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Gordon Belot
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  1. Quantum States for Primitive Ontologists: A Case Study.Gordon Belot - 2012 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (1):67-83.
    Under so-called primitive ontology approaches, in fully describing the history of a quantum system, one thereby attributes interesting properties to regions of spacetime. Primitive ontology approaches, which include some varieties of Bohmian mechanics and spontaneous collapse theories, are interesting in part because they hold out the hope that it should not be too difficult to make a connection between models of quantum mechanics and descriptions of histories of ordinary macroscopic bodies. But such approaches are dualistic, positing a quantum state as (...)
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  2. 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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  3. Symmetry and Equivalence.Gordon Belot - 2013 - In Robert Batterman (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Physics. Oxford University Press. pp. 318-339.
    This paper is concerned with the relation between two notions: that of two solutions or models of a theory being related by a symmetry of the theory and that of solutions or models being physically equivalent. A number of authors have recently discussed this relation, some taking an optimistic view, on which there is a suitable concept of the symmetry of a theory relative to which these two notions coincide, others taking a pessimistic view, on which there is no such (...)
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  4. Bayesian Orgulity.Gordon Belot - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (4):483-503.
    A piece of folklore enjoys some currency among philosophical Bayesians, according to which Bayesian agents that, intuitively speaking, spread their credence over the entire space of available hypotheses are certain to converge to the truth. The goals of the present discussion are to show that kernel of truth in this folklore is in some ways fairly small and to argue that Bayesian convergence-to-the-truth results are a liability for Bayesianism as an account of rationality, since they render a certain sort of (...)
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  5.  52
    An Automatic Ockham’s Razor for Bayesians?Gordon Belot - 2018 - Erkenntnis:1-7.
    It is sometimes claimed that the Bayesian framework automatically implements Ockham's razor---that conditionalizing on data consistent with both a simple theory and a complex theory more or less inevitably favours the simpler theory. It is shown here that the automatic razor doesn't in fact cut it for certain mundane curve-fitting problems.
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  6. Time in Classical and Relativistic Physics.Gordon Belot - 2013 - In Adrian Bardon & Heather Dyke (eds.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Time. Blackwell. pp. 185-200.
    This is a short, nontechnical introduction to features of time in classical and relativistic physics and their representation in the four-dimensional geometry of spacetime. Topics discussed include: the relativity of simultaneity in special and general relativity; the ‘twin paradox’ and differential aging effects in special and general relativity; and time travel in general relativity.
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  7. Background-Independence.Gordon Belot - 2011 - General Relativity and Gravitation 43:2865-2884.
    Intuitively, a classical field theory is background-in- dependent if the structure required to make sense of its equations is itself subject to dynamical evolution, rather than being imposed ab initio. The aim of this paper is to provide an explication of this intuitive notion. Background-independence is not a not formal property of theories: the question whether a theory is background-independent depends upon how the theory is interpreted. Under the approach proposed here, a theory is fully background-independent relative to an interpretation (...)
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  8. Objectivity and Bias.Gordon Belot - 2017 - Mind 126 (503):655-695.
    The twin goals of this essay are: to investigate a family of cases in which the goal of guaranteed convergence to the truth is beyond our reach; and to argue that each of three strands prominent in contemporary epistemological thought has undesirable consequences when confronted with the existence of such problems. Approaches that follow Reichenbach in taking guaranteed convergence to the truth to be the characteristic virtue of good methods face a vicious closure problem. Approaches on which there is a (...)
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  9. Down to Earth Underdetermination.Gordon Belot - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (2):456-464.
    There are many parts of science in which a certain sort of underdetermination of theory by evidence is known to be common. It is argued that reflection on this fact should serve to shift the burden of proof from scientific anti-realists to scientific realists at a crucial point in the debate between them.
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  10. Curve-Fitting for Bayesians?Belot Gordon - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (3):689-702.
    Bayesians often assume, suppose, or conjecture that for any reasonable explication of the notion of simplicity a prior can be designed that will enforce a preference for hypotheses simpler in just that sense. But it is shown here that there are simplicity-driven approaches to curve-fitting problems that cannot be captured within the orthodox Bayesian framework.
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  11.  87
    Sober as a Judge.Gordon Belot - 2016 - Metascience 25 (3):387-392.
    In Ockham's Razors: A User's Guide, Elliott Sober argues that parsimony considerations are epistemically relevant on the grounds that certain methods of model selection, such as the Akaike Information Criterion, exhibit good asymptotic behaviour and take the number of adjustable parameters in a model into account. I raise some worries about this form of argument.
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    Failure of Calibration is Typical.Gordon Belot - 2013 - Statistics and Probability Letters 83:2316--2318.
    Schervish (1985b) showed that every forecasting system is noncalibrated for uncountably many data sequences that it might see. This result is strengthened here: from a topological point of view, failure of calibration is typical and calibration rare. Meanwhile, Bayesian forecasters are certain that they are calibrated---this invites worries about the connection between Bayesianism and rationality.
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