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Kellert (In the Wake of Chars, University of Chicago press, Chicago, 1993) has argued that Laplacean determinism in classical physics is actually a layered concept, where various properties or layers composing this form of determinism can be peeled away. Here, I argue that a layered conception of determinism is inappropriate and that we should think in terms of different deterministic models applicable to different kinds of systems. The upshot of this analysis is that the notion of state is more closely (...) 

Kant claims that we cannot cognize the mutual interaction of substances without their being in space; he also claims that we cannot cognize a ‘spatial community’ among substances without their being in mutual interaction. I situate these theses in their historical context and consider Kant’s reasons for accepting them. I argue that they rest on commitments regarding the metaphysical grounding of, first, the possibility of mutual interaction among substancesasappearances and, second, the actuality of specific distancerelations among such substances. By illuminating (...) 

At the heart of the Bayesianism is a rule, Conditionalization, which tells us how to update our beliefs. Typical formulations of this rule are underspecified. This paper considers how, exactly, this rule should be formulated. It focuses on three issues: when a subject’s evidence is received, whether the rule prescribes sequential or interval updates, and whether the rule is narrow or wide scope. After examining these issues, it argues that there are two distinct and equally viable versions of Conditionalization to (...) 

This paper is meant to link the philosophical debate concerning the underdetermination of theories by evidence with a rather significant sociopolitical issue that has been taking place in Canada over the past few years: the socalled ‘death of evidence’ controversy. It places this debate within a broader philosophical framework by discussing the connection between evidence and theory; by bringing out the role of epistemic values in the socalled scientific method; and by examining the role of social values in science. While (...) 

If the force on a particle fails to satisfy a Lipschitz condition at a point, it relaxes one of the conditions necessary for a locally unique solution to the particle’s equation of motion. I examine the most discussed example of this failure of determinism in classical mechanics—that of Norton’s dome—and the range of current objections against it. Finding there are many different conceptions of classical mechanics appropriate and useful for different purposes, I argue that no single conception is preferred. Instead (...) 

I present a very general and simple argument—based on the nosignalling theorem—showing that within the framework of the unitary Schrödinger equation it is impossible to reproduce the phenomenological description of quantum mechanical measurements (in particular the collapse of the state of the measured system) by assuming a suitable mixed initial state of the apparatus. The thrust of the argument is thus similar to that of the ‘insolubility theorems’ for the measurement problem of quantum mechanics (which, however, focus on the impossibility (...) 

Deception has long been an important topic in philosophy. However, the traditional analysis of the concept, which requires that a deceiver intentionally cause her victim to have a false belief, rules out the possibility of much deception in the animal kingdom. Cognitively unsophisticated species, such as fireflies and butterflies, have simply evolved to mislead potential predators and/or prey. To capture such cases of “functional deception,” several researchers Machiavellian intelligence II, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 112–143, 1997; Searcy and Nowicki, The (...) 

Several authors have claimed that prediction is essentially impossible in the general theory of relativity, the case being particularly strong, it is said, when one fully considers the epistemic predicament of the observer. Each of these claims rests on the support of an underdetermination argument and a particular interpretation of the concept of prediction. I argue that these underdetermination arguments fail and depend on an implausible explication of prediction in the theory. The technical results adduced in these arguments can be (...) 

Following the standard practice in sociology, cultural anthropology and history, sociologists, historians of science and some philosophers of science define scientific communities as groups with shared beliefs, values and practices. In this paper it is argued that in real cases the beliefs of the members of such communities often vary significantly in important ways. This has rather dire implications for the convergence defense against the charge of the excessive subjectivity of subjective Bayesianism because that defense requires that communities of Bayesian (...) 

Under the normal assumptions of quantum field theory, Haag’s theorem states that any field unitarily equivalent to a free field must itself be a free field. Unfortunately, the derivation of the Dyson series perturbation expansion relies on the use of the interaction picture, in which the interacting field is unitarily equivalent to the free field but must still account for interactions. Thus, the traditional perturbative derivation of the scattering matrix in quantum field theory is mathematically ill defined. Nevertheless, perturbative quantum (...) 

We show a sense in which the spacetime property of effective completeness—a type of “local holefreeness” or “local inextendibility”—is not stable. 

We discuss some recent work by Tim Maudlin concerning Black Hole Information Loss. We argue, contra Maudlin, that there is a paradox, in the straightforward sense that there are propositions that appear true, but which are incompatible with one another. We discuss the significance of the paradox and Maudlin's response to it. 

