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  1. Infinite Idealizations in Physics.Elay Shech - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (9):e12514.
    In this essay, I provide an overview of the debate on infinite and essential idealizations in physics. I will first present two ostensible examples: phase transitions and the Aharonov– Bohm effect. Then, I will describe the literature on the topic as a debate between two positions: Essentialists claim that idealizations are essential or indispensable for scientific accounts of certain physical phenomena, while dispensabilists maintain that idealizations are dispensable from mature scientific theory. I will also identify some attempts at finding a (...)
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  • Philosophical Issues Concerning Phase Transitions and Anyons: Emergence, Reduction, and Explanatory Fictions.Elay Shech - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (3):585-615.
    Various claims regarding intertheoretic reduction, weak and strong notions of emergence, and explanatory fictions have been made in the context of first-order thermodynamic phase transitions. By appealing to John Norton’s recent distinction between approximation and idealization, I argue that the case study of anyons and fractional statistics, which has received little attention in the philosophy of science literature, is more hospitable to such claims. In doing so, I also identify three novel roles that explanatory fictions fulfill in science. Furthermore, I (...)
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  • Fundamentality, Scale, and the Fractional Quantum Hall Effect.Elay Shech & Patrick McGivern - 2021 - Erkenntnis 86 (6):1411-1430.
    We examine arguments for distinguishing between ontological and epistemological concepts of fundamentality, focusing in particular on the role that scale plays in these concepts. Using the fractional quantum Hall effect as a case study, we show that we can draw a distinction between ontologically fundamental and non-fundamental theories without insisting that it is only the fundamental theories that get the ontology right: there are cases where non-fundamental theories involve distinct ontologies that better characterize real systems than fundamental ones do. In (...)
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  • The Non-Ideal Theory of the Aharonov–Bohm Effect.John Dougherty - 2020 - Synthese (12):12195-12221.
    Elay Shech and John Earman have recently argued that the common topological interpretation of the Aharonov–Bohm (AB) effect is unsatisfactory because it fails to justify idealizations that it presupposes. In particular, they argue that an adequate account of the AB effect must address the role of boundary conditions in certain ideal cases of the effect. In this paper I defend the topological interpretation against their criticisms. I consider three types of idealization that might arise in treatments of the effect. First, (...)
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