•  442
    There Is No Special Problem About Scientific Representation
    Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 21 (1): 67-85. 2005.
    We propose that scientific representation is a special case of a more general notion of representation, and that the relatively well worked-out and plausible theories of the latter are directly applicable to thc scientific special case. Construing scientific representation in this way makes the so-called “problem of scientific representation” look much less interesting than it has seerned to many, and suggests that some of the debates in the literature are concerned with non-issues.
  •  171
    Taking Thermodynamics Too Seriously
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 32 (4): 539-553. 2001.
    This paper discusses the mistake of understanding the laws and concepts of thermodynamics too literally in the foundations of statistical mechanics. Arguing that this error is still made in subtle ways, the article explores its occurrence in three examples: the Second Law, the concept of equilibrium and the definition of phase transitions.
  •  147
    What is 'the problem of the direction of time'?
    Philosophy of Science 64 (4): 234. 1997.
    This paper searches for an explicit expression of the so-called problem of the direction of time. I argue that the traditional version of the problem is an artifact of a mistaken view in the foundations of statistical mechanics, and that to the degree it is a problem, it is really one general to all the special sciences. I then search the residue of the traditional problem for any remaining difficulty particular to time's arrow and find that there is a special puzzle for some types of scientific…Read more
  •  141
    Time's ontic voltage
    In Adrian Bardon (ed.), The future of the philosophy of time, Routledge. pp. 73-94. 2011.
    Philosophy of time, as practiced throughout the last hundred years, is both language- and existence-obsessed. It is language-obsessed in the sense that the primary venue for attacking questions about the nature of time—in sharp contrast to the primary venue for questions about space—has been philosophy of language. Although other areas of philosophy have long recognized that there is a yawning gap between language and the world, the message is spreading slowly in philosophy of time.[1] Since twe…Read more
  •  139
    The emergence and interpretation of probability in Bohmian mechanics
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (2): 351-370. 2007.
    A persistent question about the deBroglie–Bohm interpretation of quantum mechanics concerns the understanding of Born’s rule in the theory. Where do the quantum mechanical probabilities come from? How are they to be interpreted? These are the problems of emergence and interpretation. In more than 50 years no consensus regarding the answers has been achieved. Indeed, mirroring the foundational disputes in statistical mechanics, the answers to each question are surprisingly diverse. This paper is …Read more
  •  134
    Answers in search of a question: ‘proofs’ of the tri-dimensionality of space
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 36 (1): 113-136. 2005.
    From Kant’s first published work to recent articles in the physics literature, philosophers and physicists have long sought an answer to the question, why does space have three dimensions. In this paper, I will flesh out Kant’s claim with a brief detour through Gauss’ law. I then describe Büchel’s version of the common argument that stable orbits are possible only if space is three-dimensional. After examining objections by Russell and van Fraassen, I develop three original criticisms of my own.…Read more
  •  125
    Time in Cosmology
    In Eleanor Knox & Alistair Wilson (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Physics, Routledge. 2021.
    Readers familiar with the workhorse of cosmology, the hot big bang model, may think that cosmology raises little of interest about time. As cosmological models are just relativistic spacetimes, time is understood just as it is in relativity theory, and all cosmology adds is a few bells and whistles such as inflation and the big bang and no more. The aim of this chapter is to show that this opinion is not completely right...and may well be dead wrong. In our survey, we show how the hot big bang m…Read more
  •  125
    is the thesis that everything supervenes upon the spatiotemporal distribution of local intrinsic qualities. A recent threat to HS, originating in thought experiments by Armstrong and Kripke, claims that the mere possibility of rotating homogeneous discs proves HS false. I argue that the rotating disc argument (RDA) fails. If I am right, Humeans needn't abandon or alter HS to make sense of rotating homogeneous discs. Homogeneous discs, as necessarily understood by RDA, are not the sorts of things…Read more
  •  106
    One world, one beable
    Synthese 192 (10): 3153-3177. 2015.
    Is the quantum state part of the furniture of the world? Einstein found such a position indigestible, but here I present a different understanding of the wavefunction that is easy to stomach. First, I develop the idea that the wavefunction is nomological in nature, showing how the quantum It or Bit debate gets subsumed by the corresponding It or Bit debate about laws of nature. Second, I motivate the nomological view by casting quantum mechanics in a “classical” formalism (Hamilton–Jacobi theory…Read more
  •  102
    What Becomes of a Causal Set?
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (3): 907-925. 2017.