Debates about the ontological implications of the general theory of relativity have long oscillated between spacetime substantivalism and relationism. I evaluate such debates by claiming that we need a third option, which I refer to as “structural spacetime realism.” Such a tertium quid sides with the relationists in defending the relational nature of the spacetime structure, but joins the substantivalists in arguing that spacetime exists, at least in part, independently of particular physical objects and events, the degree of “independence” being (...) 

If Einstein's equations are to describe a field theory of gravity in Minkowski spacetime, then causality requires that the effective curved metric must respect the flat background metric's null cone. The kinematical problem is solved using a generalized eigenvector formalism based on the Segré classification of symmetric rank 2 tensors with respect to a Lorentzian metric. Securing the correct relationship between the two null cones dynamically plausibly is achieved using the naive gauge freedom. New variables tied to the generalized eigenvector (...) 

We address the problem of observables in generally invariant spacetime theories such as Einstein’s general relativity. Using the refined notion of an event as a “pointcoincidence” between scalar fields that completely characterise a spacetime model, we propose a generalisation of the relational local observables that does not require the existence of four everywhere invertible scalar fields. The collection of all pointcoincidences forms in generic situations a fourdimensional manifold, that is naturally identified with the physical spacetime. 

Here we briefly review the concept of "prediction" within the context of classical relativity theory. We prove a theorem asserting that one may predict one's own future only in a closed universe. We then question whether prediction is possible at all (even in closed universes). We note that interest in prediction has stemmed from considering the epistemological predicament of the observer. We argue that the definitions of prediction found thus far in the literature do not fully appreciate this predicament. We (...) 

An infinite number of elastically colliding balls is considered in a classical, and then in a relativistic setting. Energy and momentum are not necessarily conserved globally, even though each collision does separately conserve them. This result holds in particular when the total mass of all the balls is finite, and even when the spatial extent and temporal duration of the process are also finite. Further, the process is shown to be indeterministic: there is an arbitrary parameter in the general solution (...) 

An actual infinity of colliding balls can be in a configuration in which the laws of mechanics lead to logical inconsistency. It is argued that one should therefore limit the domain of these laws to a finite, or only a potentially infinite number of elements. With this restriction indeterminism, energy nonconservation and creatio ex nihilo no longer occur. A numerical analysis of finite systems of colliding balls is given, and the asymptotic behaviour that corresponds to the potentially infinite system is (...) 

MalamentHogarth spacetimes are the sort of models within general relativity that seem to allow for the possibility of supertasks. There are various ways in which these spacetimes might be considered physically problematic. Here, we examine these criticisms and investigate the prospect of escaping them. 

The purpose of this paper is to elucidate, by means of concepts and theorems drawn from mathematical logic, the conditions under which the existence of a multiverse is a logical necessity in mathematical physics, and the implications of Gödel’s incompleteness theorem for theories of everything.Three conclusions are obtained in the final section: (i) the theory of the structure of our universe might be an undecidable theory, and this constitutes a potential epistemological limit for mathematical physics, but because such a theory (...) 

A critical reexamination of the history of the concepts of space (including spacetime of general relativity and relativistic quantum field theory) reveals a basic ontological elusiveness of spatial extension, while, at the same time, highlighting the fact that its epistemic primacy seems to be unavoidably imposed on us (as stated by A.Einstein “giving up the extensional continuum … is like to breathe in airless space”). On the other hand, Planck’s discovery of the atomization of action leads to the fundamental recognition (...) 

The concept of time emerges as an ordering structure in a classical statistical ensemble. Probability distributions p τ (t) at a given time t obtain by integrating out the past and future. We discuss alltime probability distributions that realize a unitary time evolution as described by rotations of the real wave function $q_{\tau}(t)=\pm \sqrt{p_{\tau}(t)}$ . We establish a map to quantum physics and the Schrödinger equation. Suitable classical observables are mapped to quantum operators. The noncommutativity of the operator product is (...) 

This paper combines two ideas: (1) That the Lewisian best system analysis of lawhood (BSA) can cope with laws that have exceptions (cf. BraddonMitchell in Noûs 35(2):260–277, 2001; Schrenk in The metaphysics of ceteris paribus laws. Ontos, Frankfurt, 2007). (2) That a BSA can be executed not only on the mosaic of perfectly natural properties but also on any set of special science properties (cf., inter alia, Schrenk 2007, Selected papers contributed to the sections of GAP.6, 6th international congress of (...) 

This pair of articles provides a critical commentary on contemporary approaches to statistical mechanical probabilities. These articles focus on the two ways of understanding these probabilities that have received the most attention in the recent literature: the epistemic indifference approach, and the Lewisstyle regularity approach. These articles describe these approaches, highlight the main points of contention, and make some attempts to advance the discussion. The first of these articles provides a brief sketch of statistical mechanics, and discusses the indifference approach (...) 

