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  1. Understanding probability and irreversibility in the Mori-Zwanzig projection operator formalism.Michael te Vrugt - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (3):1-36.
    Explaining the emergence of stochastic irreversible macroscopic dynamics from time-reversible deterministic microscopic dynamics is one of the key problems in philosophy of physics. The Mori-Zwanzig projection operator formalism, which is one of the most important methods of modern nonequilibrium statistical mechanics, allows for a systematic derivation of irreversible transport equations from reversible microdynamics and thus provides a useful framework for understanding this issue. However, discussions of the MZ formalism in philosophy of physics tend to focus on simple variants rather than (...)
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  • On Bell’s Everett (?) Theory.Shan Gao - 2022 - Foundations of Physics 52 (4):1-7.
    Bell’s Everett theory is Bell’s interpretation of Everett’s theory, aiming to remove the picture of many worlds from the theory. In this paper, I argue that Bell’s Everett theory as a one-world theory contradicts quantum mechanics and experiments. Moreover, I argue that a proper understanding of this theory also leads to a picture of many worlds, and this many-worlds theory agrees with experiments.
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  • Perspectival Quantum Realism.Dennis Dieks - 2022 - Foundations of Physics 52 (4):1-20.
    The theories of pre-quantum physics are standardly seen as representing physical systems and their properties. Quantum mechanics in its standard form is a more problematic case: here, interpretational problems have led to doubts about the tenability of realist views. Thus, QBists and Quantum Pragmatists maintain that quantum mechanics should not be thought of as representing physical systems, but rather as an agent-centered tool for updating beliefs about such systems. It is part and parcel of such views that different agents may (...)
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  • Realism About the Wave Function.Eddy Keming Chen - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (7).
    A century after the discovery of quantum mechanics, the meaning of quantum mechanics still remains elusive. This is largely due to the puzzling nature of the wave function, the central object in quantum mechanics. If we are realists about quantum mechanics, how should we understand the wave function? What does it represent? What is its physical meaning? Answering these questions would improve our understanding of what it means to be a realist about quantum mechanics. In this survey article, I review (...)
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  • Quantum Arrangements.Gregg Jaeger - 2021 - Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature.
    his book presents a collection of novel contributions and reviews by renowned researchers in the foundations of quantum physics, quantum optics, and neutron physics. It is published in honor of Michael Horne, whose exceptionally clear and groundbreaking work in the foundations of quantum mechanics and interferometry, both of photons and of neutrons, has provided penetrating insight into the implications of modern physics for our understanding of the physical world. He is perhaps best known for the Clauser-Horne-Shimony-Holt (CHSH) inequality. This collection (...)
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  • Naturalness and Emergence.David Wallace - 2019 - The Monist 102 (4):499-524.
    I develop an account of naturalness in physics which demonstrates that naturalness assumptions are not restricted to narrow cases in high-energy physics but are a ubiquitous part of how interlevel relations are derived in physics. After exploring how and to what extent we might justify such assumptions on methodological grounds or through appeal to speculative future physics, I consider the apparent failure of naturalness in cosmology and in the Standard Model. I argue that any such naturalness failure threatens to undermine (...)
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  • Зеркало Клио: Метафизическое Постижение Истории.Алексей Владиславович Халапсис - 2017 - Днипро, Днепропетровская область, Украина, 49000:
    В монографии представлены несколько смысловых блоков, связанных с восприятием и интерпретацией человеком исторического бытия. Ранние греческие мыслители пытались получить доступ к исходникам (началам) бытия, и эти интенции легли в основу научного знания, а также привели к появлению метафизики. В классической (и в неклассической) метафизике за основу была принята догма Пифагора и Платона о неизменности подлинной реальности, из чего следовало отрицание бытийного характера времени. Автор монографии отказывается от этой догмы и предлагает стратегию обновления метафизики и перехода ее к новому — постнеклассическому (...)
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  • Qu'est-ce que le temps ?Baptiste Le Bihan - 2019 - Paris: Vrin.
