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Hans Halvorson [62]Hans P. Halvorson [1]
  1. What Scientific Theories Could Not Be.Hans Halvorson - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (2):183-206.
    According to the semantic view of scientific theories, theories are classes of models. I show that this view -- if taken seriously as a formal explication -- leads to absurdities. In particular, this view equates theories that are truly distinct, and it distinguishes theories that are truly equivalent. Furthermore, the semantic view lacks the resources to explicate interesting theoretical relations, such as embeddability of one theory into another. The untenability of the semantic view -- as currently formulated -- threatens to (...)
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  2. The Logic in Philosophy of Science.Hans Halvorson - 2019 - Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.
    Major figures of twentieth-century philosophy were enthralled by the revolution in formal logic, and many of their arguments are based on novel mathematical discoveries. Hilary Putnam claimed that the Löwenheim-Skølem theorem refutes the existence of an objective, observer-independent world; Bas van Fraassen claimed that arguments against empiricism in philosophy of science are ineffective against a semantic approach to scientific theories; W. V. O. Quine claimed that the distinction between analytic and synthetic truths is trivialized by the fact that any theory (...)
  3. Glymour and Quine on Theoretical Equivalence.Thomas William Barrett & Hans Halvorson - 2016 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 45 (5):467-483.
    Glymour and Quine propose two different formal criteria for theoretical equivalence. In this paper we examine the relationships between these criteria.
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  4. Morita Equivalence.Thomas William Barrett & Hans Halvorson - 2016 - Review of Symbolic Logic 9 (3):556-582.
    Logicians and philosophers of science have proposed various formal criteria for theoretical equivalence. In this paper, we examine two such proposals: definitional equivalence and categorical equivalence. In order to show precisely how these two well-known criteria are related to one another, we investigate an intermediate criterion called Morita equivalence.
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  5. The Semantic View, If Plausible, Is Syntactic.Hans Halvorson - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (3):475-478.
    Halvorson argues that the semantic view of theories leads to absurdities. Glymour shows how to inoculate the semantic view against Halvorson's criticisms, namely by making it into a syntactic view of theories. I argue that this modified semantic-syntactic view cannot do the philosophical work that the original "language-free" semantic view was supposed to do.
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  6. Characterizing quantum theory in terms of information-theoretic constraints.Rob Clifton, Jeffrey Bub & Hans Halvorson - 2002 - Foundations of Physics 33 (11):1561-1591.
    We show that three fundamental information-theoretic constraints -- the impossibility of superluminal information transfer between two physical systems by performing measurements on one of them, the impossibility of broadcasting the information contained in an unknown physical state, and the impossibility of unconditionally secure bit commitment -- suffice to entail that the observables and state space of a physical theory are quantum-mechanical. We demonstrate the converse derivation in part, and consider the implications of alternative answers to a remaining open question about (...)
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  7. Scientific Theories.Hans Halvorson - 2016 - In Paul Humphreys (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Science. Oxford University Press USA. pp. 585-608.
    Since the beginning of the 20th century, philosophers of science have asked, "what kind of thing is a scientific theory?" The logical positivists answered: a scientific theory is a mathematical theory, plus an empirical interpretation of that theory. Moreover, they assumed that a mathematical theory is specified by a set of axioms in a formal language. Later 20th century philosophers questioned this account, arguing instead that a scientific theory need not include a mathematical component; or that the mathematical component need (...)
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  8. No place for particles in relativistic quantum theories?Hans Halvorson & Rob Clifton - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (1):1-28.
    David Malament (1996) has recently argued that there can be no relativistic quantum theory of (localizable) particles. We consider and rebut several objections that have been made against the soundness of Malament’s argument. We then consider some further objections that might be made against the generality of Malament’s conclusion, and we supply three no‐go theorems to counter these objections. Finally, we dispel potential worries about the counterintuitive nature of these results by showing that relativistic quantum field theory itself explains the (...)
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  9. Are Rindler Quanta Real? Inequivalent Particle Concepts in Quantum Field Theory.Rob Clifton & Hans Halvorson - 2001 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (3):417-470.
    Philosophical reflection on quantum field theory has tended to focus on how it revises our conception of what a particle is. However, there has been relatively little discussion of the threat to the "reality" of particles posed by the possibility of inequivalent quantizations of a classical field theory, i.e., inequivalent representations of the algebra of observables of the field in terms of operators on a Hilbert space. The threat is that each representation embodies its own distinctive conception of what a (...)
