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  1. Perspectival realism and norms of scientific representation.Quentin Ruyant - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (2):1-17.
    Perspectival realism combines two apparently contradictory aspects: the epistemic relativity of perspectives and the mind-independence of realism. This paper examines the prospects for a coherent perspectival realism, taking the literature on scientific representation as a starting point. It is argued that representation involves two types of norms, referred to as norms of relevance and norms of accuracy. Norms of relevance fix the domain of application of a theory and the way it categorises the world, and norms of accuracy give the (...)
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  • The “Structure” of Physics.Jill North - 2009 - Journal of Philosophy 106 (2):57-88.
    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, (...)
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  • Fifty Million Elvis Fans Can’t be Wrong.Gordon Belot - 2018 - Noûs:946-981.
    This essay revisits some classic problems in the philosophy of space and time concerning the counting of possibilities. I argue that we should think that two Newtonian worlds can differ only as to when or where things happen and that general relativistic worlds can differ in something like the same way—the first of these theses being quaintly heterodox, the second baldly heretical, according to the mores of contemporary philosophy of physics.
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  • Symmetry as an Epistemic Notion.Shamik Dasgupta - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (3):837-878.
    Symmetries in physics are a guide to reality. That much is well known. But what is less well known is why symmetry is a guide to reality. What justifies inferences that draw conclusions about reality from premises about symmetries? I argue that answering this question reveals that symmetry is an epistemic notion twice over. First, these inferences must proceed via epistemic lemmas: premises about symmetries in the first instance justify epistemic lemmas about our powers of detection, and only from those (...)
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  • Who's afraid of coordinate systems? An essay on representation of spacetime structure.David Wallace - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 67:125-136.
    Coordinate-based approaches to physical theories remain standard in mainstream physics but are largely eschewed in foundational discussion in favour of coordinate-free differential-geometric approaches. I defend the conceptual and mathematical legitimacy of the coordinate-based approach for foundational work. In doing so, I provide an account of the Kleinian conception of geometry as a theory of invariance under symmetry groups; I argue that this conception continues to play a very substantial role in contemporary mathematical physics and indeed that supposedly ``coordinate-free'' differential geometry (...)
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  • Representing and Intervening: Introductory Topics in the Philosophy of Natural Science.Ian Hacking - 1983 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
    This 1983 book is a lively and clearly written introduction to the philosophy of natural science, organized around the central theme of scientific realism. It has two parts. 'Representing' deals with the different philosophical accounts of scientific objectivity and the reality of scientific entities. The views of Kuhn, Feyerabend, Lakatos, Putnam, van Fraassen, and others, are all considered. 'Intervening' presents the first sustained treatment of experimental science for many years and uses it to give a new direction to debates about (...)
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  • Galileo’s Gauge: Understanding the Empirical Significance of Gauge Symmetry.Nicholas J. Teh - 2016 - Philosophy of Science 83 (1):93-118.
    This article investigates and resolves the question whether gauge symmetry can display analogs of the famous Galileo’s ship scenario. In doing so, it builds on and clarifies the work of Greaves and Wallace on this subject.
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  • Symmetry, Empirical Equivalence, and Identity.Simon Friederich - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (3):537-559.
    The article proposes a novel approach to the much discussed question of which symmetries have ‘direct empirical significance’ and which do not. The approach is based on a development of a recently proposed framework by Hilary Greaves and David Wallace, who claim that, contrary to the standard folklore among philosophers of physics, ‘local’ symmetries may have direct empirical significance no less than ‘global’ ones. Partly vindicating the standard folklore, a result is derived here from a number of plausible assumptions, that (...)
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  • The Inessential Indexical: On the Philosophical Insignificance of Perspective and the First Person.Herman Cappelen & Josh Dever - 2013 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. Edited by Josh Dever.
    Cappelen and Dever present a forceful challenge to the standard view that perspective, and in particular the perspective of the first person, is a philosophically deep aspect of the world. Their goal is not to show that we need to explain indexical and other perspectival phenomena in different ways, but to show that the entire topic is an illusion.
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  • Why Gauge?Carlo Rovelli - 2014 - Foundations of Physics 44 (1):91-104.
    The world appears to be well described by gauge theories; why? I suggest that gauge is more than mathematical redundancy. Gauge-dependent quantities can not be predicted, but there is a sense in which they can be measured. They describe “handles” though which systems couple: they represent real relational structures to which the experimentalist has access in measurement by supplying one of the relata in the measurement procedure itself. This observation leads to a physical interpretation for the ubiquity of gauge: it (...)
