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James Read [33]James H. Read [3]James Edward Read [1]James Howard Read [1]
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James Read
Oxford University
James Read
University of California, Santa Cruz
  1. Duality and Ontology.Baptiste Le Bihan & James Read - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (12):e12555.
    A ‘duality’ is a formal mapping between the spaces of solutions of two empirically equivalent theories. In recent times, dualities have been found to be pervasive in string theory and quantum field theory. Naïvely interpreted, duality-related theories appear to make very different ontological claims about the world—differing in e.g. space-time structure, fundamental ontology, and mereological structure. In light of this, duality-related theories raise questions familiar from discussions of underdetermination in the philosophy of science: in the presence of dual theories, what (...)
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  2.  19
    Motivating Dualities.James Read & Thomas Møller-Nielsen - 2020 - Synthese 197 (1):263-291.
    There exists a common view that for theories related by a ‘duality’, dual models typically may be taken ab initio to represent the same physical state of affairs, i.e. to correspond to the same possible world. We question this view, by drawing a parallel with the distinction between ‘interpretational’ and ‘motivational’ approaches to symmetries.
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  3.  76
    On the Mathematics and Metaphysics of the Hole Argument.Oliver Pooley & James Read - forthcoming - The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    We make some remarks on the mathematics and metaphysics of the hole argument, in response to a recent article in this journal by Weatherall ([2018]). Broadly speaking, we defend the mainstream philosophical literature from the claim that correct usage of the mathematics of general relativity `blocks' the argument.
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  4.  52
    Two Miracles of General Relativity.James Read, Harvey R. Brown & Dennis Lehmkuhl - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 64:14-25.
    We approach the physics of \emph{minimal coupling} in general relativity, demonstrating that in certain circumstances this leads to violations of the \emph{strong equivalence principle}, which states that, in general relativity, the dynamical laws of special relativity can be recovered at a point. We then assess the consequences of this result for the \emph{dynamical perspective on relativity}, finding that potential difficulties presented by such apparent violations of the strong equivalence principle can be overcome. Next, we draw upon our discussion of the (...)
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  5.  20
    Sophistry About Symmetries?Niels C. M. Martens & James Read - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):315-344.
    A common adage runs that, given a theory manifesting symmetries, the syntax of that theory should be modified in order to construct a new theory, from which symmetry-variant structure of the original theory has been excised. Call this strategy for explicating the underlying ontology of symmetry-related models reduction. Recently, Dewar has proposed an alternative to reduction as a means of articulating the ontology of symmetry-related models—what he calls sophistication, in which the semantics of the original theory is modified, and symmetry-related (...)
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  6.  44
    Functional Gravitational Energy.James Read - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (1):205-232.
    Does the gravitational field described in general relativity possess genuine stress-energy? We answer this question in the affirmative, in a weak sense applicable in a certain class of frames of a certain class of models of the theory, and arguably also in a strong sense, applicable in all frames of all models of the theory. In addition, we argue that one can be a realist about gravitational stress-energy in general relativity even if one is a relationist about spacetime ontology. In (...)
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  7.  29
    Redundant Epistemic Symmetries.James Read & Thomas Møller-Nielsen - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 70:88-97.
  8. The Interpretation of String-Theoretic Dualities.James Read - 2016 - Foundations of Physics 46 (2):209-235.
    We analyse the possibility that string-theoretic dualities present a genuine case of strong underdetermination of theory by evidence. Drawing on the parallel discussion of the hole argument, we assess the possible interpretations of dualities. We conclude that there exist at least two defensible interpretations on which dualities do not present a worrying case of underdetermination per se.
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  9.  50
    The Dynamical Approach to Spacetime Theories.Harvey R. Brown & James Read - 2021 - In Eleanor Knox & Alistair Wilson (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Physics.
    We review the dynamical approach to spacetime theories---in particular, its origins in the development of special relativity, its opposition to the contemporary `geometrical' approach, and the manner in which it plays out in general relativity. In addition, we demonstrate that the approach is compatible with the `angle bracket school'.
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  10.  27
    On Miracles and Spacetime.James Read - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 65:103-111.
