• Causation in spacetime theories
    In Helen Beebee, Peter Menzies & Christopher Hitchcock (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Causation, Oxford University Press. pp. 685--704. 2009.
  •  44
    Mach׳s principle as action-at-a-distance in GR: The causality question
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 48 (2): 128-136. 2014.
  •  215
    In Donald Borchert (ed.), Macmillan's Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Macmillan. 2006.
    Much is asked of the concept of chance. It has been thought to play various roles, some in tension with or even incompatible with others. Chance has been characterized negatively, as the absence of causation; yet also positively—the ancient Greek τυχη´ reifies it—as a cause of events that are not governed by laws of nature, or as a feature of the laws themselves. Chance events have been understood epistemically as those whose causes are unknown; yet also objectively as a distinct ontological kin…Read more
  • Presentación
    with José Calzada
    Enrahonar 9-10. 2005.
  •  31
    Review (review)
    with Christopher Ray
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 43 (4): 573-580. 1992.
  • General Relativity and Spacetime Relationism
    Dissertation, Stanford University. 1992.
    This dissertation takes up the project of showing that, in the context of the general theory of relativity , spacetime relationism is not a refuted or hopeless view, as many in the recent literature have maintained . Most of the challenges to the relationist view in General Relativity can be satisfactorily answered; in addition, the opposing absolutist and substantivalist views of spacetime can be shown to be problematic. The crucial burden for relationists concerned with GTR is to show that the…Read more
  • Einstein and Mach's Principle
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 25 287-335. 1994.
  •  157
    The Best Humean System for Statistical Mechanics
    Erkenntnis 80 (S3): 551-574. 2015.
    Classical statistical mechanics posits probabilities for various events to occur, and these probabilities seem to be objective chances. This does not seem to sit well with the fact that the theory’s time evolution is deterministic. We argue that the tension between the two is only apparent. We present a theory of Humean objective chance and show that chances thus understood are compatible with underlying determinism and provide an interpretation of the probabilities we find in Boltzmannian stati…Read more
  •  57
    The Metaphysics of Space-Time Substantivalism
    Journal of Philosophy 93 (1): 5-27. 1996.
  •  59
    Einstein's struggle for a Machian gravitation theory
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 25 (3): 287-335. 1994.
    The story of Einstein's struggle to create a general theory of relativity, and his early discontentment with the final form of the theory , is well known in broad outline. Thanks to the work of John Norton and others, much of the fine detail of the story is also now known. One aspect of Einstein's work in this period has, however, been relatively neglected: Einstein's commitment to Mach's ideas on inertia, and the influence this commitment had on Einstein's work on general relativity from 1907 t…Read more
  •  208
    Causality and determinism: Tension, or outright conflict?
    Revista de Filosofía (Madrid) 29 (2): 99-115. 2004.
    In the philosophical tradition, the notions of determinism and causality are strongly linked: it is assumed that in a world of deterministic laws, causality may be said to reign supreme; and in any world where the causality is strong enough, determinism must hold. I will show that these alleged linkages are based on mistakes, and in fact get things almost completely wrong. In a deterministic world that is anything like ours, there is no room for genuine causation. Though there may be stable enou…Read more
  • Editorial
    European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (1): 1-2. 2011.
  •  272
    Energy Conservation in GTR
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 31 (2): 187-199. 2000.
    The topics of gravitational field energy and energy-momentum conservation in General Relativity theory have been unjustly neglected by philosophers. If the gravitational field in space free of ordinary matter, as represented by the metric g ab itself, can be said to carry genuine energy and momentum, this is a powerful argument for adopting the substantivalist view of spacetime.This paper explores the standard textbook account of gravitational field energy and argues that (a) so-called stress-en…Read more
  •  147
    Absolute versus relational spacetime: For better or worse, the debate goes on
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49 (3): 451-467. 1998.
    The traditional absolutist-relationist debate is still clearly formulable in the context of General Relativity Theory (GTR), despite the important differences between Einstein's theory and the earlier context of Newtonian physics. This paper answers recent arguments by Robert Rynasiewicz against the significance of the debate in the GTR context. In his (1996) (‘Absolute vs. Relational Spacetime: An Outmoded Debate?’), Rynasiewicz argues that already in the late nineteenth century, and even more …Read more
  •  44
  •  324
    For fundamentalism
    Philosophy of Science 70 (5): 1401--1412. 2003.
    In this paper I defend fundamental physical laws from the arguments mounted by Nancy Cartwright in her (1999) book The Dappled World (and other publications). I argue, positively, that we have a good deal of evidence for mathematical laws—not just causal capacities—underlying many natural phenomena. I also argue, negatively, that Cartwright's main arguments unfairly demand that a fundamentalist be a strong reductionist.
  •  46
    Calibration: Being in Tune with Frequencies
    Dialectica 66 (3): 435-452. 2012.
    Our beliefs can have, or fail to have, a significant epistemic virtue: they can be true. What about our partial beliefs – that is, credences or subjective probabilities? Is there an epistemic virtue that credences can have or fail to have, whose nature or role with respect to credences is analogous to the role that truth has with respect to full beliefs? Van Fraassen argued in the 1980s that there is indeed such an analog virtue, and he claimed that it is calibration: our credences should match,…Read more
  •  224
    Determinism and Chance from a Humean Perspective
    In Friedrich Stadler, Dennis Dieks, Wenceslao González, Hartmann J., Uebel Stephan, Weber Thomas & Marcel (eds.), The Present Situation in the Philosophy of Science, Springer. pp. 351--72. 2010.
    On the face of it ‘deterministic chance’ is an oxymoron: either an event is chancy or deterministic, but not both. Nevertheless, the world is rife with events that seem to be exactly that: chancy and deterministic at once. Simple gambling devices like coins and dice are cases in point. On the one hand they are governed by deterministic laws – the laws of classical mechanics – and hence given the initial condition of, say, a coin toss it is determined whether it will land heads or tails.2 On the …Read more
  • Time and Chance Propensities
    In Craig Callender (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Time, Oxford University Press. 2011.
  •  173
    Kant's hands and Earman's pions: Chirality arguments for substantival space
    International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 14 (3). 2000.
    This paper outlines a new interpretation of an argument of Kant's for the existence of absolute space. The Kant argument, found in a 1768 essay on topology, argues for the existence of Newtonian-Euclidean absolute space on the basis of the existence of incongruous counterparts (such as a left and a right hand, or any asymmetrical object and its mirror-image). The clear, intrinsic difference between a left hand and a right hand, Kant claimed, cannot be understood on a relational view of space - f…Read more
  •  95
    The underdetermination of theory by evidence must be distinguished from holism. The latter is a doctrine about the testing of scientific hypotheses; the former is a thesis about empirically adequate logically incompatible global theories or "systems of the world". The distinction is crucial for an adequate assessment of the underdetermination thesis. The paper shows how some treatments of underdetermination are vitiated by failure to observe this distinction, and identifies some necessary condit…Read more
  •  12
    Book reviews (review)
    Mind 102 (407): 539-542. 1993.
  •  88
    Philosophy of space-time physics
    with Claire Callender
    In , . 2002.
  •  355
    Freedom from the Inside Out
    Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 50 201-. 2002.
    Since the death of strong reductionism, philosophers of science have expanded the horizons of their understandings of the physical, mental, and social worlds, and the complex relations among them. To give one interesting example, John Dupre has endorsed a notion of downward causation: ‘higher-level’ events causing events at a ‘lower’ ontological level. For example, my intention to type the letter ‘t’ causes the particular motions experienced by all the atoms in my left forefinger as I type it. T…Read more
  •  171
    Causal determinism
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2008.