    La philosophie contemporaine du temps voit s’affronter deux conceptions du temps : celle du devenir qui identifie la réalité naturelle à un présent en constant renouvellement et celle de l’univers-bloc qui assimile la réalité naturelle à un espace-temps étendu dans quatre dimensions. Cette dernière approche implique notamment que les événements qui nous semblent passés et futurs sont tout aussi réels que les événements présents et que les êtres humains, bien que mortels, sont des êtres éternels. L’auteur défend cette théorie de (...)
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  • Modal Ω-Logic: Automata, Neo-Logicism, and Set-Theoretic Realism.Hasen Khudairi - 2019 - In Matteo Vincenzo D'Alfonso & Don Berkich (eds.), On the Cognitive, Ethical, and Scientific Dimensions of Artificial Intelligence. Springer. pp. 65-82.
    This essay examines the philosophical significance of $\Omega$-logic in Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory with choice (ZFC). The duality between coalgebra and algebra permits Boolean-valued algebraic models of ZFC to be interpreted as coalgebras. The modal profile of $\Omega$-logical validity can then be countenanced within a coalgebraic logic, and $\Omega$-logical validity can be defined via deterministic automata. I argue that the philosophical significance of the foregoing is two-fold. First, because the epistemic and modal profiles of $\Omega$-logical validity correspond to those of second-order (...)
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  • The Spectrum of Metametaphysics: Mapping the State of Art in Scientific Metaphysics.Jonas R. Becker Arenhart & Raoni Wohnrath Arroyo - 2021 - Veritas – Revista de Filosofia da Pucrs 66 (1):e41217.
    Scientific realism is typically associated with metaphysics. One current incarnation of such an association concerns the requirement of a metaphysical characterization of the entities one is being a realist about. This is sometimes called “Chakravartty’s Challenge”, and codifies the claim that without a metaphysical characterization, one does not have a clear picture of the realistic commitments one is engaged with. The required connection between metaphysics and science naturally raises the question of whether such a demand is appropriately fulfilled, and how (...)
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  • The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Methodology.Herman Cappelen, Tamar Szabó Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.) - 2016 - Oxford University Press.
    This is the most comprehensive book ever published on philosophical methodology. A team of thirty-eight of the world's leading philosophers present original essays on various aspects of how philosophy should be and is done. The first part is devoted to broad traditions and approaches to philosophical methodology. The entries in the second part address topics in philosophical methodology, such as intuitions, conceptual analysis, and transcendental arguments. The third part of the book is devoted to essays about the interconnections between philosophy (...)
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  • Against Quantum Indeterminacy.David Glick - 2017 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 6 (3):204-213.
    A growing literature is premised on the claim that quantum mechanics provides evidence for metaphysical indeterminacy. But does it? None of the currently fashionable realist interpretations involve fundamental indeterminacy and the ‘standard interpretation’, to the extent that it can be made out, doesn't require indeterminacy either.
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  • Centering the Everett Interpretation.Isaac Wilhelm - 2022 - Philosophical Quarterly 72 (4):1019-1039.
    I propose an account of probability in the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics. According to the account, probabilities are objective chances of centered propositions. As I show, the account solves a number of problems concerning the role of probability in the Everett interpretation. It also challenges an implicit assumption, concerning the aim and scope of fundamental physical theories, that is made throughout the philosophy of physics literature.
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  • Analysis of Wallace’s Proof of the Born Rule in Everettian Quantum Mechanics II: Concepts and Axioms.André L. G. Mandolesi - 2019 - Foundations of Physics 49 (1):24-52.
    Having analyzed the formal aspects of Wallace’s proof of the Born rule, we now discuss the concepts and axioms upon which it is built. Justification for most axioms is shown to be problematic, and at times contradictory. Some of the problems are caused by ambiguities in the concepts used. We conclude the axioms are not reasonable enough to be taken as mandates of rationality in Everettian Quantum Mechanics. This invalidates the interpretation of Wallace’s result as meaning it would be rational (...)
