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  1. Feyerabend on the Quantum Theory of Measurement: A Reassessment.Daniel Kuby & Patrick Fraser - 2022 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 35 (1):23-49.
    In 1957, Feyerabend delivered a paper titled ‘On the Quantum-Theory of Measurement’ at the Colston Research Symposium in Bristol to sketch a completion of von Neumann's measurement scheme without collapse, using only unitary quantum dynamics and well-motivated statistical assumptions about macroscopic quantum systems. Feyerabend's paper has been recognised as an early contribution to quantum measurement, anticipating certain aspects of decoherence. Our paper reassesses the physical and philosophical content of Feyerabend's contribution, detailing the technical steps as well as its overall philosophical (...)
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  2. How Typical! An Epistemological Analysis of Typicality in Statistical Mechanics.Massimiliano Badino - manuscript
    The recent use of typicality in statistical mechanics for foundational purposes has stirred an important debate involving both philosophers and physicists. While this debate customarily focuses on technical issues, in this paper I try to approach the problem from an epistemological angle. The discussion is driven by two questions: (1) What does typicality add to the concept of measure? (2) What kind of explanation, if any, does typicality yield? By distinguishing the notions of `typicality-as-vast-majority' and `typicality-as-best-exemplar', I argue that the (...)
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  3. Laws of Physics.Eddy Keming Chen - manuscript
    Despite its apparent complexity, our world seems to be governed by simple laws of physics. This volume provides a philosophical introduction to such laws. I explain how they are connected to some of the central issues in philosophy, such as ontology, possibility, explanation, induction, counterfactuals, time, determinism, and fundamentality. I suggest that laws are fundamental facts that govern the world by constraining its physical possibilities. I examine three hallmarks of laws--simplicity, exactness, and objectivity--and discuss whether and how they may be (...)
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  4. The Empirical Content of the Epistemic Asymmetry.Douglas Kutach - manuscript
    I conduct an empirical analysis of the temporally asymmetric character of our epistemic access to the world by providing an experimental scheme whose results represent the core empirical content of the epistemic asymmetry. I augment this empirical content by formulating a gedanken experiment inspired by a proposal from David Albert. This second experiment cannot be conducted using any technology that is likely to be developed in the foreseeable future, but the expected results help us to state an important constraint on (...)
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  5. Termodinamica: Legi, Concepte, Sisteme, Stări.Sfetcu Nicolae - manuscript
    Termodinamica se ocupă cu studiul energiei, a conversiilor sale între diferite forme, cum ar fi căldura, și capacitatea energiei de a produce lucru mecanic. Ea este strâns legată de mecanica statistică, din care pot fi derivate multe relații termodinamice. Se poate argumenta că termodinamica a fost greșit denumită astfel întrucât aceasta nu se referă de fapt la rate de schimbare ca atare și, prin urmare, ar fi fost probabil mai corect ca domeniul să se denumească termostatica. Termodinamica se referă la (...)
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  6. Why gravity is not an entropic force.Shan Gao - 2010
    The remarkable connections between gravity and thermodynamics seem to imply that gravity is not fundamental but emergent, and in particular, as Verlinde suggested, gravity is probably an entropic force. In this paper, we will argue that the idea of gravity as an entropic force is debatable. It is shown that there is no convincing analogy between gravity and entropic force in Verlinde’s example. Neither holographic screen nor test particle satisfies all requirements for the existence of entropic force in a thermodynamics (...)
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  7. OF WEIGHTING AND COUNTING: STATISTICS AND ONTOLOGY IN THE OLD QUANTUM THEORY.Massimiliano Badino - forthcoming - In Oxford Handbook of the History of Interpretations and Foundations of Quantum Mechanics. Oxford, Regno Unito:
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  8. Bridging Conceptual Gaps: The Kolmogorov-Sinai Entropy.Massimiliano Badino - forthcoming - Isonomía. Revista de Teoría y Filosofía Del Derecho.