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  10. Categories of scientific theories.Hans Halvorson & Dimitris Tsementzis - 2018 - In Elaine Landry (ed.), Categories for the Working Philosopher. Oxford University Press.
    We discuss ways in which category theory might be useful in philosophy of science, in particular for articulating the structure of scientific theories. We argue, moreover, that a categorical approach transcends the syntax-semantics dichotomy in 20th century analytic philosophy of science.
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  11. Algebraic quantum field theory.Hans Halvorson & Michael Mueger - 2006 - In J. Butterfield & J. Earman (eds.), Handbook of the philosophy of physics. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
    Algebraic quantum field theory provides a general, mathematically precise description of the structure of quantum field theories, and then draws out consequences of this structure by means of various mathematical tools -- the theory of operator algebras, category theory, etc.. Given the rigor and generality of AQFT, it is a particularly apt tool for studying the foundations of QFT. This paper is a survey of AQFT, with an orientation towards foundational topics. In addition to covering the basics of the theory, (...)
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  12. From Geometry to Conceptual Relativity.Thomas William Barrett & Hans Halvorson - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (5):1043-1063.
    The purported fact that geometric theories formulated in terms of points and geometric theories formulated in terms of lines are “equally correct” is often invoked in arguments for conceptual relativity, in particular by Putnam and Goodman. We discuss a few notions of equivalence between first-order theories, and we then demonstrate a precise sense in which this purported fact is true. We argue, however, that this fact does not undermine metaphysical realism.
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  13. Mutual translatability, equivalence, and the structure of theories.Thomas William Barrett & Hans Halvorson - 2022 - Synthese 200 (3):1-36.
    This paper presents a simple pair of first-order theories that are not definitionally (nor Morita) equivalent, yet are mutually conservatively translatable and mutually 'surjectively' translatable. We use these results to clarify the overall geography of standards of equivalence and to show that the structural commitments that theories make behave in a more subtle manner than has been recognized.
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  14. Entanglement and Open Systems in Algebraic Quantum Field Theory.Rob Clifton & Hans Halvorson - 2001 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 32 (1):1-31.
    Entanglement has long been the subject of discussion by philosophers of quantum theory, and has recently come to play an essential role for physicists in their development of quantum information theory. In this paper we show how the formalism of algebraic quantum field theory (AQFT) provides a rigorous framework within which to analyse entanglement in the context of a fully relativistic formulation of quantum theory. What emerges from the analysis are new practical and theoretical limitations on an experimenter's ability to (...)
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  15. The Philosophy of Science in Either-Or.Hans Halvorson - forthcoming - In Ryan Kemp & Walter Wietzke (eds.), Cambridge Critical Guide to Either-Or. Cambridge University Press.
    Kierkegaard's Either-Or is a book about the choice between aesthetic, ethical, and religious approaches to life. I show that Either-Or also contains a proposal for philosophy of science, and in particular, about the ideal epistemic state for human beings. Whereas the Cartesian-Hegelian tradition conceived of the ideal state as one of detached deliberation -- i.e. "seeing the world as it is in itself" -- Kierkegaard envisions the ideal state as the achievement of equilibrium between the "spectator" and "actor" aspects of (...)
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  16. Quine’s conjecture on many-sorted logic.Thomas William Barrett & Hans Halvorson - 2017 - Synthese 194 (9):3563-3582.
    Quine often argued for a simple, untyped system of logic rather than the typed systems that were championed by Russell and Carnap, among others. He claimed that nothing important would be lost by eliminating sorts, and the result would be additional simplicity and elegance. In support of this claim, Quine conjectured that every many-sorted theory is equivalent to a single-sorted theory. We make this conjecture precise, and prove that it is true, at least according to one reasonable notion of theoretical (...)
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  17. Antimatter.David John Baker & Hans Halvorson - 2010 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (1):93-121.
    The nature of antimatter is examined in the context of algebraic quantum field theory. It is shown that the notion of antimatter is more general than that of antiparticles. Properly speaking, then, antimatter is not matter made up of antiparticles—rather, antiparticles are particles made up of antimatter. We go on to discuss whether the notion of antimatter is itself completely general in quantum field theory. Does the matter–antimatter distinction apply to all field theoretic systems? The answer depends on which of (...)