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  • Quantum Indeterminacy and the Double-Slit Experiment.Claudio Calosi & Jessica Wilson - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 1:1-27.
    In Calosi and Wilson (Phil Studies 2019/2018), we argue that on many interpretations of quantum mechanics (QM), there is quantum mechanical indeterminacy (QMI), and that a determinable-based account of metaphysical indeterminacy (MI), as per Wilson 2013 and 2016, properly accommodates the full range of cases of QMI. Here we argue that this approach is superior to other treatments of QMI on offer, both realistic and deflationary, in providing the basis for an intelligible explanation of the interference patterns in the double-slit (...)
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  • Quantum Indeterminacy and the Double-slit Experiment.Claudio Calosi & Jessica Wilson - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (10):3291-3317.
    In Calosi and Wilson (Phil Studies 2019/2018), we argue that on many interpretations of quantum mechanics (QM), there is quantum mechanical indeterminacy (QMI), and that a determinable-based account of metaphysical indeterminacy (MI), as per Wilson 2013 and 2016, properly accommodates the full range of cases of QMI. Here we argue that this approach is superior to other treatments of QMI on offer, both realistic and deflationary, in providing the basis for an intelligible explanation of the interference patterns in the double-slit (...)
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  • What is It Like to Be a Relativistic GRW Theory? Or: Quantum Mechanics and Relativity, Still in Conflict After All These Years.Valia Allori - 2022 - Foundations of Physics 52 (4):1-28.
    The violation of Bell’s inequality has shown that quantum theory and relativity are in tension: reality is nonlocal. Nonetheless, many have argued that GRW-type theories are to be preferred to pilot-wave theories as they are more compatible with relativity: while relativistic pilot-wave theories require a preferred slicing of space-time, foliation-free relativistic GRW-type theories have been proposed. In this paper I discuss various meanings of ‘relativistic invariance,’ and I show how GRW-type theories, while being more relativistic in one sense, are less (...)
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  • Reality as a Vector in Hilbert Space.Sean M. Carroll - 2022 - In Valia Allori (ed.), Quantum Mechanics and Fundamentality: Naturalizing Quantum Theory between Scientific Realism and Ontological Indeterminacy. Copenhagen: Springer Cham. pp. 211-224.
    I defend the extremist position that the fundamental ontology of the world consists of a vector in Hilbert space evolving according to the Schrödinger equation. The laws of physics are determined solely by the energy eigenspectrum of the Hamiltonian. The structure of our observed world, including space and fields living within it, should arise as a higher-level emergent description. I sketch how this might come about, although much work remains to be done.
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  • Quantum Worlds.Jeffrey A. Barrett - 2016 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 20 (1):45-60.
    Because of the conceptual difficulties it faces, quantum mechanics provides a salient example of how alternative metaphysical commitments may clarify our understanding of a physical theory and the explanations it provides. Here we will consider how postulating alternative quantum worlds in the context of Hugh Everett III’s pure wave mechanics may serve to explain determinate measurement records and the standard quantum statistics. We will focus on the properties of such worlds, then briefly consider other metaphysical options available for interpreting pure (...)
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  • What Does the World Look Like According to Superdeterminism.Augustin Baas & Baptiste Le Bihan - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    The violation of Bell inequalities seems to establish an important fact about the world: that it is non-local. However, this result relies on the assumption of the statistical independence of the measurement settings with respect to potential past events that might have determined them. Superdeterminism refers to the view that a local, and determinist, account of Bell inequalities violations is possible, by rejecting this assumption of statistical independence. We examine and clarify various problems with superdeterminism, looking in particular at its (...)
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  • Bell’s Theorem, Quantum Probabilities, and Superdeterminism.Eddy Keming Chen - 2021 - In Eleanor Knox & Alastair Wilson (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Physics. Routledge.