Various scientific theories stand in a reductive relation to each other. In a recent article, we have argued that a generalized version of the NagelSchaffner model (GNS) is the right account of this relation. In this article, we present a Bayesian analysis of how GNS impacts on confirmation. We formalize the relation between the reducing and the reduced theory before and after the reduction using Bayesian networks, and thereby show that, postreduction, the two theories are confirmatory of each other. We (...) 

There is a philosophical tradition of arguing against presentism, the thesis that only presently existing things exist, on the basis of its incompatibility with fundamental physics. I grant that presentism is incompatible with special and general relativity, but argue that presentism is not incompatible with quantum gravity, because there are some theories of quantum gravity that utilize a fixed foliation of spacetime. I reply to various objections to this defense of presentism, and point out a flaw in Gödel's modal argument (...) 

This essay aims to provide a selfcontained introduction to time in relativistic cosmology that clarifies both how questions about the nature of time should be posed in this setting and the extent to which they have been or can be answered empirically. The first section below recounts the loss of Newtonian absolute time with the advent of special and general relativity, and the partial recovery of absolute time in the form of cosmic time in some cosmological models. Section II considers (...) 

Consider a gas that is adiabatically isolated from its environment and conﬁned to the left half of a container. Then remove the wall separating the two parts. The gas will immediately start spreading and soon be evenly distributed over the entire available space. The gas has approached equilibrium. Thermodynamics (TD) characterizes this process in terms of an increase of thermodynamic entropy, which attains its maximum value at equilibrium. The second law of thermodynamics captures the irreversibility of this process by positing (...) 

This paper proposes a parallel in the forms of Aristotle’s and Einstein’s physics. It’s an exercise on conceptual analysis rather than history. The possible similarity between Aristotle’s world and the form of Einstein’s universe is discussed. The correlation between kinematics, dynamics and gravity in their respective theories is also studied. Finally, Aristotle’s ontology of space is compared to the relativistic ontology spacetime. 



In this essay I examine a recent argument by Steven Weinberg that seeks to establish local quantum field theory as the only type of quantum theory in accord with the relevent evidence and satisfying two basic physical principles. I reconstruct the argument as a demonstrative induction and indicate it's role as a foil to the underdetermination argument in the debate over scientific realism. 

That past patterns may continue in many different ways has long been identified as a problem for accounts of induction. The novelty of Goodman’s ”new riddle of induction” lies in a metaargument that purports to show that no account of induction can discriminate between incompatible continuations. That metaargument depends on the perfect symmetry of the definitions of grue/bleen and green/blue, so that any evidence that favors the ordinary continuation must equally favor the grueified continuation. I argue that this very dependence (...) 

We present a framework that provides a logic for science by generalizing the notion of logical (Tarskian) consequence. This framework will introduce hierarchies of logical consequences, the first level of each of which is identified with deduction. We argue for identification of the second level of the hierarchies with inductive inference. The notion of induction presented here has some resonance with Popper's notion of scientific discovery by refutation. Our framework rests on the assumption of a restricted class of structures in (...) 

Accelerating Turing machines are Turing machines of a sort able to perform tasks that are commonly regarded as impossible for Turing machines. For example, they can determine whether or not the decimal representation of contains n consecutive 7s, for any n; solve the Turingmachine halting problem; and decide the predicate calculus. Are accelerating Turing machines, then, logically impossible devices? I argue that they are not. There are implications concerning the nature of effective procedures and the theoretical limits of computability. Contrary (...) 

Alan Turing devised his famous test (TT) through a slight modificationof the parlor game in which a judge tries to ascertain the gender of twopeople who are only linguistically accessible. Stevan Harnad hasintroduced the Total TT, in which the judge can look at thecontestants in an attempt to determine which is a robot and which aperson. But what if we confront the judge with an animal, and arobot striving to pass for one, and then challenge him to peg which iswhich? (...) 

Structural realism is sometimes said to undermine the theory underdetermination (TUD) argument against realism, since, in usual TUD scenarios, the supposed underdetermination concerns the objectlike theoretical content but not the structural content. The paper explores the possibility of structural TUD by considering some special cases from modern physics, but also questions the validity of the TUD argument itself. The upshot is that cases of structural TUD cannot be excluded, but that TUD is perhaps not such a terribly serious antirealistic argument. 

In this paper a simple model in particle dynamics of a wellknown supertask is constructed (the supertask was introduced by Max Black some years ago). As a consequence, a new and simple result about creation ex nihilo of particles can be proved compatible with classical dynamics. This result cannot be avoided by imposing boundary conditions at spatial infinity, and therefore is really new in the literature. It follows that there is no reason why even a world of rigid spheres should (...) 

the virtues which are desirable for scientific theories to possess. In this paper I discuss the several species of theoretical virtues called 'fertility', and argue in each case that the desirability of 'fertility' can be explicated in terms of other, more fundamental theoretical virtues. 

