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  1. Laws of Nature as Constraints.Emily Adlam - 2022 - Foundations of Physics 52 (1):1-41.
    The laws of nature have come a long way since the time of Newton: quantum mechanics and relativity have given us good reasons to take seriously the possibility of laws which may be non-local, atemporal, ‘all-at-once,’ retrocausal, or in some other way not well-suited to the standard dynamical time evolution paradigm. Laws of this kind can be accommodated within a Humean approach to lawhood, but many extant non-Humean approaches face significant challenges when we try to apply them to laws outside (...)
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  2.  66
    Information is Physical: Cross-Perspective Links in Relational Quantum Mechanics.Emily Adlam & Carlo Rovelli - 2023 - Philosophy of Physics 1 (1).
    Relational quantum mechanics (RQM) is an interpretation of quantum mechanics based on the idea that quantum states do not describe an absolute property of a system but rather a relationship between systems. There have recently been some criticisms of RQM pertaining to issues around intersubjectivity. In this article, we show how RQM can address these criticisms by adding a new postulate which requires that all of the information possessed by a certain observer is stored in physical variables of that observer (...)
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  3.  37
    Does science need intersubjectivity? The problem of confirmation in orthodox interpretations of quantum mechanics.Emily Adlam - 2022 - Synthese 200 (6):1–39.
    Any successful interpretation of quantum mechanics must explain how our empirical evidence allows us to come to know about quantum mechanics. In this article, we argue that this vital criterion is not met by the class of ‘orthodox interpretations,’ which includes QBism, neo-Copenhagen interpretations, and some versions of relational quantum mechanics. We demonstrate that intersubjectivity fails in radical ways in these approaches, and we explain why intersubjectivity matters for empirical confirmation. We take a detailed look at the way in which (...)
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  4.  36
    What Does ‘(Non)-absoluteness of Observed Events’ Mean?Emily Adlam - 2024 - Foundations of Physics 54 (1):1-43.
    Recently there have emerged an assortment of theorems relating to the ‘absoluteness of emerged events,’ and these results have sometimes been used to argue that quantum mechanics may involve some kind of metaphysically radical non-absoluteness, such as relationalism or perspectivalism. However, in our view a close examination of these theorems fails to convincingly support such possibilities. In this paper we argue that the Wigner’s friend paradox, the theorem of Bong et al and the theorem of Lawrence et al are all (...)
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  5.  65
    Determinism beyond time evolution.Emily Adlam - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (4):1-36.
    Physicists are increasingly beginning to take seriously the possibility of laws outside the traditional time-evolution paradigm; yet many popular definitions of determinism are still predicated on a time-evolution picture, making them manifestly unsuited to the diverse range of research programmes in modern physics. In this article, we use a constraint-based framework to set out a generalization of determinism which does not presuppose temporal evolution, distinguishing between strong, weak and delocalised holistic determinism. We discuss some interesting consequences of these generalized notions (...)
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  6.  52
    Foundations of Quantum Mechanics.Emily Adlam - 2021 - Cambridge University Press.
    Quantum mechanics is an extraordinarily successful scientific theory. But more than 100 years after it was first introduced, the interpretation of the theory remains controversial. This Element introduces some of the most puzzling questions at the foundations of quantum mechanics and provides an up-to-date and forward-looking survey of the most prominent ways in which physicists and philosophers of physics have attempted to resolve them. Topics covered include nonlocality, contextuality, the reality of the wavefunction and the measurement problem. The discussion is (...)
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  7.  50
    Operational theories as structural realism.Emily Adlam - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 94 (C):99-111.
  8.  47
    Is there causation in fundamental physics? New insights from process matrices and quantum causal modelling.Emily Adlam - 2023 - Synthese 201 (5):1-40.
    In this article we set out to understand the significance of the process matrix formalism and the quantum causal modelling programme for ongoing disputes about the role of causation in fundamental physics. We argue that the process matrix programme has correctly identified a notion of ‘causal order’ which plays an important role in fundamental physics, but this notion is weaker than the common-sense conception of causation because it does not involve asymmetry. We argue that causal order plays an important role (...)
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  9. Two roads to retrocausality.Emily Adlam - 2022 - Synthese 200 (5):1-36.