  11.  25
    Explanation, Geometry, and Conspiracy in Relativity Theory.James Read - unknown
    I discuss the debate between dynamical versus geometrical approaches to spacetime theories, in the context of both special and general relativity, arguing that the debate takes a substantially different form in the two cases; different versions of the geometrical approach—only some of which are viable—should be distinguished; in general relativity, there is no difference between the most viable version of the geometrical approach and the dynamical approach. In addition, I demonstrate that what have previously been dubbed two ‘miracles’ of general (...)
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  12.  63
    Clarifying Possible Misconceptions in the Foundations of General Relativity.Harvey R. Brown & James Read - unknown
    We discuss what we take to be three possible misconceptions in the foundations of general relativity, relating to: the interpretation of the weak equivalence principle and the relationship between gravity and inertia; the connection between gravitational redshift results and spacetime curvature; and the Einstein equivalence principle and the ability to ``transform away" gravity in local inertial coordinate systems.
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  13.  5
    The Limitations of Inertial Frame Spacetime Functionalism.James Read & Tushar Menon - 2019 - Synthese 199 (S2):229-251.
    For Knox, ‘spacetime’ is to be defined functionally, as that which picks out a structure of local inertial frames. Assuming that Knox is motivated to construct this functional definition of spacetime on the grounds that it appears to identify that structure which plays the operational role of spacetime—i.e., that structure which is actually surveyed by physical rods and clocks built from matter fields—we identify in this paper important limitations of her approach: these limitations are based upon the fact that there (...)
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  14.  26
    Getting Tense About Relativity.James Read & Emily Qureshi-Hurst - 2020 - Synthese 198 (9):8103-8125.
    Special relativity has been understood by many as vindicating a tenseless conception of time, denying the existence of tensed facts and a fortiori objective temporal passage. The reason for this is straightforward: both passage and the obtaining of tensed facts require a universal knife-edge present moment—yet this structure is not easily reconcilable with the relativity of simultaneity. The above being said, the prospects for tense and passage are sometimes claimed to be improved on moving to cosmological solutions of general relativity. (...)
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  15.  1
    The Limitations of Intertial Frame Spacetime Functionalism.Tushar Menon & James Read - 2019 - Synthese 1 (Suppl 2):229-251.
    For Knox, ‘spacetime’ is to be defined functionally, as that which picks out a structure of local inertial frames. Assuming that Knox is motivated to construct this functional definition of spacetime on the grounds that it appears to identify that structure which plays the operational role of spacetime—i.e., that structure which is actually surveyed by physical rods and clocks built from matter fields—we identify in this paper important limitations of her approach: these limitations are based upon the fact that there (...)
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  16.  38
    Clocks and Chronogeometry: Rotating Spacetimes and the Relativistic Null Hypothesis.Tushar Menon, Niels Linnemann & James Read - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (4):1287-1317.
    Recent work in the physics literature demonstrates that, in particular classes of rotating spacetimes, physical light rays in general do not traverse null geodesics. Having presented this result, we discuss its philosophical significance, both for the clock hypothesis, and for the operational meaning of the metric field.
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  17.  22
    Geometrical Constructivism and Modal Relationalism: Further Aspects of the Dynamical/Geometrical Debate.James Read - 2020 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 33 (1):23-41.
    I draw together some recent literature on the debate between dynamical versus geometrical approaches to spacetime theories, in order to argue that there exist defensible versions of the geometr...
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  18.  20
    The Teleparallel Equivalent of Newton–Cartan Gravity.James Read & Nicholas Teh - unknown
    We construct a notion of teleparallelization for Newton-Cartan theory, and show that the teleparallel equivalent of this theory is Newtonian gravity; furthermore, we show that this result is consistent with teleparallelization in general relativity, and can be obtained by null-reducing the teleparallel equivalent of a five-dimensional gravitational wave solution. This work thus strengthens substantially the connections between four theories: Newton-Cartan theory, Newtonian gravitation theory, general relativity, and teleparallel gravity.
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  19. Teaching & Learning Guide For: Duality and Ontology.Baptiste Le Bihan & James Read - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (12):e12555.
