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Noel Swanson
University of Delaware
  1.  63
    How to Be a Relativistic Spacetime State Realist.Noel Swanson - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (3):933-957.
    According to spacetime state realism, the fundamental ontology of a quantum mechanical world consists of a state-valued field evolving in four-dimensional spacetime. One chief advantage it claims over rival wave-function realist views is its natural compatibility with relativistic quantum field theory. I argue that the original density operator formulation of SSR cannot be extended to QFTs where the local observables form type III von Neumann algebras. Instead, I propose a new formulation of SSR in terms of a presheaf of local (...)
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  2.  68
    A Philosopher's Guide to the Foundations of Quantum Field Theory.Noel Swanson - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (5):e12414.
    A major obstacle facing interpreters of quantum field theory is a proliferation of different theoretical frameworks. This article surveys three of the main available options—Lagrangian, Wightman, and algebraic QFT—and examines how they are related. Although each framework emphasizes different aspects of QFT, leading to distinct strengths and weaknesses, there is less tension between them than commonly assumed. Given the limitations of our current knowledge and the need for creative new ideas, I urge philosophers to explore puzzles, tools, and techniques from (...)
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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5.  18
    Review of Jonathan Bain’s CPT Invariance and the Spin-Statistics Connection. [REVIEW]Noel Swanson - 2018 - Philosophy of Science 85 (3):530-539.
  6.  51
    Can Quantum Thermodynamics Save Time?Noel Swanson - 2021 - Philosophy of Science 88 (2):281-302.
    The thermal time hypothesis is a proposed solution to the problem of time: a coarse-grained state determines a thermal dynamics according to which it is in equilibrium, and this defines the f...
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  7.  63
    On the Ostrogradski Instability; or, Why Physics Really Uses Second Derivatives.Noel Swanson - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (1):23-46.
    Candidates for fundamental physical laws rarely, if ever, employ higher than second time derivatives. Easwaran sketches an enticing story that purports to explain away this puzzling fact and thereby provides indirect evidence for a particular set of metaphysical theses used in the explanation. I object to both the scope and coherence of Easwaran's account, before going on to defend an alternative, more metaphysically deflationary explanation: in interacting Lagrangian field theories, it is either impossible or very hard to incorporate higher than (...)
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  8.  39
    Deciphering the Algebraic CPT Theorem.Noel Swanson - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 68:106-125.
    The CPT theorem states that any causal, Lorentz-invariant, thermodynamically well-behaved quantum field theory must also be invariant under a reflection symmetry that reverses the direction of time, flips spatial parity, and conjugates charge. Although its physical basis remains obscure, CPT symmetry appears to be necessary in order to unify quantum mechanics with relativity. This paper attempts to decipher the physical reasoning behind proofs of the CPT theorem in algebraic quantum field theory. Ultimately, CPT symmetry is linked to a systematic reversal (...)
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