    In this short survey article, I discuss Bell’s theorem and some strategies that attempt to avoid the conclusion of non-locality. I focus on two that intersect with the philosophy of probability: (1) quantum probabilities and (2) superdeterminism. The issues they raised not only apply to a wide class of no-go theorems about quantum mechanics but are also of general philosophical interest.
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  • Fundamentality and Levels in Everettian Quantum Mechanics.Alastair Wilson - forthcoming - In Valia Allori (ed.), Quantum Mechanics and Fundamentality. Springer.
    Distinctions in fundamentality between different levels of description are central to the viability of contemporary decoherence-based Everettian quantum mechanics (EQM). This approach to quantum theory characteristically combines a determinate fundamental reality (one universal wave function) with an indeterminate emergent reality (multiple decoherent worlds). In this chapter I explore how the Everettian appeal to fundamentality and emergence can be understood within existing metaphysical frameworks, identify grounding and concept fundamentality as promising theoretical tools, and use them to characterize a system of explanatory (...)
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  • A Simplicity Criterion for Physical Computation.Tyler Millhouse - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (1):153-178.
    The aim of this paper is to offer a formal criterion for physical computation that allows us to objectively distinguish between competing computational interpretations of a physical system. The criterion construes a computational interpretation as an ordered pair of functions mapping (1) states of a physical system to states of an abstract machine, and (2) inputs to this machine to interventions in this physical system. This interpretation must ensure that counterfactuals true of the abstract machine have appropriate counterparts which are (...)
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  • Quantum Computing.Amit Hagar & Michael Cuffaro - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Combining physics, mathematics and computer science, quantum computing and its sister discipline of quantum information have developed in the past few decades from visionary ideas to two of the most fascinating areas of quantum theory. General interest and excitement in quantum computing was initially triggered by Peter Shor (1994) who showed how a quantum algorithm could exponentially “speed-up” classical computation and factor large numbers into primes far more efficiently than any (known) classical algorithm. Shor’s algorithm was soon followed by several (...)
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  • Quantum Superpositions and the Representation of Physical Reality Beyond Measurement Outcomes and Mathematical Structures.Christian de Ronde - 2016 - Foundations of Science 23 (4):621-648.
    In this paper we intend to discuss the importance of providing a physical representation of quantum superpositions which goes beyond the mere reference to mathematical structures and measurement outcomes. This proposal goes in the opposite direction to the project present in orthodox contemporary philosophy of physics which attempts to “bridge the gap” between the quantum formalism and common sense “classical reality”—precluding, right from the start, the possibility of interpreting quantum superpositions through non-classical notions. We will argue that in order to (...)
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  • Objective Probability in Everettian Quantum Mechanics.Alastair Wilson - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (4):709-737.
    David Wallace has given a decision-theoretic argument for the Born Rule in the context of Everettian quantum mechanics. This approach promises to resolve some long-standing problems with probability in EQM, but it has faced plenty of resistance. One kind of objection charges that the requisite notion of decision-theoretic uncertainty is unavailable in the Everettian picture, so that the argument cannot gain any traction; another kind of objection grants the proof’s applicability and targets the premises. In this article I propose some (...)
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  • Interpreting the Quantum Mechanics of Cosmology.David Wallace - forthcoming - In A. Ijjas & B. Loewer (eds.), Philosophy of Cosmology: an Introduction. Oxford University Press.
    Quantum theory plays an increasingly significant role in contemporary early-universe cosmology, most notably in the inflationary origins of the fluctuation spectrum of the microwave background radiation. I consider the two main strategies for interpreting standard quantum mechanics in the light of cosmology. I argue that the conceptual difficulties of the approaches based around an irreducible role for measurement - already very severe - become intolerable in a cosmological context, whereas the approach based around Everett's original idea of treating quantum systems (...)
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  • Karl Popper, Science and Enlightenment.Nicholas Maxwell - 2017 - London: UCL Press.
