Jill North offers answers to questions at the heart of the project of interpreting physics. How do we figure out the nature of the world from a mathematically formulated theory? What do we infer about the world when a physical theory can be mathematically formulated in different ways? The notion of structure is crucial to North's answers.
We are used to talking about the “structure” posited by a given theory of physics, such as the spacetime structure of relativity. What is “structure”? What does the mathematical structure used to formulate a theory tell us about the physical world according to the theory? What if there are different mathematical formulations of a given theory? Do different formulations posit different structures, or are they merely notational variants? I consider the case of Lagrangian and Hamiltonian classical mechanics. I argue that, (...) contrary to standard wisdom, these are not genuinely equivalent theories: they differ in statespace structure. I suggest that we should be realists about statespace structure. (shrink)
I argue that the fundamental space of a quantum mechanical world is the wavefunction's space. I argue for this using some very general principles that guide our inferences to the fundamental nature of a world, for any fundamental physical theory. I suggest that ordinary three-dimensional space exists in such a world, but is non-fundamental; it emerges from the fundamental space of the wavefunction.
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 (...) future physics. I conclude that this debate is a substantive one, which the substantivalist is currently winning. (shrink)
Or better: time asymmetry in thermodynamics. Better still: time asymmetry in thermodynamic phenomena. “Time in thermodynamics” misleadingly suggests that thermodynamics will tell us about the fundamental nature of time. But we don’t think that thermodynamics is a fundamental theory. It is a theory of macroscopic behavior, often called a “phenomenological science.” And to the extent that physics can tell us about the fundamental features of the world, including such things as the nature of time, we generally think that only fundamental (...) physics can. On its own, a science like thermodynamics won’t be able to tell us about time per se. But the theory will have much to say about everyday processes that occur in time; and in particular, the apparent asymmetry of those processes. The pressing question of time in the context of thermodynamics is about the asymmetry of things in time, not the asymmetry of time, to paraphrase Price ( , ). I use the title anyway, to underscore what is, to my mind, the centrality of thermodynamics to any discussion of the nature of time and our experience in it. The two issues—the temporal features of processes in time, and the intrinsic structure of time itself—are related. Indeed, it is in part this relation that makes the question of time asymmetry in thermodynamics so interesting. This, plus the fact that thermodynamics describes a surprisingly wide range of our ordinary experience. We’ll return to this. First, we need to get the question of time asymmetry in thermodynamics out on the table. (shrink)
We often use symmetries to infer outcomes’ probabilities, as when we infer that each side of a fair coin is equally likely to come up on a given toss. Why are these inferences successful? I argue against answering this with an a priori indifference principle. Reasons to reject that principle are familiar, yet instructive. They point to a new, empirical explanation for the success of our probabilistic predictions. This has implications for indifference reasoning in general. I argue that a priori (...) symmetries need never constrain our probability attributions, even when it comes to our initial credences. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Malament (2004) employs a time reversal transformation that differs from the standard one, without explicitly arguing for it. This is a new and important understanding of time reversal that deserves arguing for in its own right. I argue that it improves upon the standard one. Recent discussion has focused on whether velocities should undergo a time reversal operation. I address a prior question: What is the proper notion of time reversal? This is important, for it will (...) affect our conclusion as to whether our best theories are time-reversal symmetric, and hence whether our spacetime is temporally oriented. *Received February 2007; revised March 2008. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, Yale University, P.O. Box 208306, New Haven, CT 06520-8306; e-mail: [email protected]. (shrink)
To forgive a person for a wrong he has done has often been valued as morally good and as indicative of a benevolent and merciful character. But while forgiveness has been recognized as valuable its nature as a moral response has largely been ignored by modern moral philosophers who work outside the confines of a religious context. 1 Where it has been discussed, forgiveness has been thought particularly difficult to define, and some have thought the forgiving response paradoxical or even (...) impossible. I shall discuss some of these difficulties and suggest firstly that the value of forgiveness lies in the fact that it essentially requires a recognition of the wrongdoer's responsibility for his action, and secondly that forgiveness typically involves an effort on the part of the one wronged: a conscious attempt to improve oneself in relation to the wrongdoer. (shrink)
Huw Price argues that there are two conceptions of the puzzle of the time‐asymmetry of thermodynamics. He thinks this puzzle has remained unsolved for so long partly due to a misunderstanding about which of these conceptions is the right one and what form a solution ought to take. I argue that it is Price's understanding of the problem which is mistaken. Further, it is on the basis of this and other misunderstandings that he disparages a type of account which does, (...) in fact, hold promise of a solution. (shrink)
I discuss the nature of the puzzle about the time‐asymmetry of radiation and argue that its most common formulation is flawed. As a result, many proposed solutions fail to solve the real problem. I discuss a recent proposal of Mathias Frisch as an example of the tendency to address the wrong problem. I go on to suggest that the asymmetry of radiation, like the asymmetry of thermodynamics, results from the initial state of the universe.