An important obstacle to lawhood in the special sciences is the worry that such laws would require metaphysically extravagant conspiracies among fundamental particles. How, short of conspiracy, is this possible? In this paper we'll review a number of strategies that allow for the projectibility of special science generalizations without positing outlandish conspiracies: nonHumean pluralism, classical MRL theories of laws, and Albert and Loewer's theory. After arguing that none of the above fully succeed, we consider the conspiracy problem through the lens (...) 

I argue that there are no physical singularities in space–time. Singular space–time models do not belong to the ontology of the world, because of a simple reason: they are concepts, defective solutions of Einstein’s field equations. I discuss the actual implication of the socalled singularity theorems. In remarking the confusion and fog that emerge from the reification of singularities I hope to contribute to a better understanding of the possibilities and limits of the theory of general relativity. 

Bayesian epistemology addresses epistemological problems with the help of the mathematical theory of probability. It turns out that the probability calculus is especially suited to represent degrees of belief (credences) and to deal with questions of belief change, confirmation, evidence, justification, and coherence. Compared to the informal discussions in traditional epistemology, Bayesian epis temology allows for a more precise and finegrained analysis which takes the gradual aspects of these central epistemological notions into account. Bayesian epistemology therefore complements traditional epistemology; it (...) 

This article describes abductions as special patterns of inference to the best explanation whose structure determines a particularly promising abductive conjecture and thus serves as an abductive search strategy. A classification of different patterns of abduction is provided which intends to be as complete as possible. An important distinction is that between selective abductions, which choose an optimal candidate from given multitude of possible explanations, and creative abductions, which introduce new theoretical models or concepts. While selective abduction has dominated the (...) 

A system whose expected state changes with time cannot have both a forwarddirected translationally invariant probabilistic law and a backwarddirected translationally invariant law. When faced with this choice, science seems to favor the former. An asymmetry between cause and effect may help to explain why temporally oriented laws are usually forwarddirected. 

We describe a possible physical device that computes a function that cannot be computed by a Turing machine. The device is physical in the sense that it is compatible with General Relativity. We discuss some objections, focusing on those which deny that the device is either a computer or computes a function that is not Turing computable. Finally, we argue that the existence of the device does not refute the Church–Turing thesis, but nevertheless may be a counterexample to Gandy's thesis. 

Earman (1993) distinguishes three notions of empirical indistinguishability and offers a rigorous framework to investigate how each of these notions relates to the problem of underdetermination of theory choice. He uses some of the results obtained in this framework to argue for a version of scientific anti realism. In the present paper we first criticize Earman's arguments for that position. Secondly, we propose and motivate a modification of Earman's framework and establish several results concerning some of the notions of indistinguishability (...) 

This essay touches on a number of topics in philosophy of quantum field theory from the point of view of the LSZ asymptotic approach to scattering theory. First, particle/field duality is seen to be a property of free field theory and not of interacting QFT. Second, it is demonstrated how LSZ sidesteps the implications of Haag's theorem. Finally, a recent argument due to Redhead, Malament and Arageorgis against the concept of localized particle states is addressed. Briefly, the argument observes that (...) 

According to ‘regularity theories’ of causation, the obtaining of causal relations depends on no more than the obtaining of certain kinds of regularity. Regularity theorists are thus antirealists about necessary connections in nature. Regularity theories of one form or another have constituted the dominant view in analytic Philosophy for a long time, but have recently come in for some robust criticism, notably from Galen Strawson. Strawson’s criticisms are natural criticisms to make, but have not so far provoked much response from (...) 

Perhaps the most significant contemporary theory of lawhood is the Best System (/MRL) view on which laws are true generalizations that best systematize knowledge. Our question in this paper will be how best to formulate a theory of this kind. We’ll argue that an acceptable MRL should (i) avoid intersystem comparisons of simplicity, strength, and balance, (ii) make lawhood epistemically accessible, and (iii) allow for laws in the special sciences. Attention to these problems will bring into focus a useful menu (...) 

Philosophy of time, as practiced throughout the last hundred years, is both language and existenceobsessed. It is languageobsessed in the sense that the primary venue for attacking questions about the nature of time—in sharp contrast to the primary venue for questions about space—has been philosophy of language. Although other areas of philosophy have long recognized that there is a yawning gap between language and the world, the message is spreading slowly in philosophy of time.[1] Since twentiethcentury analytic philosophy as a (...) 