    The Kolmogorov-Sinai entropy is a fairly exotic mathematical concept which has recently aroused some interest on the philosophers’ part. The most salient trait of this concept is its working as a junction between such diverse ambits as statistical mechanics, information theory and algorithm theory. In this paper I argue that, in order to understand this very special feature of the Kolmogorov-Sinai entropy, is essential to reconstruct its genealogy. Somewhat surprisingly, this story takes us as far back as the beginning of (...)
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  9. Strong Determinism.Eddy Keming Chen - forthcoming - Philosophers' Imprint.
    A strongly deterministic theory of physics is one that permits exactly one possible history of the universe. In the words of Penrose (1989), "it is not just a matter of the future being determined by the past; the entire history of the universe is fixed, according to some precise mathematical scheme, for all time.” Such an extraordinary feature may appear unattainable in a world like ours. In this paper, I show that it can be achieved in a simple way and (...)
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  10. Does the Best System Need the Past Hypothesis?Chris Dorst - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    Many philosophers sympathetic with a Humean understanding of laws of nature have thought that, in the final analysis, the fundamental laws will include not only the traditional dynamical equations, but also two additional principles: the Past Hypothesis and the Statistical Postulate. The former says that the universe began in a particular very-low-entropy macrostate M(0), and the latter posits a uniform probability distribution over the microstates compatible with M(0). Such a view is arguably vindicated by the orthodox Humean Best System Account (...)
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  11. Filosofía de la Física Estadística y la Termodinámica.Aldo Filomeno - forthcoming - Enciclopedia de la Sociedad Española de Filosofía Analítica.
    En esta entrada se mencionan las principales cuestiones en los fundamentos de la mecánica estadı́stica y la termodinámica, y las cuestiones filosóficas en las que repercuten estas áreas de la fı́sica. Al final se añaden lecturas recomendadas, enfatizando las traducidas al español.
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  12. Negative-Energy Matter and the Direction of Time.J. C. Lindner - forthcoming
    This report offers a modern perspective on the problem of negative energy, based on a reexamination of the concept of time direction as it arises in a classical and quantum-mechanical context. From this analysis emerges an improved understanding of the general-relativistic stress-energy of matter as being a manifestation of local variations in the energy density of zero-point vacuum fluctuations. Based on those developments, a set of axioms is proposed from which are derived generalized gravitational field equations which actually constitute a (...)
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  13. Lessons from the Void: What Boltzmann Brains Teach.Bradford Saad - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    Some physical theories predict that almost all brains in the universe are Boltzmann brains, i.e. short-lived disembodied brains that are accidentally assembled as a result of thermodynamic or quantum fluctuations. Physicists and philosophers of physics widely regard this proliferation as unacceptable, and so take its prediction as a basis for rejecting these theories. But the putatively unacceptable consequences of this prediction follow only given certain philosophical assumptions. This paper develops a strategy for shielding physical theorizing from the threat of Boltzmann (...)
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  14. The Typical Principle.Isaac Wilhelm - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    If a proposition is typically true, given your evidence, then you should believe that proposition; or so I argue here. In particular, in this paper, I propose and defend a principle of rationality---call it the `Typical Principle'---which links rational belief to facts about what is typical. As I show, this principle avoids several problems that other, seemingly similar principles face. And as I show, in many cases, this principle implies the verdicts of the Principal Principle: so ultimately, the Typical Principle (...)
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  15. Black Hole Paradoxes: A Unified Framework for Information Loss.Saakshi Dulani - 2024 - Dissertation, University of Geneva
    The black hole information loss paradox is a catch-all term for a family of puzzles related to black hole evaporation. For almost 50 years, the quest to elucidate the implications of black hole evaporation has not only sustained momentum, but has also become increasingly populated with proposals that seem to generate more questions than they purport to answer. Scholars often neglect to acknowledge ongoing discussions within black hole thermodynamics and statistical mechanics when analyzing the paradox, including the interpretation of Bekenstein-Hawking (...)
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  16. Two Forms of Functional Reductionism in Physics.Lorenzo Lorenzetti - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2).
