•  62
    We argue that causal decision theory is no worse off than evidential decision theory in handling entanglement, regardless of one’s preferred interpretation of quantum mechanics. In recent works, Ahmed and Ahmed and Caulton : 4315–4352, 2014) have claimed the opposite; we argue that they are mistaken. Bell-type experiments are not instances of Newcomb problems, so CDT and EDT do not diverge in their recommendations. We highlight the fact that a Causal Decision Theorist should take all lawlike cor…Read more
  •  45
    Q.e.D., Qed
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 71 1-13. 2020.
    Precision testing of the quantum electrodynamics (QED) and the standard model provides some of the most secure knowledge in the history of physics. These tests can also be used to constrain and search for new physics going beyond the standard model. We examine the evidential structure of relationships between theoretical predictions from QED, precision measurements of these phenomena, and the indirect determination of the fine structure constant. We argue that "pure QED" is no longer sufficient …Read more
  •  38
    In this paper I detail three major mathematical developments that led to the emergence of Yang–Mills theories as the foundation for the standard model of particle physics. In less than 10 years, work on renormalizability, the renormalization group, and lattice quantum field theory highlighted the utility of Yang–Mills type models of quantum field theory by connecting poorly understood candidate dynamical models to emerging experimental results. I use this historical case study to provide lessons…Read more
  •  21
    Problems with the cosmological constant problem
    In Christian Wüthrich, Baptiste Le Bihan & Nick Huggett (eds.), Philosophy Beyond Spacetime, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    The cosmological constant problem is widely viewed as an important barrier and hint to merging quantum field theory and general relativity. It is a barrier insofar as it remains unsolved, and a solution may hint at a fuller theory of quantum gravity. I critically examine the arguments used to pose the cosmological constant problem, and find many of the steps poorly justified. In particular, there is little reason to accept an absolute zero point energy scale in quantum field theory, and standard…Read more
  •  20
    The Higgs mechanism and superconductivity: A case study of formal analogies
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 55 72-91. 2016.
    Following the experimental discovery of the Higgs boson, physicists explained the discovery to the public by appealing to analogies with condensed matter physics. The historical root of these analogies is the analogies to models of superconductivity that inspired the introduction of spontaneous symmetry breaking into particle physics in the early 1960s. We offer a historical and philosophical analysis of the analogies between the Higgs model of the electroweak interaction and the Ginsburg-Landau…Read more
  •  20
    The debate between Fraser and Wallace over the foundations of quantum field theory has spawned increased focus on both the axiomatic and conventional formalisms. The debate has set the tone for future foundational analysis, and has forced philosophers to “pick a side”. The two are seen as competing research programs, and the major divide between the two manifests in how each handles renormalization. In this paper I argue that the terms set by the Fraser-Wallace debate are misleading. AQFT and CQ…Read more
  •  19
    Do the EPR correlations pose a problem for causal decision theory?
    with Lucas Dunlap and William L. Harper
    Synthese 196 (9): 3711-3722. 2019.
    We argue that causal decision theory is no worse off than evidential decision theory in handling entanglement, regardless of one’s preferred interpretation of quantum mechanics. In recent works, Ahmed and Ahmed and Caulton : 4315–4352, 2014) have claimed the opposite; we argue that they are mistaken. Bell-type experiments are not instances of Newcomb problems, so CDT and EDT do not diverge in their recommendations. We highlight the fact that a Causal Decision Theorist should take all lawlike cor…Read more
  •  18
    Theory construction in high-energy particle physics
    Dissertation, University of Western Ontario. 2019.
    Science is a process, through which theoretical frameworks are developed, new phenomena defined and discovered, and properties of entities tested. The goal of this dissertation is to illustrate how high-energy physics exemplified the process of theory construction from the 1950s to 1970s, and the promising ways in which it can continue to do so today. The lessons learned from the case studies examined here can inform future physics, and may provide methodological clues as to the best way forward…Read more
  •  10
    Parity violation in weak interactions: How experiment can shape a theoretical framework
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 67 (64-77): 64-77. 2019.
    In this paper I will focus on the case of the discovery of parity nonconservation in weak interactions from the period spanning 1947–1957, and the lessons this episode provides for successful theory construction in HEP. I aim to (a) summarize the history into a coherent story for philosophers of science, and (b) use the history as a case study for the epistemological evolution of the understanding of weak interactions in HEP. I conclude with some philosophical lessons regarding theory constructi…Read more
  •  6
    Regularizing (Away) Vacuum Energy
    Foundations of Physics 51 (1): 1-22. 2021.
    In this paper I formulate Minimal Requirements for Candidate Predictions in quantum field theories, inspired by viewing the standard model as an effective field theory. I then survey standard effective field theory regularization procedures, to see if the vacuum expectation value of energy density ) is a quantity that meets these requirements. The verdict is negative, leading to the conclusion that \ is not a physically significant quantity in the standard model. Rigorous extensions of flat spac…Read more