    Dualities are a pervasive phenomenon in contemporary physics, in which two physical theories are empirically equivalent, yet prima facie make different ontological claims about the world (potentially very different claims—differing in e.g. the number and radius of dimensions of the universe). Dualities thus present a particular instantiation of the well-known notion of underdetermination of theory by evidence. Many different philosophical proposals have been made for how such putative underdetermination might be resolved—this continues to be a programme of active research.
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  20.  38
    In Defence of Everettian Decision Theory.James Read - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 63:136-140.
  21.  29
    The Epistemology of Spacetime.Neil Dewar, Niels Linnemann & James Read - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (4).
    Philosophy Compass, Volume 17, Issue 4, April 2022.
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  22. The Landscape and the Multiverse: What’s the Problem?James Read & Baptiste Le Bihan - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):7749-7771.
    As a candidate theory of quantum gravity, the popularity of string theory has waxed and waned over the past four decades. One current source of scepticism is that the theory can be used to derive, depending upon the input geometrical assumptions that one makes, a vast range of different quantum field theories, giving rise to the so-called landscape problem. One apparent way to address the landscape problem is to posit the existence of a multiverse; this, however, has in turn drawn (...)
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  23.  5
    Conformal Invariance of the Newtonian Weyl Tensor.Neil Dewar & James Read - 2020 - Foundations of Physics 50 (11):1418-1425.
    It is well-known that the conformal structure of a relativistic spacetime is of profound physical and conceptual interest. In this note, we consider the analogous structure for Newtonian theories. We show that the Newtonian Weyl tensor is an invariant of this structure.
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  24.  11
    Gravitational Energy in Newtonian Gravity: A Response to Dewar and Weatherall.Patrick M. Duerr & James Read - 2019 - Foundations of Physics 49 (10):1086-1110.
    The paper investigates the status of gravitational energy in Newtonian Gravity, developing upon recent work by Dewar and Weatherall. The latter suggest that gravitational energy is a gauge quantity. This is potentially misleading: its gauge status crucially depends on the spacetime setting one adopts. In line with Møller-Nielsen’s plea for a motivational approach to symmetries, we supplement Dewar and Weatherall’s work by discussing gravitational energy–stress in Newtonian spacetime, Galilean spacetime, Maxwell-Huygens spacetime, and Newton–Cartan Theory. Although we ultimately concur with Dewar (...)
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  25.  6
    Miracles Persist: A Reply to Sus.James Read & Niels Linnemann - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (1):1-10.
    In a recent article in this journal, Sus purports to account for what have been identified as the ‘two miracles’ of general relativity—that the local symmetries of all dynamical equations for matter fields coincide, and the symmetries of the dynamical equations governing matter fields coincide locally with the symmetries of the metric field—by application of the familiar result that every symmetry of the action is also a symmetry of the resulting equations of motion. In this reply, we argue that, while (...)
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  26.  5
    Newtonian Equivalence Principles.James Read & Nicholas J. Teh - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-25.
    The equivalence principle has constituted one of the cornerstones of discussions in the foundations of spacetime theories over the past century. However, up to this point the principle has been considered overwhelmingly only within the context of relativistic physics. In this article, we demonstrate that the principle has much broader, super-theoretic significance: to do so, we present a unified framework for understanding the principle in its various guises, applicable to both relativistic and Newtonian contexts. We thereby deepen significantly our understanding (...)
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  27.  20
    On the Status of Newtonian Gravitational Radiation.Niels Linnemann & James Read - 2021 - Foundations of Physics 51 (2):1-16.
    We discuss the status of gravitational radiation in Newtonian theories. In order to do so, we consider various options for interpreting the Poisson equation as encoding propagating solutions, reflect on the extent to which limit considerations from general relativity can shed light on the Poisson equation’s conceptual status, and discuss various senses in which the Poisson equation counts as a dynamical equation.
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  28.  12
    Why Not a Sound Postulate?Bryan Cheng & James Read - 2021 - Foundations of Physics 51 (3):1-20.