    Functional reductionism characterises inter-theoretic reduction as the recovery of the upper-level behaviour described by the reduced theory in terms of the lower-level reducing theory. For instance, finding a statistical mechanical realiser that plays the functional role of thermodynamic entropy allows for establishing a reductive link between thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. This view constitutes a unique approach to reduction that enjoys a number of positive features, but has received limited attention in the philosophy of science. -/- This paper aims to clarify (...)
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  17. The Past Hypothesis and the Nature of Physical Laws.Eddy Keming Chen - 2023 - In Barry Loewer, Brad Weslake & Eric B. Winsberg (eds.), The Probability Map of the Universe: Essays on David Albert’s _time and Chance_. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. pp. 204-248.
    If the Past Hypothesis underlies the arrows of time, what is the status of the Past Hypothesis? In this paper, I examine the role of the Past Hypothesis in the Boltzmannian account and defend the view that the Past Hypothesis is a candidate fundamental law of nature. Such a view is known to be compatible with Humeanism about laws, but as I argue it is also supported by a minimal non-Humean "governing'' view. Some worries arise from the non-dynamical and time-dependent (...)
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  18. The Meta-Reversibility Objection.Meacham Christopher - 2023 - In Barry Loewer, Brad Weslake & Eric B. Winsberg (eds.), The Probability Map of the Universe: Essays on David Albert’s _time and Chance_. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.
    One popular approach to statistical mechanics understands statistical mechanical probabilities as measures of rational indifference. Naive formulations of this ``indifference approach'' face reversibility worries - while they yield the right prescriptions regarding future events, they yield the wrong prescriptions regarding past events. This paper begins by showing how the indifference approach can overcome the standard reversibility worries by appealing to the Past Hypothesis. But, the paper argues, positing a Past Hypothesis doesn't free the indifference approach from all reversibility worries. For (...)
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  19. Generalizing the Problem of Humean Undermining.Heather Demarest & Elizabeth Miller - 2023 - In Christian Loew, Siegfried Jaag & Michael Townsen Hicks (eds.), Humean Laws for Human Agents. Oxford: Oxford UP.
    For Humeans, many facts—even ones intuitively “about” particular, localized macroscopic parts of the world—turn out to depend on surprisingly global fundamental bases. We investigate some counterintuitive consequences of this picture. Many counterfactuals whose antecedents describe intuitively localized, non-actual states of affairs nevertheless end up involving wide-ranging implications for the global, embedding Humean mosaic. The case of self-undermining chances is a familiar example of this. We examine that example in detail and argue that popular existing strategies such as “holding the laws (...)
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  20. How bad is the postulation of a low entropy initial state of the universe?Aldo Filomeno - 2023 - Aphex 27:141-158.
    I summarize, in this informal interview, the main approaches to the ‘Past Hypothesis’, the postulation of a low-entropy initial state of the universe. I’ve chosen this as an open problem in the philosophical foundations of physics. I hope that this brief overview helps readers in gaining perspective and in appreciating the diverse range of approaches in this fascinating unresolved debate.
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  21. Typicality of Dynamics and Laws of Nature.Aldo Filomeno - 2023 - In Cristián Soto (ed.), Current Debates in Philosophy of Science: In Honor of Roberto Torretti. Springer Verlag. pp. 391-418.
    Certain results, most famously in classical statistical mechanics and complex systems, but also in quantum mechanics and high-energy physics, yield a coarse-grained stable statistical pattern in the long run. The explanation of these results shares a common structure: the results hold for a ‘typical’ dynamics, that is, for most of the underlying dynamics. In this paper I argue that the structure of the explanation of these results might shed some light—a different light—on philosophical debates on the laws of nature. In (...)
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  22. Absorbing the Arrow of Electromagnetic Radiation.Mario Hubert & Charles T. Sebens - 2023 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 99 (C):10-27.
    We argue that the asymmetry between diverging and converging electromagnetic waves is just one of many asymmetries in observed phenomena that can be explained by a past hypothesis and statistical postulate (together assigning probabilities to different states of matter and field in the early universe). The arrow of electromagnetic radiation is thus absorbed into a broader account of temporal asymmetries in nature. We give an accessible introduction to the problem of explaining the arrow of radiation and compare our preferred strategy (...)