Notwithstanding diverse opinions and debates about mixing methods, mixed methods research is increasingly being used in sport and exercise psychology. In this paper, we describe MMR trends within leading sport and exercise psychology journals and explore critical realism as a possible underpinning framework for conducting MMR. Our meta-study of recent empirical mixed methods studies published in 2017–2019 indicates that eight of the 22 MMR studies explicitly stated a paradigmatic position. The remaining 14 studies did not report their underpinning research philosophical (...) assumptions. Evaluating the merits and limitations of these positions against critical realist assumptions suggests that several paradigmatic disagreements are potentially reconcilable. These include maintaining that ontological and epistemological concerns are important for methodological integrity of a mixed methods study; switching between paradigms in the same study is problematic; and refuting the qualitative-quantitative incommensurability thesis, therefore allowing mixed methods research without compromising philosophical coherence. From a critical realist position, we suggest that both quantitative and qualitative designs are justifiable in a mixed methods study because they help corroborate, refine, or refute plausible explanations of phenomena, but with different methodologies utilised to perform different tasks in the same research design related to different psycho-social system features. We call for a collaborative engagement by researchers across paradigmatic positions to work towards the advancement of methodological pluralism in our research community. (shrink)
Research shapes our understanding of practice in powerful and important ways, in sports coaching as in any other discipline. This innovative study explores the philosophical foundations of sport coaching research, examining the often implicit links between research process and practice, descriptions and prescriptions. Arguing that the assumptions of traditional single-disciplinary accounts, such as those based in psychology or sociology, risk over-simplifying our understanding of coaching, this book presents an alternative framework for sports coaching research based on critical realism. The result (...) is an embedded, relational and emergent conception of coaching practice that opens new ways of thinking about coaching knowledge. Drawing on new empirical case study research, it demonstrates vividly how a critical realist-informed approach can provide a more realistic and accountable knowledge to coaching stakeholders. This knowledge promises to have important implications for coaching, and coach education and development practices. Sport Coaching Research and Practice: Ontology, Interdisciplinarity and Critical Realism is fascinating reading for any student or researcher working in sports coaching, sport pedagogy, physical education, the philosophy or sociology of sport, or research methodology in sport and exercise. (shrink)
The monograph is aimed at an analysis of the reasons for theory change in science. The writer develops a model of theory change according to which the origins of scientific revolutions lie not in a clash of fundamental theories with facts, but of ‘old’ fundamental theories with each other.
It is the aim of this work to examine the pivotal role of Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-1768) as a judge of classical sculpture and as a major contributor to German art criticism. John Harry North seeks to identify the key features of his treatment of classical beauty, particularly in his famous descriptions of large-scale classical sculpture. Five case studies are offered to demonstrate the academic classicism that formed the core of his philosophy of art. North aims to establish Winckelmann's place (...) in the development of the German language. His prose contributed to a literary style that was suitable for the expression of an emotional response to visual experiences. His use of rhetoric in the assessment of classical art, however, make his judgements propagandist rather than analytical. The published works of Winckelmann, his draft essays and his collected private correspondence are advanced as criteria in the evaluation of his impact on the development of German classicism that culminated in the Weimar group of poets and writers. His Grecophile enthusiasm, however, led him to introduce stylistic categories in the development of classical marble sculpture that are no longer regarded as truly reflecting the evolution of Greco-Roman art. Thus his historicity and his classification of styles remain in doubt. Winckelmann proposed that the training of modern artists should concentrate on the observation and imitation of classical models instead of looking to nature as the source of inspiration. This plan succeeded to some extent in the generation that followed his untimely death. Throughout the succeeding century, artists and their sponsors did favour classical models and developed stylistic classicism in European freestanding sculpture, in painting and in architecture. (shrink)
This book is a stimulating and engaging discussion of philosophical issues in the foundations of classical electromagnetism. In the rst half, Frisch argues against the standard conception of the theory as consistent and local. The second half is devoted to the puzzle of the arrow of radiation: the fact that waves behave asymmetrically in time, though the laws governing their evolution are temporally symmetric. The book is worthwhile for anyone interested in understanding the physical theory of electromagnetism, as well for (...) the views it presents on philosophical issues such as causation, counterfactuals, laws, scienti c theories, models, and explanation. While philosophers of physics tend to focus on quantum mechanics and relativity, Frisch’s book shows that there are deep foundational issues in classical physics, equally worthy of attention. That said, let me lodge disagreement on some key points. Frisch argues from an alleged inconsistency in classical electromagnetism— that Maxwell’s equations, the Lorentz force law, and the conservation of energy cannot be jointly true—to the conclusion that the standard view of scienti c theories as a formalism plus an interpretation is incorrect. Consistency is a necessary condition of any view on which scienti c theories give us an account of “ways the world could be” (Frisch, , ). Since classical electromagnetism is successfully used by practicing physicists, consistency must be just one criterion of theory choice weighed equally among others. This is an intriguing idea, but I am not sure that consistency can be given up so easily. That road leads dangerously close to accepting orthodox ‘Copenhagen’ quantum mechanics. Surely the inconsistency of.. (shrink)
(I) Aristotle of Stagira (384-322 BC) 0) A closed geocentric spherical cosmology. (Adopted from the great mathematician, Eudoxus, c. 400 to 347 BC; via Calippus; but Aristotle unifies their separate schemes for different heavenly bodies). (Aristotle cites mathematicians as estimating radius of earth: in fact 200% of correct figure. Eratosthenes ca. 250 BC estimates radius of earth as 120% of correct).