    Karl Popper is famous for having proposed that science advances by a process of conjecture and refutation. He is also famous for defending the open society against what he saw as its arch enemies – Plato and Marx. Popper’s contributions to thought are of profound importance, but they are not the last word on the subject. They need to be improved. My concern in this book is to spell out what is of greatest importance in Popper’s work, what its failings (...)
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  • It's About Time: Dynamics of Inflationary Cosmology as the Source of the Asymmetry of Time.Emre Keskin - 2014 - Dissertation, University of South Florida
    This project is about the asymmetry of time. The main source of discontent for physicists and philosophers alike is that even though in every physical theory we developed and/or discovered for explaining how the universe functions, the laws are time reversal invariant; there seems to be a very genuine asymmetry between the past and the future. The aim of this project is to examine several attempts to solve this friction between the laws of physics and the asymmetry and provide a (...)
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  • (In)effective realism?Juha Saatsi - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (2):1-16.
    Matthias Egg argues that scientific realism can be reconciled with quantum mechanics and its foundational underdetermination by focusing realist commitments on ‘effective’ ontology. I argue in general terms that Egg’s effective realism is ontologically overly promiscuous. I illustrate the issue in relation to both Newtonian mechanics and quantum mechanics.
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  • On The Methodological Arguments for Wave−Function Realism.Vera Matarese - 2022 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 34 (2):63-80.
    The paper explores a particular line of objection against wave-function realism. This view, advocated by Bell and presently defended by Albert, North and Ney, claims tha...
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  • Hempel’s Dilemma: Not Only for Physicalism.Erez Firt, Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2022 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 34 (2):101-129.
    According to the so-called Hempel’s Dilemma, the thesis of physicalism is either false or empty. Our intention in this paper is not to propose a solution to the Dilemma, but rather to argue as follows: to the extent that Hempel’s Dilemma applies to physicalism it equally applies to any theory that gives a deep-structure and changeable account of our experience or of high-level theories. In particular, we will show that it also applies to mind-body dualistic theories. The scope of Hempel’s (...)
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  • Everettian Mechanics with Hyperfinitely Many Worlds.Jeffrey Barrett & Isaac Goldbring - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-20.
    The present paper shows how one might model Everettian quantum mechanics using hyperfinitely many worlds. A hyperfinite model allows one to consider idealized measurements of observables with continuous-valued spectra where different outcomes are associated with possibly infinitesimal probabilities. One can also prove hyperfinite formulations of Everett’s limiting relative-frequency and randomness properties, theorems he considered central to his formulation of quantum mechanics. Finally, this model provides an intuitive framework in which to consider no-collapse formulations of quantum mechanics more generally.
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  • Chaos.Robert Bishop - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The big news about chaos is supposed to be that the smallest of changes in a system can result in very large differences in that system's behavior. The so-called butterfly effect has become one of the most popular images of chaos. The idea is that the flapping of a butterfly's wings in Argentina could cause a tornado in Texas three weeks later. By contrast, in an identical copy of the world sans the Argentinian butterfly, no such storm would have arisen (...)
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  • The Role of Decoherence in Quantum Mechanics.Guido Bacciagaluppi - 2003 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Interference phenomena are a well-known and crucial feature of quantum mechanics, the two-slit experiment providing a standard example. There are situations, however, in which interference effects are (artificially or spontaneously) suppressed. We shall need to make precise what this means, but the theory of decoherence is the study of (spontaneous) interactions between a system and its environment that lead to such suppression of interference. This study includes detailed modelling of system-environment interactions, derivation of equations (‘master equations’) for the (reduced) state (...)
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  • Worlds in a Stochastic Universe: On the Emergence of World Histories in Minimal Bohmian Mechanics.Alexander Ehmann - 2020 - Dissertation, Lingnan University
    This thesis develops a detailed account of the emergence of for all practical purposes continuous, quasi-classical world histories from the discontinuous, stochastic micro dynamics of Minimal Bohmian Mechanics (MBM). MBM is a non-relativistic quantum theory. It results from excising the guiding equation from standard Bohmian Mechanics (BM) and reinterpreting the quantum equilibrium hypothesis as a stochastic guidance law for the random actualization of configurations of Bohmian particles. On MBM, there are no continuous trajectories linking up individual configurations. Instead, individual configurations (...)