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  23. Thermodynamics of an Empty Box.G. J. Schmitz, M. te Vrugt, T. Haug-Warberg, L. Ellingsen & P. Needham - 2023 - Entropy 25 (315):1-30.
    A gas in a box is perhaps the most important model system studied in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. Usually, studies focus on the gas, whereas the box merely serves as an idealized confinement. The present article focuses on the box as the central object and develops a thermodynamic theory by treating the geometric degrees of freedom of the box as the degrees of freedom of a thermodynamic system. Applying standard mathematical methods to the thermody- namics of an empty box allows (...)
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  24. From Time Asymmetry to Quantum Entanglement: The Humean Unification.Eddy Keming Chen - 2022 - Noûs 56 (1):227-255.
    Two of the most difficult problems in the foundations of physics are (1) what gives rise to the arrow of time and (2) what the ontology of quantum mechanics is. I propose a unified 'Humean' solution to the two problems. Humeanism allows us to incorporate the Past Hypothesis and the Statistical Postulate into the best system, which we then use to simplify the quantum state of the universe. This enables us to confer the nomological status to the quantum state in (...)
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  25. Fundamental Nomic Vagueness.Eddy Keming Chen - 2022 - Philosophical Review 131 (1):1-49.
    If there are fundamental laws of nature, can they fail to be exact? In this paper, I consider the possibility that some fundamental laws are vague. I call this phenomenon 'fundamental nomic vagueness.' I characterize fundamental nomic vagueness as the existence of borderline lawful worlds and the presence of several other accompanying features. Under certain assumptions, such vagueness prevents the fundamental physical theory from being completely expressible in the mathematical language. Moreover, I suggest that such vagueness can be regarded as (...)
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  26. Degeneration and Entropy.Eugene Y. S. Chua - 2022 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 36 (2):123-155.
    [Accepted for publication in Lakatos's Undone Work: The Practical Turn and the Division of Philosophy of Mathematics and Philosophy of Science, special issue of Kriterion: Journal of Philosophy. Edited by S. Nagler, H. Pilin, and D. Sarikaya.] Lakatos’s analysis of progress and degeneration in the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes is well-known. Less known, however, are his thoughts on degeneration in Proofs and Refutations. I propose and motivate two new criteria for degeneration based on the discussion in Proofs and Refutations (...)
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  27. T Falls Apart: On the Status of Classical Temperature in Relativity.Eugene Yew Siang Chua - 2022 - Philosophy of Science:1-27.
    Taking the formal analogies between black holes and classical thermodynamics seriously seems to first require that classical thermodynamics applies in relativistic regimes. Yet, by scrutinizing how classical temperature is extended into special relativity, I argue that the concept falls apart. I examine four consilient procedures for establishing the classical temperature: the Carnot process, the thermometer, kinetic theory, and black-body radiation. I argue that their relativistic counterparts demonstrate no such consilience in defining the relativistic temperature. As such, classical temperature doesn’t appear (...)
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  28. Conventionalism about time direction.Matt Farr - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-21.
    In what sense is the direction of time a matter of convention? In 'The Direction of Time', Hans Reichenbach makes brief reference to parallels between his views about the status of time’s direction and his conventionalism about geometry. In this article, I: (1) provide a conventionalist account of time direction motivated by a number of Reichenbach’s claims in the book; (2) show how forwards and backwards time can give equivalent descriptions of the world despite the former being the ‘natural’ direction (...)
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  29. What’s so special about initial conditions? Understanding the past hypothesis in directionless time.Matt Farr - 2022 - In Yemima Ben-Menahem (ed.), Rethinking Laws of Nature. Springer.
    It is often said that the world is explained by laws of nature together with initial conditions. But does that mean initial conditions don’t require further explanation? And does the explanatory role played by initial conditions entail or require that time has a preferred direction? This chapter looks at the use of the ‘initialness defence’ in physics, the idea that initial conditions are intrinsically special in that they don’t require further explanation, unlike the state of the world at other times. (...)
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  30. Why Machines Will Never Rule the World: Artificial Intelligence without Fear.Jobst Landgrebe & Barry Smith - 2022 - Abingdon, England: Routledge.