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  18. To be a realist about quantum theory.Hans Halvorson - 2019 - In Olimpia Lombardi (ed.), Quantum Worlds: Perspectives on the Ontology of Quantum Mechanics.
    I look at the distinction between between realist and antirealist views of the quantum state. I argue that this binary classification should be reconceived as a continuum of different views about which properties of the quantum state are representationally significant. What's more, the extreme cases -- all or none --- are simply absurd, and should be rejected by all parties. In other words, no sane person should advocate extreme realism or antirealism about the quantum state. And if we focus on (...)
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  19. On the nature of continuous physical quantities in classical and quantum mechanics.Hans Halvorson - 2001 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 30 (1):27-50.
    Within the traditional Hilbert space formalism of quantum mechanics, it is not possible to describe a particle as possessing, simultaneously, a sharp position value and a sharp momentum value. Is it possible, though, to describe a particle as possessing just a sharp position value (or just a sharp momentum value)? Some, such as Teller, have thought that the answer to this question is No - that the status of individual continuous quantities is very different in quantum mechanics than in classical (...)
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  20. On North's "The Structure of Physics".Noel Swanson & Hans Halvorson - 2012
    Jill North argues that Hamiltonian mechanics provides the most spare -- and hence most accurate -- account of the structure of a classical world. We point out some difficulties for her argument, and raise some general points about attempts to minimize structural commitments.
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  21. Complementarity of representations in quantum mechanics.Hans Halvorson - 2004 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 35 (1):45-56.
    We show that Bohr's principle of complementarity between position and momentum descriptions can be formulated rigorously as a claim about the existence of representations of the canonical commutation relations. In particular, in any representation where the position operator has eigenstates, there is no momentum operator, and vice versa. Equivalently, if there are nonzero projections corresponding to sharp position values, all spectral projections of the momentum operator map onto the zero element.
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  22. A Theological Critique of the Fine-Tuning Argument.Hans Halvorson - 2018 - In Matthew A. Benton, John Hawthorne & Dani Rabinowitz (eds.), Knowledge, Belief, and God: New Insights in Religious Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 122-135.
    According to the premises of the fine-tuning argument, most nomologically possible universes lack intelligent life; and the fact that ours has intelligent life is best explained by supposing it was created. However, if our universe was created, then the creator chose the laws of nature, and hence chose in favor of lifeless universes. In other words, the fine-tuning argument shows that God prefers universes without intelligent life; and the fact that our universe has intelligent life provides no new evidence for (...)
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  23. Against eliminating sorts.Hans Halvorson - manuscript
    Each many-sorted theory can be converted to an unsorted theory. But this conversion procedure is not uniquely determined, leading to a dilemma: which unsorted theory captures the content of the corresponding many-sorted theory?
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  24. Reeh-schlieder defeats Newton-Wigner: On alternative localization schemes in relativistic quantum field theory.Hans Halvorson - 2001 - Philosophy of Science 68 (1):111-133.
    Many of the "counterintuitive" features of relativistic quantum field theory have their formal root in the Reeh-Schlieder theorem, which in particular entails that local operations applied to the vacuum state can produce any state of the entire field. It is of great interest then that I.E. Segal and, more recently, G. Fleming (in a paper entitled "Reeh-Schlieder meets Newton-Wigner") have proposed an alternative "Newton-Wigner" localization scheme that avoids the Reeh-Schlieder theorem. In this paper, I reconstruct the Newton-Wigner localization scheme and (...)
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  25. Reconsidering Bohr's reply to EPR.Hans Halvorson & Rob Clifton - 2001 - In T. Placek & J. Butterfield (eds.), Non-locality and Modality. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 3--18.
    Although Bohr's reply to the EPR argument is supposed to be a watershed moment in the development of his philosophy of quantum theory, it is difficult to find a clear statement of the reply's philosophical point. Moreover, some have claimed that the point is simply that Bohr is a radical positivist. In this paper, we show that such claims are unfounded. In particular, we give a mathematically rigorous reconstruction of Bohr's reply to the _original_ EPR argument that clarifies its logical (...)
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  26. Maximal beable subalgebras of quantum-mechanical observables.Hans Halvorson & Rob Clifton - 1999 - International Journal of Theoretical Physics 38:2441-2484.