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  • Empirical Consequences of Symmetries.David Wallace & Hilary Greaves - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (1):59-89.
    It is widely recognized that ‘global’ symmetries, such as the boost invariance of classical mechanics and special relativity, can give rise to direct empirical counterparts such as the Galileo-ship phenomenon. However, conventional wisdom holds that ‘local’ symmetries, such as the diffeomorphism invariance of general relativity and the gauge invariance of classical electromagnetism, have no such direct empirical counterparts. We argue against this conventional wisdom. We develop a framework for analysing the relationship between Galileo-ship empirical phenomena on the one hand, and (...)
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  • Demonstratives: An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology of Demonstratives and other Indexicals.David Kaplan - 1989 - In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563.
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  • An agent-based conception of models and scientific representation.Ronald N. Giere - 2010 - Synthese 172 (2):269–281.
    I argue for an intentional conception of representation in science that requires bringing scientific agents and their intentions into the picture. So the formula is: Agents (1) intend; (2) to use model, M; (3) to represent a part of the world, W; (4) for some purpose, P. This conception legitimates using similarity as the basic relationship between models and the world. Moreover, since just about anything can be used to represent anything else, there can be no unified ontology of models. (...)
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  • The empirical status of symmetries in physics.P. Kosso - 2000 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 51 (1):81-98.
    Symmetries in physics are most commonly recognized and discussed in terms of their function in the mathematical formalism of the theories. Discussion of the observation of symmetries in nature is less common. This paper analyses the observation of particular symmetries such as Lorentz and gauge symmetries, distinguishing between direct observation of the symmetry itself and indirect evidence, the latter being the observation of some consequence of the symmetry are, in an important sense, directly observed, while local symmetries such as gauge (...)
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  • Are gauge symmetry transformations observable?Katherine Brading & Harvey R. Brown - 2004 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (4):645-665.
    In a recent paper in this journal, Kosso ([2000]) discussed the observational status of continuous symmetries of physics. While we are in broad agreement with his approach, we disagree with his analysis. In the discussion of the status of gauge symmetry, a set of examples offered by 't Hooft ([1980]) has influenced several philosophers, including Kosso; in all cases the interpretation of the examples is mistaken. In this paper, we present our preferred approach to the empirical significance of symmetries, re-analysing (...)
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  • Attitudes de dicto and de se.David Lewis - 1979 - Philosophical Review 88 (4):513-543.
    I hear the patter of little feet around the house, I expect Bruce. What I expect is a cat, a particular cat. If I heard such a patter in another house, I might expect a cat but no particular cat. What I expect then seems to be a Meinongian incomplete cat. I expect winter, expect stormy weather, expect to shovel snow, expect fatigue---a season, a phenomenon, an activity, a state. I expect that someday mankind will inhabit at least five planets. (...)
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  • Thoroughly modern Mctaggart: Or, what Mctaggart would have said if he had read the general theory of relativity.John Earman - 2002 - Philosophers' Imprint 2:1-28.
    The philosophical literature on time and change is fixated on the issue of whether the B-series account of change is adequate or whether real change requires Becoming of either the property-based variety of McTaggart's A-series or the non-property-based form embodied in C. D. Broad's idea of the piling up of successive layers of existence. For present purposes it is assumed that the B-series suffices to ground real change. But then it is noted that modern science in the guise of Einstein's (...)
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  • The principle of sufficient reason.Gordon Belot - 2001 - Journal of Philosophy 98 (2):55-74.
    The paper is about the physical theories which result when one identifies points in phase space related by symmetries; with applications to problems concerning gauge freedom and the structure of spacetime in classical mechanics.
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  • Scientific representation: Against similarity and isomorphism.Mauricio Suárez - 2003 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (3):225-244.
    I argue against theories that attempt to reduce scientific representation to similarity or isomorphism. These reductive theories aim to radically naturalize the notion of representation, since they treat scientist's purposes and intentions as non-essential to representation. I distinguish between the means and the constituents of representation, and I argue that similarity and isomorphism are common but not universal means of representation. I then present four other arguments to show that similarity and isomorphism are not the constituents of scientific representation. I (...)
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  • The problem of the essential indexical.John Perry - 1979 - Noûs 13 (1):3-21.
    Perry argues that certain sorts of indexicals are 'essential', in the sense that they cannot be eliminated in favor of descriptions. This paper also introduces the influential idea that certain sorts of indexicals play a special role in thought, and have a special connection to action.