    The book’s core argument is that an artificial intelligence that could equal or exceed human intelligence—sometimes called artificial general intelligence (AGI)—is for mathematical reasons impossible. It offers two specific reasons for this claim: Human intelligence is a capability of a complex dynamic system—the human brain and central nervous system. Systems of this sort cannot be modelled mathematically in a way that allows them to operate inside a computer. In supporting their claim, the authors, Jobst Landgrebe and Barry Smith, marshal evidence (...)
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  31. A Multi-wavelength Data Analysis with Multi-mission Space Telescopes.Yang I. Pachankis - 2022 - International Journal of Innovative Science and Research Technology 7 (1):701-708.
    The article summarizes the software tool on astrophysical analysis with multi-wavelength space telescope data. It recaps the evidence analysis conducted on the Kerr-Newman black hole (KNBH). It was written prior to the article Research on the Kerr-Newman Black Hole in M82 Confirms Black Hole and White Hole Juxtapose not soon after the experiment. The conducted analysis suggested Hawking radiation is caused by the movement of ergosurfaces of the BH and serves as the primal evidence for black hole and white hole (...)
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  32. Reversing the arrow of time.Bryan W. Roberts - 2022 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    'The arrow of time' refers to the curious asymmetry that distinguishes the future from the past. Reversing the Arrow of Time argues that there is an intimate link between the symmetries of 'time itself' and time reversal symmetry in physical theories, which has wide-ranging implications for both physics and its philosophy. This link helps to clarify how we can learn about the symmetries of our world, how to understand the relationship between symmetries and what is real, and how to overcome (...)
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  33. Poincaré, Poincaré Recurrence, and the H-Theorem: A Continued Reassessment of Boltzmannian Statistical Mechanics.Christopher Gregory Weaver - 2022 - International Journal of Modern Physics B 36 (23):2230005.
    In (Weaver 2021), I showed that Boltzmann’s H-theorem does not face a significant threat from the reversibility paradox. I argue that my defense of the H-theorem against that paradox can be used yet again for the purposes of resolving the recurrence paradox without having to endorse heavy-duty statistical assumptions outside of the hypothesis of molecular chaos. As in (Weaver 2021), lessons from the history and foundations of physics reveal precisely how such resolution is achieved.
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  34. Quantum Mechanics in a Time-Asymmetric Universe: On the Nature of the Initial Quantum State.Eddy Keming Chen - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (4):1155–1183.
    In a quantum universe with a strong arrow of time, we postulate a low-entropy boundary condition to account for the temporal asymmetry. In this paper, I show that the Past Hypothesis also contains enough information to simplify the quantum ontology and define a unique initial condition in such a world. First, I introduce Density Matrix Realism, the thesis that the quantum universe is described by a fundamental density matrix that represents something objective. This stands in sharp contrast to Wave Function (...)
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  35. Does von Neumann Entropy Correspond to Thermodynamic Entropy?Eugene Y. S. Chua - 2021 - Philosophy of Science 88 (1):145-168.
    Conventional wisdom holds that the von Neumann entropy corresponds to thermodynamic entropy, but Hemmo and Shenker (2006) have recently argued against this view by attacking von Neumann's (1955) argument. I argue that Hemmo and Shenker's arguments fail due to several misunderstandings: about statistical-mechanical and thermodynamic domains of applicability, about the nature of mixed states, and about the role of approximations in physics. As a result, their arguments fail in all cases: in the single-particle case, the finite particles case, and the (...)
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  36. Historical and Conceptual Foundations of Information Physics.Anta Javier - 2021 - Dissertation, Universitat de Barcelona
    The main objective of this dissertation is to philosophically assess how the use of informational concepts in the field of classical thermostatistical physics has historically evolved from the late 1940s to the present day. I will first analyze in depth the main notions that form the conceptual basis on which 'informational physics' historically unfolded, encompassing (i) different entropy, probability and information notions, (ii) their multiple interpretative variations, and (iii) the formal, numerical and semantic-interpretative relationships among them. In the following, I (...)
