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Orly Shenker [13]Orly R. Shenker [2]
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Orly Shenker
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  1. 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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  2.  57
    Flat Physicalism.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2022 - Theoria 88 (4):743-764.
    This paper describes a version of type identity physicalism, which we call Flat Physicalism, and shows how it meets several objections often raised against identity theories. This identity theory is informed by recent results in the conceptual foundations of physics, and in particular clar- ifies the notion of ‘physical kinds’ in light of a conceptual analysis of the paradigmatic case of reducing thermody- namics to statistical mechanics. We show how Flat Physi- calism is compatible with the appearance of multiple realisation (...)
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  3. Foundation of statistical mechanics: Mechanics by itself.Orly Shenker - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (12):e12465.
    Statistical mechanics is a strange theory. Its aims are debated, its methods are contested, its main claims have never been fully proven, and their very truth is challenged, yet at the same time, it enjoys huge empirical success and gives us the feeling that we understand important phenomena. What is this weird theory, exactly? Statistical mechanics is the name of the ongoing attempt to apply mechanics, together with some auxiliary hypotheses, to explain and predict certain phenomena, above all those described (...)
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  4. The Second Law of Thermodynamics and the Psychological Arrow of Time.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (1):85-107.
    Can the second law of thermodynamics explain our mental experience of the direction of time? According to an influential approach, the past hypothesis of universal low entropy also explains how the psychological arrow comes about. We argue that although this approach has many attractive features, it cannot explain the psychological arrow after all. In particular, we show that the past hypothesis is neither necessary nor sufficient to explain the psychological arrow on the basis of current physics. We propose two necessary (...)
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  5. The physics of implementing logic: Landauer's principle and the multiple-computations theorem.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 68:90-105.
    This paper makes a novel linkage between the multiple-computations theorem in philosophy of mind and Landauer’s principle in physics. The multiple-computations theorem implies that certain physical systems implement simultaneously more than one computation. Landauer’s principle implies that the physical implementation of “logically irreversible” functions is accompanied by minimal entropy increase. We show that the multiple-computations theorem is incompatible with, or at least challenges, the universal validity of Landauer’s principle. To this end we provide accounts of both ideas in terms of (...)
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  6. Flat Physicalism: some implications.Orly Shenker - 2017 - Iyyun 66:211-225.
    Flat Physicalism is a theory of through and through type reductive physicalism, understood in light of recent results in the conceptual foundations of physics. In Flat Physicalism, as in physics, so-called "high level" concepts and laws are nothing but partial descriptions of the complete states of affairs of the universe. "Flat physicalism" generalizes this idea, to form a reductive picture in which there is no room for levels, neither explanatory nor ontological. The paper explains how phenomena that seem to be (...)
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  7.  55
    Quantum Foundations of Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics.Orly Shenker - 2021 - In Eleanor Knox & Alastair Wilson (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Physics. Oxford: Routledge. pp. Ch. 29.
    Statistical mechanics is often taken to be the paradigm of a successful inter-theoretic reduction, which explains the high-level phenomena (primarily those described by thermodynamics) by using the fundamental theories of physics together with some auxiliary hypotheses. In my view, the scope of statistical mechanics is wider since it is the type-identity physicalist account of all the special sciences. But in this chapter, I focus on the more traditional and less controversial domain of this theory, namely, that of explaining the thermodynamic (...)
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  8. Why the Many-Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics needs more than Hilbert space structure.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2020 - In Scientific Challenges to Common Sense Philosophy. Oxford: pp. 61-70.
    McQueen and Vaidman argue that the Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI) of quantum mechanics provides local causal explanations of the outcomes of experiments in our experience that is due to the total effect of all the worlds together. We show that although the explanation is local in one world, it requires a causal influence that travels across different worlds. We further argue that in the MWI the local nature of our experience is not derivable from the Hilbert space structure, but has (...)
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  9. Maxwell’s Demon in Quantum Mechanics.Orly Shenker & Meir Hemmo - 2020 - Entropy 22 (3):269.
    Maxwell’s Demon is a thought experiment devised by J. C. Maxwell in 1867 in order to show that the Second Law of thermodynamics is not universal, since it has a counter-example. Since the Second Law is taken by many to provide an arrow of time, the threat to its universality threatens the account of temporal directionality as well. Various attempts to “exorcise” the Demon, by proving that it is impossible for one reason or another, have been made throughout the years, (...)
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  10. Hempel’s Dilemma: Not Only for Physicalism.Erez Firt, Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2022 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 34 (2):101-129.
    According to the so-called Hempel’s Dilemma, the thesis of physicalism is either false or empty. Our intention in this paper is not to propose a solution to the Dilemma, but rather to argue as follows: to the extent that Hempel’s Dilemma applies to physicalism it equally applies to any theory that gives a deep-structure and changeable account of our experience or of high-level theories. In particular, we will show that it also applies to mind-body dualistic theories. The scope of Hempel’s (...)
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  11.  58
    The multiple-computations theorem and the physics of singling out a computation.Orly Shenker & Meir Hemmo - 2022 - The Monist 105 (1):175-193.
    The problem of multiple-computations discovered by Hilary Putnam presents a deep difficulty for functionalism (of all sorts, computational and causal). We describe in out- line why Putnam’s result, and likewise the more restricted result we call the Multiple- Computations Theorem, are in fact theorems of statistical mechanics. We show why the mere interaction of a computing system with its environment cannot single out a computation as the preferred one amongst the many computations implemented by the system. We explain why nonreductive (...)
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  12. Denialism: What Do the so-called Consciousness Deniers Deny?Orly Shenker - 2020 - Iyyun 68:307-337.
    Some philosophers consider that some of their colleagues deny that consciousness exists. We shall call the latter ‘deniers’, adopting a term that was initially meant pejoratively. What do the deniers deny? In order to answer this question, we shall examine arguments, both of some deniers and of their critics, and present denialism as a systematic highly non-trivial position that has had some interesting achievements. We will show that the denialist project concerns the epistemology of the mind and specifically of consciousness: (...)
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  13. The Mathematical Representation of the Arrow of Time.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2012 - Iyyun 61:167-192.
    This paper distinguishes between 3 meanings of reversal, all of which are mathematically equivalent in classical mechanics: velocity reversal, retrodiction, and time reversal. It then concludes that in order to have well defined velocities a primitive arrow of time must be included in every time slice. The paper briefly mentions that this arrow cannot come from the Second Law of thermodynamics, but this point is developed in more details elsewhere.
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  14. Science: Freedom and reason, comments on Mara Beller's 'Quantum Dialogue'. [REVIEW]Orly R. Shenker - 2000 - Iyyun 50 (1):55-62.
    Mara Beller's book Quantum Dialogue: The Making of a Revolution is a book in history and historiography, which invites a philosophical reading. The book offers a new and quite radical approach in the philosophy of science, which Beller calls dialogism, and it demonstrates the application of this approach by studying cases in the history of physics. This paper reconstructs of some of the book's theses, in a way which emphasises its philosophical insights, and goes on to shows how philosophically far (...)
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