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Aaron Sidney Wright
Stanford University
  1.  24
    A beautiful sea: P. A. M. Dirac's epistemology and ontology of the vacuum.Aaron Sidney Wright - 2016 - Annals of Science 73 (3):225-256.
    This paper charts P.A.M. Dirac’s development of his theory of the electron, and its radical picture of empty space as an almost-full plenum. Dirac’s Quantum Electrodynamics famously accomplished more than the unification of special relativity and quantum mechanics. It also accounted for the ‘duplexity phenomena’ of spectral line splitting that we now attribute to electron spin. But the extra mathematical terms that allowed for spin were not alone, and this paper charts Dirac’s struggle to ignore or account for them as (...)
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    Fresnel's laws, ceteris paribus.Aaron Sidney Wright - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 64:38-52.
    This article is about structural realism, historical continuity, laws of nature, and \emph{ceteris paribus} clauses. Fresnel's Laws of optics support Structural Realism because they are a scientific structure that has survived theory change. However, the history of Fresnel's Laws which has been depicted in debates over realism since the 1980s is badly distorted. Specifically, claims that J.~C. Maxwell or his followers believed in an ontologically-subsistent electromagnetic field, and gave up the aether, before Einstein's \emph{annus mirabilis} in 1905 are indefensible. Related (...)
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    The Physics of Forgetting: Thermodynamics of Information at IBM 1959–1982.Aaron Sidney Wright - 2016 - Perspectives on Science 24 (1):112-141.
    . The origin and history of Landauer’s principle is traced through the development of the thermodynamics of computation at IBM from 1959 to 1982. This development was characterized by multiple conceptual shifts: memory came to be seen not as information storage, but as delayed information transmission; information itself was seen not as a disembodied logical entity, but as participating in the physical world; and logical irreversibility was connected with physical, thermodynamic, irreversibility. These conceptual shifts were characterized by an ambivalence opposing (...)
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    “I hold every properly qualified navigator to be a philosopher”: The Making of the U.S. Naval Observatory’s Global Laboratory.Aaron Sidney Wright - 2009 - Spontaneous Generations 3 (1):82-94.
    This paper presents the data gathering of Matthew Fontine Maury at the U.S. Naval Observatory as pushing an epistemic boundary outside traditional laboratory walls. Maury's use and control of civilian navigators explicates the development of an astronomic epistemology deeply embedded in nineteenth century American society. In conclusion, following the movement of epistemic boundaries is offered as a guide to crucial moments in the development of a multifaceted modernity.
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