    In recent years the quantum foundations community has seen increasing interest in the possibility of using retrocausality as a route to rejecting the conclusions of Bell’s theorem and restoring locality to quantum physics. On the other hand, it has also been argued that accepting nonlocality leads to a form of retrocausality. In this article we seek to elucidate the relationship between retrocausality and locality. We begin by providing a brief schema of the various ways in which violations of Bell’s inequalities (...)
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  10. The problem of confirmation in the Everett interpretation.Emily Adlam - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 47:21-32.
    I argue that the Oxford school Everett interpretation is internally incoherent, because we cannot claim that in an Everettian universe the kinds of reasoning we have used to arrive at our beliefs about quantum mechanics would lead us to form true beliefs. I show that in an Everettian context, the experimental evidence that we have available could not provide empirical confirmation for quantum mechanics, and moreover that we would not even be able to establish reference to the theoretical entities of (...)
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  11.  40
    Contextuality, Fine-Tuning and Teleological Explanation.Emily Adlam - 2021 - Foundations of Physics 51 (6):1-40.
    I assess various proposals for the source of the intuition that there is something problematic about contextuality, ultimately concluding that contextuality is best thought of in terms of fine-tuning. I then argue that as with other fine-tuning problems in quantum mechanics, this behaviour can be understood as a manifestation of teleological features of physics. Finally I discuss several formal mathematical frameworks that have been used to analyse contextuality and consider how their results should be interpreted by scientific realists. In the (...)
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  12.  44
    Tabletop Experiments for Quantum Gravity Are Also Tests of the Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.Emily Adlam - 2022 - Foundations of Physics 52 (5):1-43.
    Recently there has been a great deal of interest in tabletop experiments intended to exhibit the quantum nature of gravity by demonstrating that it can induce entanglement. In order to evaluate these experiments, we must determine if there is any interesting class of possibilities that will be convincingly ruled out if it turns out that gravity can indeed induce entanglement. In particular, since one argument for the significance of these experiments rests on the claim that they demonstrate the existence of (...)
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  13.  33
    Fundamental?Emily Adlam - 2019 - In Anthony Aguirre, Brendan Foster & Zeeya Merali (eds.), What is Fundamental? Cham: Springer Verlag. pp. 5-12.
    It’s family games night, and we’re playing a guessing game. My mother—not a physicist—picks up a card and says, ‘A fundamental particle.’.
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  14.  32
    Do We Have any Viable Solution to the Measurement Problem?Emily Adlam - 2023 - Foundations of Physics 53 (2):1-32.
    Wallace has recently argued that a number of popular approaches to the measurement problem can’t be fully extended to relativistic quantum mechanics and quantum field theory; Wallace thus contends that as things currently stand, only the unitary-only approaches to the measurement problem are viable. However, the unitary-only approaches face serious epistemic problems which may threaten their viability as solutions, and thus we consider that it remains an urgent outstanding problem to find a viable solution to the measurement problem which can (...)
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  15.  26
    The Temporal Asymmetry of Influence is Not Statistical.Emily Adlam - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science:1-18.
    We argue that the temporal asymmetry of influence is not merely the result of thermodynamics: it is a consequence of the fact that modal structure of the universe must admit only processes which cannot give rise to contradictions. We appeal to the process matrix formalism developed in the field of quantum foundations to characterise processes which are compatible with local free will whilst ruling out contradictions, and argue that this gives rise to ‘consistent chaining’ requirements that explain the temporal asymmetry (...)
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  16.  24
    Watching the Clocks: Interpreting the Page–Wootters Formalism and the Internal Quantum Reference Frame Programme.Emily Adlam - 2022 - Foundations of Physics 52 (5):1-49.
    We discuss some difficulties that arise in attempting to interpret the Page–Wootters and Internal Quantum Reference Frames formalisms, then use a ‘final measurement’ approach to demonstrate that there is a workable single-world realist interpretation for these formalisms. We note that it is necessary to adopt some interpretation before we can determine if the ‘reference frames’ invoked in these approaches are operationally meaningful, and we argue that without a clear operational interpretation, such reference frames might not be suitable to define an (...)
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