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  • The preferred basis problem in the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics: why decoherence does not solve it.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2022 - Synthese 200 (3):1-25.
    We start by very briefly describing the measurement problem in quantum mechanics and its solution by the Many Worlds Interpretation. We then describe the preferred basis problem, and the role of decoherence in the MWI. We discuss a number of approaches to the preferred basis problem and argue that contrary to the received wisdom, decoherence by itself does not solve the problem. We address Wallace’s emergentist approach based on what he calls Dennett’s criterion, and we compare the logical structure of (...)
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  • The physicist inside the ambiguous room: an argument against the need of consciousness in the quantum mechanical measurement process.Carlo Roselli - 2022 - Foundations of Physics 52 (2):1-12.
    The aim of this paper is to invalidate the hypothesis that human consciousness is necessary in the quantum measurement process. In order to achieve this target, I propose a considerable modification of the Schrödinger’s cat and the Dead-Alive Physicist thought experiments, called “PIAR”, short for “Physicist Inside the Ambiguous Room”. A specific strategy has enabled me to plan the experiment in such a way as to logically justify the inconsistency of the above hypothesis and to oblige its supporters to rely (...)
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  • On the Carroll–Chen Model.Christopher Gregory Weaver - 2017 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 48 (1):97-124.
    I argue that the Carroll-Chen cosmogonic model does not provide a plausible scientific explanation of the past hypothesis (the thesis that our universe began in an extremely low-entropy state). I suggest that this counts as a welcomed result for those who adopt a Mill-Ramsey-Lewis best systems account of laws and maintain that the past hypothesis is a brute fact that is a non-dynamical law.
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  • Disentangling Nature's Joints.Tuomas Tahko - 2017 - In William Simpson, Robert Koons & Nicholas Teh (eds.), Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Contemporary Science. Routledge. pp. 147-166.
    Can the neo-Aristotelian uphold a pluralist substance ontology while taking seriously the recent arguments in favour of monism based on quantum holism and other arguments from quantum mechanics? In this article, Jonathan Schaffer’s priority monism will be the main target. It will be argued that the case from quantum mechanics in favour of priority monism does face some challenges. Moreover, if the neo-Aristotelian is willing to consider alternative ways to understand ‘substance’, there may yet be hope for a pluralist substance (...)
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  • A New Approach to the Relational‐Substantival Debate.Jill North - 2018 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 11:3-43.
    We should see the debate over the existence of spacetime as a debate about the fundamentality of spatiotemporal structure to the physical world. This is a non-traditional conception of the debate, which captures the spirit of the traditional one. At the same time, it clarifies the point of contention between opposing views and offsets worries that the dispute is stagnant or non-substantive. It also unearths a novel argument for substantivalism, given current physics. Even so, that conclusion can be overridden by (...)
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  • Taking Models Seriously and Being a Linguistic Realist.Raoni Wohnrath Arroyo & Gilson Olegario da Silva - 2022 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 26 (1):73-94.
    Carnap's conception of linguistic frameworks is widespread; however, it is not entirely clear nor consensual to pinpoint what is the influence of his stance within the traditional realist/anti-realist debate. In this paper, we place Carnap as a proponent of a scientific realist stance, by presenting what he called “linguistic realism”. Some possible criticisms are considered, and a case study is offered with wave function realism, a popular position in the philosophy of quantum mechanics.
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  • One World is (Probably) Just as Good as Many.Jer Steeger - 2022 - Synthese 200 (97):1-32.
    One of our most sophisticated accounts of objective chance in quantum mechanics involves the Deutsch-Wallace theorem, which uses state-space symmetries to justify agents’ use of the Born rule when the quantum state is known. But Wallace argues that this theorem requires an Everettian approach to measurement. I find that this argument is unsound. I demonstrate a counter-example by applying the Deutsch-Wallace theorem to the de Broglie-Bohm pilot-wave theory.
