/20/EC? (shrink)
The quest for real democracy is one of the components of sustainable degrowth. But the incipient debate on democracy and degrowth suffers from general definitions and limited connections to political philosophy and democracy theory. This article offers a critical review of democracy theory within the degrowth literature, taking as its focal point a relevant debate between Serge Latouche and Takis Fotopoulos. We argue that the core of their contention can be traced back to the relationship between the concepts of democracy (...) and autonomy as defined by philosopher Cornelius Castoriadis, which both authors and generally the degrowth movement consider as one of their theoretical reference points. We show how both Latouche and Fotopoulos hold a misconception of Castoriadis' notions of autonomy, the social imaginary and politics, which in turn limits their cognisance of democracy and hence confuses their debate concerning the possibilities for a degrowth transition within the confines of a liberal parliamentary democracy. With a clarified theoretical understanding of the interconnected democracy-autonomy assemble, we proceed to an evaluation of the revolutionary potential of the degrowth movement and to a better understanding of a possible relationship between democracy and degrowth. (shrink)
Radical ontic structural realism (ROSR) asserts an ontological commitment to ‘free-standing’ physical structures understood solely in terms of fundamental relations, without any recourse to relata that stand in these relations. Bain (, pp.1621–35) has recently defended ROSR against the common charge of incoherence by arguing that a reformulation of fundamental physical theories in category-theoretic terms (rather than the usual set-theoretic ones) offers a coherent and precise articulation of the commitments accepted by ROSR. In this essay, we argue that category theory (...) does not offer a more hospitable environment to ROSR than set theory. We also show that the application of category-theoretic tools to topological quantum field theory and to algebraic generalizations of general relativity do not warrant the claim that these theories describe ‘object-free’ structures. We conclude that category theory offers little if any comfort to ROSR. 1 Introduction: Ridding Structures of Objects2 The Set-theoretic Peril for Radical Ontic Structural Realism3 Bain’s Categorial Strategy to Save Radical Ontic Structural Realism4 Throwing out the Relations with the Relata5 Categorial and Set-theoretical Structures6 Radical Suggestions from Topological Quantum Field Theory?7 Sheaves of Einstein Algebras as Radical Structures?8 Conclusions. (shrink)
Approaches to quantum gravity often involve the disappearance of space and time at the fundamental level. The metaphysical consequences of this disappearance are profound, as is illustrated with David Lewis's analysis of modality. As Lewis's possible worlds are unified by the spatiotemporal relations among their parts, the non-fundamentality of spacetime---if borne out---suggests a serious problem for his analysis: his pluriverse, for all its ontological abundance, does not contain our world. Although the mere existence---as opposed to the fundamentality---of spacetime must be (...) recovered from the fundamental structure in order to guarantee the empirical coherence of the non-spatiotemporal fundamental theory, it does not suffice to salvage Lewis's theory of modality from the charge of rendering our actual world impossible. (shrink)
This paper examines two cosmological models of quantum gravity to investigate the foundational and conceptual issues arising from quantum treatments of the big bang. While the classical singularity is erased, the quantum evolution that replaces it may not correspond to classical spacetime: it may instead be a non-spatiotemporal region, which somehow transitions to a spatiotemporal state. The different kinds of transition involved are partially characterized, the concept of a physical transition without time is investigated, and the problem of empirical incoherence (...) for regions without spacetime is discussed. (shrink)
Using as a springboard a three-way debate between theoretical physicist Lee Smolin, philosopher of science Nancy Cartwright and myself, I address in layman’s terms the issues of why we need a unified theory of the fundamental interactions and why, in my opinion, string and M-theory currently offer the best hope. The focus will be on responding more generally to the various criticisms. I also describe the diverse application of string/M-theory techniques to other branches of physics and mathematics which render the (...) whole enterprise worthwhile whether or not “a theory of everything” is forthcoming. (shrink)
Policy-makers face an uncertain world. One way of getting a handle on decision-making in such an environment is to rely on evidence. Despite the recent increase in post-fact figures in politics, evidence-based policymaking takes centre stage in policy-setting institutions. Often, however, policy-makers face large volumes of evidence from different sources. Robustness analysis can, prima facie, handle this evidential diversity. Roughly, a hypothesis is supported by robust evidence if the different evidential sources are in agreement. In this thesis, I strengthen the (...) case for the use of robustness analysis in evidence-based policymaking by answering open research questions about this inference technique. First, I argue that existing taxonomies miss a fruitful category of robustness reasoning, that is predictive stability. Second, I claim that derivational robustness analysis – the investigation of whether the results of different models are in agreement – can yield interesting insights even if not the entire relevant model space is covered by available models or if the model results are only partially in agreement. Third, I claim that expert knowledge is necessary to address questions that arise when one applies measurement robustness analysis – the investigation into whether multiple means of measurement yield the same result. Finally, I argue that, in situations where evidence from different measurements is not in agreement, it can be advisable to no longer take all of the evidence into account. This can be done in a rationally defensible way by choosing the most adequate theory or model underlying parts of the evidence set. I discuss examples from climate, medical, and economic policy-making to establish my claims. (shrink)