    What, if anything, would be wrong with replacing the light postulate in Einstein’s 1905 formulation of special relativity with a ‘sound postulate’, stating that the speed of sound is independent of the speed of the source? After reviewing the historical reasons underlying the particular focus on light in the special theory, we consider the circumstances under which such a theory of ‘sonic relativity’ would be justified on empirical grounds. We then consider the philosophical upshots of ‘sonic relativity’ for four contemporary (...)
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  29.  7
    Hypothesis-Driven Science in Large-Scale Studies: The Case of GWAS.Sumana Sharma & James Read - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (5):1-21.
    It is now well-appreciated by philosophers that contemporary large-scale ‘-omics’ studies in biology stand in non-trivial relationships to more orthodox hypothesis-driven approaches. These relationships have been clarified by Ratti ; however, there remains much more to be said regarding how an important field of genomics cited in that work—‘genome-wide association studies’ —fits into this framework. In the present article, we propose a revision to Ratti’s framework more suited to studies such as GWAS. In the process of doing so, we introduce (...)
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  30. Machiavelli, Hobbes, Clausewitz, and Foucault : Four Variations on the Zero-Sum Theme.James Read - 2008 - In Harvey Claflin Mansfield, Sharon R. Krause & Mary Ann McGrail (eds.), The Arts of Rule: Essays in Honor of Harvey Mansfield. Lexington Books.
  31.  48
    Three Common Misconceptions in General Relativity.Harvey R. Brown & James Read - unknown
    We highlight and resolve what we take to be three common misconceptions in general relativity, relating to the interpretation of the weak equivalence principle and the relationship between gravity and inertia; the connection between gravitational redshift results and spacetime curvature; and the strong equivalence principle and the local recovery of special relativity in curved, dynamical spacetime.
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  32.  21
    Regarding `Regarding the `Hole Argument''.Tushar Menon, Thomas Moller-Nielsen & James Read - unknown
    In his paper, ‘Regarding the ‘Hole Argument”, Weatherall suggests that models of general relativity related by a hole diffeomorphism must be regarded as being physically equivalent. At a later stage in the paper, however, he also argues that there is a sense in which two such models may be regarded as being empirically distinct—a fortiori physically distinct. We attempt to delineate the logic behind these two prima facie contradictory claims. We argue that the latter sense rests upon a misunderstanding of (...)
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  33. Participation, Power, and Democracy.James H. Read - 1996 - Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 46:239-262.
  34.  2
    The Arts of Rule: Essays in Honor of Harvey C. Mansfield.Adam Schulman, Joseph Reisert, Kathryn Sensen, Eric S. Petrie, Alan Levine, Diana J. Schaub, David S. Fott, Travis D. Smith, Ioannis D. Evrigenis, James Read, Janet Dougherty, Andrew Sabl, Sharon Krause, Steven Lenzner, Ben Berger, Russell Muirhead & Mark Blitz (eds.) - 2009 - Lexington Books.
    The arts of rule cover the exercise of power by princes and popular sovereigns, but they range beyond the domain of government itself, extending to civil associations, political parties, and religious institutions. Making full use of political philosophy from a range of backgrounds, this festschrift for Harvey Mansfield recognizes that although the arts of rule are comprehensive, the best government is a limited one.
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  35.  38
    Our Complicated System: James Madison on Power and Liberty.James H. Read - 1995 - Political Theory 23 (3):452-475.
    It has been remarked that there is a tendency in all Governments to an augmentation of power at the expense of liberty. But the remark as usually understood does not appear to me well founded.... It is a melancholy reflection that liberty should be equally exposed to danger whether the Government have too much or too little power, and that the line which divides the extremes should be so inaccurately drawn by experience. -/- Madison, letter to Jefferson, October 17, 1788.
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  36.  13
    Our Complicated System.James H. Read - 1995 - Political Theory 23 (3):452-475.
    It has been remarked that there is a tendency in all Governments to an augmentation of power at the expense of liberty. But the remark as usually understood does not appear to me well founded.... It is a melancholy reflection that liberty should be equally exposed to danger whether the Government have too much or too little power, and that the line which divides the extremes should be so inaccurately drawn by experience. Madison, letter to Jefferson, October 17, 1788.
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