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  • True Griceanism: Filling the Gaps in Callender and Cohen’s Account of Scientific Representation.Quentin Ruyant - 2021 - Philosophy of Science 88 (3):533-553.
    Callender and Cohen have proposed to apply a “Gricean strategy” to the constitution problem of scientific representation, taking inspiration from Grice’s reduction of linguistic meaning to mental states. They suggest that scientific representation can be reduced to stipulation by epistemic agents. This account has been criticised for not making a distinction between symbolic and epistemic representation and not taking into account the communal aspects of scientific representation. I argue that these criticisms would not apply if Grice’s actual strategy were properly (...)
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  • Observability, redundancy and modality for dynamical symmetry transformations.David Wallace - unknown
    I provide a fairly systematic analysis of when quantities that are variant under a dynamical symmetry transformation should be regarded as unobservable, or redundant, or unreal; of when models related by a dynamical symmetry transformation represent the same state of affairs; and of when mathematical structure that is variant under a dynamical symmetry transformation should be regarded as surplus. In most of these cases the answer is `it depends': depends, that is, on the details of the symmetry in question. A (...)
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  • Symmetry and the Metaphysics of Physics.David John Baker - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (12):1157-1166.
    The widely held picture of dynamical symmetry as surplus structure in a physical theory has many metaphysical applications. Here, I focus on its relevance to the question of which quantities in a theory represent fundamental natural properties.
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  • The situated self.Jenann Ismael - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    J. T. Ismael's monograph is an ambitious contribution to metaphysics and the philosophy of language and mind. She tackles a philosophical question whose origin goes back to Descartes: What am I? The self is not a mere thing among things--but if so, what is it, and what is its relationship to the world? Ismael is an original and creative thinker who tries to understand our problematic concepts about the self and how they are related to our use of language in (...)
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  • Perfect symmetries.Richard Healey - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (4):697-720.
    While empirical symmetries relate situations, theoretical symmetries relate models of a theory we use to represent them. An empirical symmetry is perfect if and only if any two situations it relates share all intrinsic properties. Sometimes one can use a theory to explain an empirical symmetry by showing how it follows from a corresponding theoretical symmetry. The theory then reveals a perfect symmetry. I say what this involves and why it matters, beginning with a puzzle that is resolved by the (...)
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  • Models of data.Patrick Suppes - 2009 - In Ernest Nagel, Patrick Suppes & Alfred Tarski (eds.), Provability, Computability and Reflection. Stanford, CA, USA: Elsevier.
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  • Perspectival Modeling.Michela Massimi - 2018 - Philosophy of Science 85 (3):335-359.
    The goal of this article is to address the problem of inconsistent models and the challenge it poses for perspectivism. I analyze the argument, draw attention to some hidden premises behind it, and deflate them. Then I introduce the notion of perspectival models as a distinctive class of modeling practices whose primary function is exploratory. I illustrate perspectival modeling with two examples taken from contemporary high-energy physics at the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which are (...)
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  • A puzzle about laws, symmetries and measurability.John T. Roberts - 2008 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (2):143-168.
    I describe a problem about the relations among symmetries, laws and measurable quantities. I explain why several ways of trying to solve it will not work, and I sketch a solution that might work. I discuss this problem in the context of Newtonian theories, but it also arises for many other physical theories. The problem is that there are two ways of defining the space-time symmetries of a physical theory: as its dynamical symmetries or as its empirical symmetries. The two (...)
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  • Scientific representation, interpretation, and surrogative reasoning.Gabriele Contessa - 2007 - Philosophy of Science 74 (1):48-68.
    In this paper, I develop Mauricio Suárez’s distinction between denotation, epistemic representation, and faithful epistemic representation. I then outline an interpretational account of epistemic representation, according to which a vehicle represents a target for a certain user if and only if the user adopts an interpretation of the vehicle in terms of the target, which would allow them to perform valid (but not necessarily sound) surrogative inferences from the model to the system. The main difference between the interpretational conception I (...)
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  • When scientific models represent.Daniela M. Bailer-Jones - 2003 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (1):59 – 74.
    Scientific models represent aspects of the empirical world. I explore to what extent this representational relationship, given the specific properties of models, can be analysed in terms of propositions to which truth or falsity can be attributed. For example, models frequently entail false propositions despite the fact that they are intended to say something "truthful" about phenomena. I argue that the representational relationship is constituted by model users "agreeing" on the function of a model, on the fit with data and (...)
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