    The centerpiece of Jeffrey Bub's book Interpreting the Quantum World is a theorem (Bub and Clifton 1996) which correlates each member of a large class of no-collapse interpretations with some 'privileged observable'. In particular, the Bub-Clifton theorem determines the unique maximal sublattice L(R,e) of propositions such that (a) elements of L(R,e) can be simultaneously determinate in state e, (b) L(R,e) contains the spectral projections of the privileged observable R, and (c) L(R,e) is picked out by R and e alone. In (...)
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  27. Quantifier Variance without Collapse.Hans Halvorson - manuscript
    The thesis of quantifier variance is consistent and cannot be refuted via a collapse argument.
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  28. How is spontaneous symmetry breaking possible? Understanding Wigner's theorem in light of unitary inequivalence.David John Baker & Hans Halvorson - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (4):464-469.
    We pose and resolve a puzzle about spontaneous symmetry breaking in the quantum theory of infinite systems. For a symmetry to be spontaneously broken, it must not be implementable by a unitary operator in a ground state's GNS representation. But Wigner's theorem guarantees that any symmetry's action on states is given by a unitary operator. How can this unitary operator fail to implement the symmetry in the GNS representation? We show how it is possible for a unitary operator of this (...)
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  29. The Conventionality of Parastatistics.David John Baker, Hans Halvorson & Noel Swanson - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (4):929-976.
    Nature seems to be such that we can describe it accurately with quantum theories of bosons and fermions alone, without resort to parastatistics. This has been seen as a deep mystery: paraparticles make perfect physical sense, so why don’t we see them in nature? We consider one potential answer: every paraparticle theory is physically equivalent to some theory of bosons or fermions, making the absence of paraparticles in our theories a matter of convention rather than a mysterious empirical discovery. We (...)
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  30. Why methodological naturalism?Hans Halvorson - 2016 - In Kelly James Clark (ed.), Blackwell Companion to Naturalism. Hoboken: Blackwell.
    I discuss motivations for methodological naturalism in science. I argue that methodological naturalism neither needs nor supports metaphysical naturalism.
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  31. Cosmology and Theology.Hans Halvorson & Helge Kragh - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  32. Closing the Hole Argument.Hans Halvorson & John Byron Manchak - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    The hole argument purportedly shows that spacetime substantivalism implies a pernicious form of indeterminism. We show that the argument is seductive only because it mistakes a trivial claim (viz. there are isomorphic models) for a significant claim (viz. there are hole isomorphisms). We prove that the latter claim is false -- thereby closing the debate about whether substantivalism implies indeterminism.
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  33. A note on information theoretic characterizations of physical theories.Hans Halvorson - 2003 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 35 (2):277-293.
    Clifton, Bub, and Halvorson (CBH) have recently argued that quantum theory is characterized by its satisfaction of three fundamental information-theoretic constraints. However, it is not difficult to construct apparent counterexamples to the CBH characterization theorem. In this paper, we discuss the limits of the characterization theorem, and we provide some technical tools for checking whether a theory (specified in terms of the convex structure of its state space) falls within these limits.
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  34.  9
    Why Methodological Naturalism?Hans Halvorson - 2016 - In Kelly James Clark (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Naturalism. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. pp. 136–149.
    I argue in favor of the strategy of methodological naturalism in science; that is, restricting the scope of investigations to the natural world. I argue that this strategy is most plausibly motivated by supernaturalist theism, rather than by metaphysical naturalism.
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  35. Foundations and Philosophy.Dimitris Tsementzis & Hans Halvorson - 2018 - Philosophers' Imprint 18.
    The Univalent Foundations of mathematics take the point of view that all of mathematics can be encoded in terms of spatial notions like "point" and "path". We will argue that this new point of view has important implications for philosophy, and especially for those parts of analytic philosophy that take set theory and first-order logic as their benchmark of rigor. To do so, we will explore the connection between foundations and philosophy, outline what is distinctive about the logic of the (...)
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  36. On information-theoretic characterizations of physical theories.Hans Halvorson - 2004 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 35 (2):277-293.
  37. Spor efter Kierkegaard i den moderne fysik.Hans Halvorson - manuscript
    Max Jammer claimed that, "There can be no doubt that the Danish precursor of modern existentialism and neo-orthodox theology, Soren Kierkegaard, through his influence on Bohr, affected also the course of modern physics to some extent." Despite Jammer's failure to supply sufficient evidence for this claim, I argue that it is not completely off base. In particular, I argue that Kierkegaard and Bohr belong to a common philosophical tradition, and I begin to investigate some of the themes that characterize this (...)