More often than not, recently popular structuralist interpretations of physical theories leave the central concept of a structure insufficiently precisified. The incipient causal sets approach to quantum gravity offers a paradigmatic case of a physical theory predestined to be interpreted in structuralist terms. It is shown how employing structuralism lends itself to a natural interpretation of the physical meaning of causal set theory. Conversely, the conceptually exceptionally clear case of causal sets is used as a foil to illustrate how a (...) mathematically informed rigorous conceptualization of structure serves to identify structures in physical theories. Furthermore, a number of technical issues infesting structuralist interpretations of physical theories such as difficulties with grounding the identity of the places of highly symmetrical physical structures in their relational profile and what may resolve these difficulties can be vividly illustrated with causal sets. (shrink)
Hilary Putnam has argued that from a realist perspective, quantum mechanics stands in need of an interpretation. Ironically, this hypothesis may appear vulnerable against arguments drawing on Putnam's own work. Nancy Cartwright has urged that his 1962 essay on the meaning of theoretical terms suggests that quantum mechanics needs no interpretation and thus stands in tension with his claim of three years later. She furthermore contends that this conflict should be resolved in favour of the earlier work, as quantum mechanics, (...) like all successful theories, does not need an interpretation. The first part of this essay deflates both of these objections. The second part addresses and evaluates Putnam's own assessments of the main interpretative options available in 1965 and 2005. Although we may disagree on some aspects, his pessimistic conclusion will come out largely unscathed, and, in fact, enhanced. I will close by briefly stating the historical relevance of this work. (shrink)
Unlike the relativity theory it seeks to replace, causal set theory has been interpreted to leave space for a substantive, though perhaps ‘localized’, form of ‘becoming’. The possibility of fundamental becoming is nourished by the fact that the analogue of Stein’s theorem from special relativity does not hold in causal set theory. Despite this, we find that in many ways, the debate concerning becoming parallels the well-rehearsed lines it follows in the domain of relativity. We present, however, some new twists (...) and challenges. In particular, we show that a novel and exotic notion of becoming is compatible with causal sets. In contrast to the ‘localized’ becoming considered compatible with the dynamics of causal set theory by its advocates, our novel kind of becoming, while not answering to the typical A-theoretic demands, is ‘global’ and objective. (shrink)
We address the question of whether it is possible to operate a time machine by manipulating matter and energy so as to manufacture closed timelike curves. This question has received a great deal of attention in the physics literature, with attempts to prove no- go theorems based on classical general relativity and various hybrid theories serving as steps along the way towards quantum gravity. Despite the effort put into these no-go theorems, there is no widely accepted definition of a time (...) machine. We explain the conundrum that must be faced in providing a satisfactory definition and propose a resolution. Roughly, we require that all extensions of the time machine region contain closed timelike curves; the actions of the time machine operator are then sufficiently "potent" to guarantee that closed timelike curves appear. We then review no-go theorems based on classical general relativity, semi-classical quantum gravity, quantum field theory on curved spacetime, and Euclidean quantum gravity. Our verdict on the question of our title is that no result of sufficient generality to underwrite a confident "yes" has been proven. Our review of the no-go results does, however, highlight several foundational problems at the intersection of general relativity and quantum physics that lend substance to the search for an answer. (shrink)
Quantum gravity--the marriage of quantum physics with general relativity--is bound to contain deep and important lessons for the nature of physical time. Some of these lessons shall be canvassed here, particularly as they arise from quantum general relativity and string theory and related approaches. Of particular interest is the question of which of the intuitive aspects of time will turn out to be fundamental, and which 'emergent' in some sense.
Twentieth century philosophers introduced the distinction between “objective rightness” and “subjective rightness” to achieve two primary goals. The first goal is to reduce the paradoxical tension between our judgments of what is best for an agent to do in light of the actual circumstances in which she acts and what is wisest for her to do in light of her mistaken or uncertain beliefs about her circumstances. The second goal is to provide moral guidance to an agent who may be (...) uncertain about the circumstances in which she acts, and hence is unable to use her standard moral principle directly in deciding what to do. This paper distinguishes two important senses of “moral guidance”; proposes criteria of adequacy for accounts of subjective rightness; canvasses existing definitions for “subjective rightness”; finds them all deficient; and proposes a new and more successful account. It argues that each comprehensive moral theory must include multiple principles of subjective rightness to address the epistemic situations of the full range of moral decision-makers, and shows that accounts of subjective rightness formulated in terms of what it would reasonable for the agent to believe cannot provide that guidance. (shrink)