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  37. How Anti-Humeans Can Embrace a Thermodynamic Reduction of Time’s Causal Arrow.Eli I. Lichtenstein - 2021 - Philosophy of Science 88 (5):1161-1171.
    Some argue that time’s causal arrow is grounded in an underlying thermodynamic asymmetry. Often, this is tied to Humean skepticism that causes produce their effects, in any robust sense of ‘produce’. Conversely, those who advocate stronger notions of natural necessity often reject thermodynamic reductions of time’s causal arrow. Against these traditional pairings, I argue that ‘reduction-plus-production’ is coherent. Reductionists looking to invoke robust production can insist that there are metaphysical constraints on the signs of objects’ velocities in any state, given (...)
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  38. From Quantum Entanglement to Spatiotemporal Distance.Alyssa Ney - 2021 - In Christian Wüthrich, Baptiste Le Bihan & Nick Huggett (eds.), Philosophy Beyond Spacetime. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Within the field of quantum gravity, there is an influential research program developing the connection between quantum entanglement and spatiotemporal distance. Quantum information theory gives us highly refined tools for quantifying quantum entanglement such as the entanglement entropy. Through a series of well-confirmed results, it has been shown how these facts about the entanglement entropy of component systems may be connected to facts about spatiotemporal distance. Physicists are seeing these results as yielding promising methods for better understanding the emergence of (...)
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  39. “Two bits less” after quantum-information conservation and their interpretation as “distinguishability / indistinguishability” and “classical / quantum”.Vasil Penchev - 2021 - Philosophy of Science eJournal (Elsevier: SSRN) 14 (46):1-7.
    The paper investigates the understanding of quantum indistinguishability after quantum information in comparison with the “classical” quantum mechanics based on the separable complex Hilbert space. The two oppositions, correspondingly “distinguishability / indistinguishability” and “classical / quantum”, available implicitly in the concept of quantum indistinguishability can be interpreted as two “missing” bits of classical information, which are to be added after teleportation of quantum information to be restored the initial state unambiguously. That new understanding of quantum indistinguishability is linked to the (...)
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  40. Degrees of Freedom.Pieter Thyssen & Sylvia Wenmackers - 2021 - Synthese 198 (11):10207-10235.
    Human freedom is in tension with nomological determinism and with statistical determinism. The goal of this paper is to answer both challenges. Four contributions are made to the free-will debate. First, we propose a classification of scientific theories based on how much freedom they allow. We take into account that indeterminism comes in different degrees and that both the laws and the auxiliary conditions can place constraints. A scientific worldview pulls towards one end of this classification, while libertarianism pulls towards (...)
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  41. Explaining Universality: Infinite Limit Systems in the Renormalization Group Method.Jingyi Wu - 2021 - Synthese (5-6):14897-14930.
    I analyze the role of infinite idealizations used in the renormalization group (RG hereafter) method in explaining universality across microscopically different physical systems in critical phenomena. I argue that despite the reference to infinite limit systems such as systems with infinite correlation lengths during the RG process, the key to explaining universality in critical phenomena need not involve infinite limit systems. I develop my argument by introducing what I regard as the explanatorily relevant property in RG explanations: linearization* property; I (...)
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  42. Calling for explanation: the case of the thermodynamic past state.Dan Baras & Orly Shenker - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (3):1-20.
    Philosophers of physics have long debated whether the Past State of low entropy of our universe calls for explanation. What is meant by “calls for explanation”? In this article we analyze this notion, distinguishing between several possible meanings that may be attached to it. Taking the debate around the Past State as a case study, we show how our analysis of what “calling for explanation” might mean can contribute to clarifying the debate and perhaps to settling it, thus demonstrating the (...)
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  43. Time's Arrow in a Quantum Universe: On the Status of Statistical Mechanical Probabilities.Eddy Keming Chen - 2020 - In Valia Allori (ed.), Statistical Mechanics and Scientific Explanation: Determinism, Indeterminism and Laws of Nature. World Scientific. pp. 479–515.