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  38. The Measure of All Things: Quantum Mechanics and the Soul.Hans Halvorson - 2011 - In Mark C. Baker & Stewart Goetz (eds.), The Soul Hypothesis: Investigations Into the Existence of the Soul. Continuum Press. pp. 138.
  39. Carnap's Formal Philosophy of Science.Hans P. Halvorson - forthcoming - In Christian Dambock & Georg Schiemer (eds.), Rudolf Carnap Handbuch. Metzler Verlag.
  40.  33
    What Philosophy of Science has to Offer to Theology.Hans Halvorson - 2023 - Philosophy, Theology and the Sciences 10 (1):96.
    In this text, I explore the intertwined relationship between philosophy of science and theology, and the challenges they both encounter in the academic realm. While theology is struggling to maintain its relevance, philosophy of science has gained recognition and offers valuable insights to theologians. I argue that theologians can benefit from engaging with the content and methods of specific sciences, and philosophers of science can help affirm the methodological legitimacy of theology. However, it is important to note that science itself (...)
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  41. Niels Bohrs plads i den filosofiske tradition.Hans Halvorson - manuscript
    Brief discussion of Niels Bohr's place in the history of philosophy (including his philosophical forebears, Søren Kierkegaard, Rasmus Nielsen, and Harald Høffding).
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  42. Theism and physical cosmology.Hans Halvorson - 2010 - In Charles Taliaferro, Victoria Harrison & Stewart Goetz (eds.), Routledge Companion to Theism.
    Physical cosmology purports to establish precise and testable claims about the origin of the universe. Thus, cosmology bears directly on traditional metaphysical claims -- in particular, claims about whether the universe has a creator (i.e. God). What is the upshot of cosmology for the claims of theism? Does big-bang cosmology support theism? Do recent developments in quantum and string cosmology undermine theism? We discuss the relations between physical cosmology to theism from both historical and systematic points of view.
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  43. John Bell on ‘Subject and Object’: An Exchange.Hans Halvorson & Jeremy Butterfield - 2022 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 54 (2):305-324.
    This three-part paper comprises: (i) a critique by Halvorson of Bell’s (1973) paper ‘Subject and Object’; (ii) a comment by Butterfield; (iii) a reply by Halvorson. An Appendix gives the passage from Bell that is the focus of Halvorson’s critique.
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  44. Does quantum theory kill time?Hans Halvorson - manuscript
    We give a simple proof that there is no time in a quantum world.
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  45. Objective description in physics.Hans Halvorson - 2022 - In Tomas Marvan, Hanne Andersen, Hasok Chang, Benedikt Löwe & Ivo Pezlar (eds.), Proceedings of the 16th International Congress of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science and Technology. London: College Publications.
    I argue against the claim -- advocated by Albert Einstein, Bernard Williams, and Ted Sider, among others -- that a description is objective only if it says how the world is in itself. Instead, I argue for the claim -- inspired by comments of Niels Bohr -- that a family of descriptions is objective only if they co-vary with their respective descriptive contexts. Moreover, I claim that "there is a shared objective reality" simply means that it is possible to satisfy (...)
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  46. Invariance and ontology in relativistic physics.Hans Halvorson - manuscript
    Some philosophers say that in special relativity, four-dimensional stuff is invariant in some sense that three-dimensional stuff is not. I show that this claim is false.
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  47. Whence the complex numbers?Hans Halvorson - manuscript
    A short note on why we use complex numbers in physics.
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  48. Plantinga on Providence and Physics.Hans Halvorson - 2013 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 5 (3):19--30.
    Discussion of Alvin Plantinga's book, "Where the Conflict Really Lies".
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  49. Momentum and Context.Hans Halvorson - manuscript
    A sentence's meaning may depend on the state of motion of the speaker. I argue that this context-sensitivity blocks the inference from special relativity to four-dimensionalism.
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  50. Extension, Translation, and the Cantor-Bernstein Property.Thomas William Barrett & Hans Halvorson - manuscript
    The purpose of this paper is to examine in detail a particularly interesting pair of first-order theories. In addition to clarifying the overall geography of notions of equivalence between theories, this simple example yields two surprising conclusions about the relationships that theories might bear to one another. In brief, we see that theories lack both the Cantor-Bernstein and co-Cantor-Bernstein properties.
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