    ABSTRACT Unlike the relativity theory it seeks to replace, causal set theory has been interpreted to leave space for a substantive, though perhaps ‘localized’, form of ‘becoming’. The possibility of fundamental becoming is nourished by the fact that the analogue of Stein’s theorem from special relativity does not hold in CST. Despite this, we find that in many ways, the debate concerning becoming parallels the well-rehearsed lines it follows in the domain of relativity. We present, however, some…Read more
  •  92
  •  87
    Not so cool (review)
    Metascience 16 (1): 147-151. 2007.
    To their dismay, children look like their parents. They are not perfect copies, and over many generations some features evaporate; but even over fifty generations features relevant to an anthropologist persist. Children perhaps can find some comfort in the fact that we are not alone: organisms in general maintain remarkably stable structures through time. In What is Life? Erwin Schrödinger famously predicted the existence of the gene, but he also asked how life manages such stability in the face…Read more
  •  85
    This is the table of contents and first chapter of Physics Meets Philosophy at the Planck Scale (Cambridge University Press, 2001), edited by Craig Callender and Nick Huggett. The chapter discusses the question of why there should be a theory of quantum gravity. We tackle arguments that purport to show that the gravitational field *must* be quantized. We then introduce various programs in quantum gravity and discuss areas where quantum gravity and philosophy seem to have something to say to each…Read more
  •  75
    Time, Reality & Experience (edited book)
    Cambridge University Press. 2002.
    Collection of original essays by leading philosophers on a range of questions about time.
  •  55
    Book Symposium: David Albert, After Physics
    with Wayne C. Myrvold, David Z. Albert, and Jenann Ismael
    On April 1, 2016, at the Annual Meeting of the Pacific Division of the American Philosophical Association, a book symposium, organized by Alyssa Ney, was held in honor of David Albert’s After Physics. All participants agreed that it was a valuable and enlightening session. We have decided that it would be useful, for those who weren’t present, to make our remarks publicly available. Please bear in mind that what follows are remarks prepared for the session, and that on some points participants m…Read more
  •  38
    I show how the two great Humean ways of understanding laws of nature, projectivism and systems theory, have unwittingly reprised developments in metaethics over the past century. This demonstration helps us explain and understand trends in both literatures. It also allows work on laws to “leap- frog” over the birth of many new positions, the nomic counterparts of new theories in metaethics. However, like leap-frogging from agriculture to the internet age, it’s hardly clear that we’ve landed in a…Read more
  •  37
    The past histories of molecules
    In Claus Beisbart & Stephan Hartmann (eds.), Probabilities in Physics, Oxford University Press. pp. 83--113. 2011.
    This chapter unfolds a central philosophical problem of statistical mechanics. This problem lies in a clash between the Static Probabilities offered by statistical mechanics and the Dynamic Probabilities provided by classical or quantum mechanics. The chapter looks at the Boltzmann and Gibbs approaches in statistical mechanics and construes some of the great controversies in the field — for instance the Reversibility Paradox — as instances of this conflict. It furthermore argues that a response …Read more
  •  30
    No Time for Time from No-Time
    Philosophy of Science. forthcoming.
    Programs in quantum gravity often claim that time emerges from fundamentally timeless physics. In the semiclassical time program time arises only after approximations are taken. Here we ask what justifies taking these approximations and show that time seems to sneak in when answering this question. This raises the worry that the approach is either unjustified or circular in deriving time from no–time.
  •  23
    Reviews (review)
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (1): 117-120. 1997.
  •  15
    Time, flow, and space
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 42. 2019.
    Does a temporal dual process theory explain the illusive flow of time? I point out one shortcoming of such a theory and propose an alternative that does not require either dual cognitive processes or demand such a stark asymmetry between space and time in the brain.
  •  7
    Review article. The view from no-when
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49 (1): 135-159. 1998.
  •  4
    Quantum Mechanics: Keeping It Real?
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. forthcoming.
  •  2
    Explaining Time's Arrow
    Dissertation, Rutgers the State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick. 1997.
    This thesis is an attempt to accurately formulate and solve one of the problems associated with the direction of time. Processes in nature appear to be 'irreversible', for instance, heat flows from hot to cold but never from cold to hot. The problem of the direction of time, roughly put, is the difficulty of squaring this irreversible behavior with the apparent fact that the fundamental laws of physics are completely reversible. ;In the first three chapters I critically review the foundations of…Read more
  •  2
    Review (review)
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49 (2): 332-337. 1998.