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  • Entanglement, Complexity, and Causal Asymmetry in Quantum Theories.Porter Williams - 2022 - Foundations of Physics 52 (2):1-38.
    It is often claimed that one cannot locate a notion of causation in fundamental physical theories. The reason most commonly given is that the dynamics of those theories do not support any distinction between the past and the future, and this vitiates any attempt to locate a notion of causal asymmetry—and thus of causation—in fundamental physical theories. I argue that this is incorrect: the ubiquitous generation of entanglement between quantum systems grounds a relevant asymmetry in the dynamical evolution of quantum (...)
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  • On the Plurality of Quantum Theories: Quantum Theory as a Framework, and its Implications for the Quantum Measurement Problem.David Wallace - forthcoming - In S. French & J. Saatsi (eds.), Scientific Realism and the Quantum. Oxford University Press.
    `Quantum theory' is not a single physical theory but a framework in which many different concrete theories fit. As such, a solution to the quantum measurement problem ought to provide a recipe to interpret each such concrete theory, in a mutually consistent way. But with the exception of the Everett interpretation, the mainextant solutions either try to make sense of the abstract framework as if it were concrete, or else interpret one particular quantum theory under the fiction that it is (...)
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  • Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking in Finite Quantum Systems: A Decoherent-Histories Approach.David Wallace - unknown
    Spontaneous symmetry breaking in quantum systems, such as ferromagnets, is normally described as degeneracy of the ground state; however, it is well established that this degeneracy only occurs in spatially infinite systems, and even better established that ferromagnets are not spatially infinite. I review this well-known paradox, and consider a popular solution where the symmetry is explicitly broken by some external field which goes to zero in the infinite-volume limit; although this is formally satisfactory, I argue that it must be (...)
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  • Stating Structural Realism: Mathematics-First Approaches to Physics and Metaphysics.David Wallace - unknown
    I respond to the frequent objection that structural realism fails to sharply state an alternative to the standard predicate-logic, object / property / relation, way of doing metaphysics. The approach I propose is based on what I call a 'math-first' approach to physical theories where the content of a physical theory is to be understood primarily in terms of its mathematical structure and the representational relations it bears to physical systems, rather than as a collection of sentences that attempt to (...)
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  • What is Orthodox Quantum Mechanics?David Wallace - 2019 - In Alberto Cordero (ed.), Philosophers Look at Quantum Mechanics. Springer Verlag.
    What is called ``orthodox'' quantum mechanics, as presented in standard foundational discussions, relies on two substantive assumptions --- the projection postulate and the eigenvalue-eigenvector link --- that do not in fact play any part in practical applications of quantum mechanics. I argue for this conclusion on a number of grounds, but primarily on the grounds that the projection postulate fails correctly to account for repeated, continuous and unsharp measurements and that the eigenvalue-eigenvector link implies that virtually all interesting properties are (...)
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  • A Prolegomenon to the Ontology of the Everett Interpretation.David Wallace - unknown
    In this article, I briefly explain the quantum measurement problem and the Everett interpretation, in a way that is faithful to modern physics and yet accessible to readers without any physics training. I then consider the metaphysical lessons for ontology from quantum mechanics under the Everett interpretation. My conclusions are largely negative: I argue that very little can be said in full generality about the ontology of quantum mechanics, because quantum mechanics, like abstract classical mechanics, is a framework within which (...)
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  • Decoherence and its Role in the Modern Measurement Problem.David Wallace - unknown
    Decoherence is widely felt to have something to do with the quantum measurement problem, but getting clear on just what is made diffcult by the fact that the "measurement problem", as traditionally presented in foundational and philosophical discussions, has become somewhat disconnected from the conceptual problems posed by real physics. This, in turn, is because quantum mechanics as discussed in textbooks and in foundational discussions has become somewhat removed from scientific practice, especially where the analysis of measurement is concerned. This (...)
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