    In a quantum universe with a strong arrow of time, it is standard to postulate that the initial wave function started in a particular macrostate---the special low-entropy macrostate selected by the Past Hypothesis. Moreover, there is an additional postulate about statistical mechanical probabilities according to which the initial wave function is a ''typical'' choice in the macrostate. Together, they support a probabilistic version of the Second Law of Thermodynamics: typical initial wave functions will increase in entropy. Hence, there are two (...)
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  44. Welcome to the Fuzzy-Verse.Eddy Keming Chen - 2020 - New Scientist 247 (3298):36-40.
    We expect the laws of nature that describe the universe to be exact, but what if that isn't true? In this popular science article, I discuss the possibility that some candidate fundamental laws of nature, such as the Past Hypothesis, may be vague. This possibility is in conflict with the idea that the fundamental laws of nature can always and faithfully be described by classical mathematics. -/- [Bibliographic note: this article is featured on the magazine website under a different title (...)
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  45. C‐theories of time: On the adirectionality of time.Matt Farr - 2020 - Philosophy Compass (12):1-17.
    “The universe is expanding, not contracting.” Many statements of this form appear unambiguously true; after all, the discovery of the universe’s expansion is one of the great triumphs of empirical science. However, the statement is time-directed: the universe expands towards what we call the future; it contracts towards the past. If we deny that time has a direction, should we also deny that the universe is really expanding? This article draws together and discusses what I call ‘C-theories’ of time — (...)
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  46. Psychophysical identity and free energy.Alex Kiefer - 2020 - Journal of the Royal Society Interface 17.
    An approach to implementing variational Bayesian inference in biological systems is considered, under which the thermodynamic free energy of a system directly encodes its variational free energy. In the case of the brain, this assumption places constraints on the neuronal encoding of generative and recognition densities, in particular requiring a stochastic population code. The resulting relationship between thermodynamic and variational free energies is prefigured in mind–brain identity theses in philosophy and in the Gestalt hypothesis of psychophysical isomorphism.
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  47. An Alternative Interpretation of Statistical Mechanics.C. D. McCoy - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (1):1-21.
    In this paper I propose an interpretation of classical statistical mechanics that centers on taking seriously the idea that probability measures represent complete states of statistical mechanical systems. I show how this leads naturally to the idea that the stochasticity of statistical mechanics is associated directly with the observables of the theory rather than with the microstates (as traditional accounts would have it). The usual assumption that microstates are representationally significant in the theory is therefore dispensable, a consequence which suggests (...)
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  48. Interpretive analogies between quantum and statistical mechanics.C. D. McCoy - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (1):9.
    The conspicuous similarities between interpretive strategies in classical statistical mechanics and in quantum mechanics may be grounded on their employment of common implementations of probability. The objective probabilities which represent the underlying stochasticity of these theories can be naturally associated with three of their common formal features: initial conditions, dynamics, and observables. Various well-known interpretations of the two theories line up with particular choices among these three ways of implementing probability. This perspective has significant application to debates on primitive ontology (...)
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  49. Eternal Worlds and the Best System Account of Laws.Ryan A. Olsen & Christopher Meacham - 2020 - In Valia Allori (ed.), Statistical Mechanics and Scientific Explanation: Determinism, Indeterminism and Laws of Nature. World Scientific.
    In this paper we apply the popular Best System Account of laws to typical eternal worlds – both classical eternal worlds and eternal worlds of the kind posited by popular contemporary cosmological theories. We show that, according to the Best System Account, such worlds will have no laws that meaningfully constrain boundary conditions. It’s generally thought that lawful constraints on boundary conditions are required to avoid skeptical arguments. Thus the lack of such laws given the Best System Account may seem (...)
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  50. The temporal foundation of the principle of maximal entropy.Vasil Penchev - 2020 - Logic and Philosophy of Mathematics eJournal 12 (11):1-3.
    The principle of maximal entropy (further abbreviated as “MaxEnt”) can be founded on the formal mechanism, in which future transforms into past by the mediation of present. This allows of MaxEnt to be investigated by the theory of quantum information. MaxEnt can be considered as an inductive analog or generalization of “Occam’s razor”. It depends crucially on choice and thus on information just as all inductive methods of reasoning. The essence shared by Occam’s razor and MaxEnt is for the relevant (...)
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