•  422
    Quantum gravity meets structuralism: Interweaving relations in the foundations of physics
    In Dean Rickles, Steven French & Juha T. Saatsi (eds.), The Structural Foundations of Quantum Gravity, Oxford University Press. pp. 1--39. 2006.
  •  157
    A new spin on the hole argument
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 36 (3): 415-434. 2004.
    This brief paper shows how an exact analogue of Einstein's original hole argument can be constructed in the loop representation of quantum gravity. The new argument is based on the embedding of spin-networks in a manifold and the action of the diffeomorphism constraint on them. The implications of this result are then discussed. I argue that the conclusions of many physicists working on loop quantum gravity---Rovelli and Smolin in particular---that the loop representation uniquely supports relat…Read more
  •  115
    Mirror Symmetry and Other Miracles in Superstring Theory
    Foundations of Physics 43 (1): 54-80. 2013.
    The dominance of string theory in the research landscape of quantum gravity physics (despite any direct experimental evidence) can, I think, be justified in a variety of ways. Here I focus on an argument from mathematical fertility, broadly similar to Hilary Putnam’s ‘no miracles argument’ that, I argue, many string theorists in fact espouse in some form or other. String theory has generated many surprising, useful, and well-confirmed mathematical ‘predictions’—here I focus on mirror symmetry an…Read more
  •  111
    Interpreting quantum gravity
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 36 (4): 691-715. 2005.
    This is an essay review of two textbooks on quantum gravity by Carlo Rovelli and Claus Kiefer.
  •  102
    In this chapter we consider economic systems, and in particular financial systems, from the perspective of the physics of complex systems (i.e. statistical physics, the theory of critical phenomena, and their cognates). This field of research is known as econophysics—alternative names are ‘financial physics’ and ‘statistical phynance.’ This title was coined in 1995 by Eugene Stanley, and since then its researchers have attempted to forge it as an independent and important field, one that stands …Read more
  •  101
    Many of the advances in string theory have been generated by the discovery of new duality symmetries connecting what were once thought to be distinct theories, solu- tions, processes, backgrounds, and more. Indeed, duality has played an enormously important role in the creation and development of numerous theories in physics and numerous fields of mathematics. Dualities often lie at those fruitful intersections at which mathematics and physics are especially strongly intertwined. In this paper I…Read more
  •  97
    Time and Structure in Canonical Gravity
    In Dean Rickles, Steven French & Juha T. Saatsi (eds.), The Structural Foundations of Quantum Gravity, Clarendon Press. 2004.
    In this paper I wish to make some headway on understanding what \emph{kind} of problem the ``problem of time'' is, and offer a possible resolution---or, rather, a new way of understanding an old resolution. The response I give is a variation on a theme of Rovelli's \emph{evolving constants of motion} strategy. I argue that by giving correlation strategies a \emph{structuralist} basis, a number of objections to the standard account can be blunted. Moreover, I show that the account I offer provide…Read more
  •  96
    The Structural Foundations of Quantum Gravity (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2006.
    What is spacetime? General relativity and quantum field theory answer this question in very different ways. This collection of essays by physicists and philosophers looks at the problem of uniting these two most fundamental theories of our world, focusing on the nature of space and time within this new quantum framework, and the kind of metaphysical picture suggested by recent developments in physics and mathematics. This is a book that will inspire further philosophical reflection on recent adv…Read more
  •  91
    Bringing the hole argument back in the loop: A response to Pooley
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 37 (2): 381-387. 2006.
  •  88
    ‘Quantum Gravity’ does not denote any existing theory: the field of quantum gravity is very much a ‘work in progress’. As you will see in this chapter, there are multiple lines of attack each with the same core goal: to find a theory that unifies, in some sense, general relativity (Einstein’s classical field theory of gravitation) and quantum field theory (the theoretical framework through which we understand the behaviour of particles in non-gravitational fields). Quantum field theory and gener…Read more
  •  86
    AdS/CFT duality and the emergence of spacetime
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (3): 312-320. 2013.
    The AdS/CFT duality has been a source of several strong conceptual claims in the physics literature that have yet to be explored by philosophers. In this paper I focus on one of these: the extent to which spacetime geometry and locality can be said to emerge from this duality, so that neither is fundamental. I argue: that the kind of emergence in question is relatively weak, involving one kind of spacetime emerging from another kind of spacetime; inasmuch as there is something conceptually inter…Read more
  •  86
    A philosopher looks at string dualities
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 42 (1): 54-67. 2011.
  •  81
    In this paper I examine the connection between symmetry and modality from the perspective of `reduction' methods in geometric mechanics. I begin by setting the problem up as a choice between two opposing views: reduction and non-reduction. I then discern four views on the matter in the literature; they are distinguished by their advocation of distinct geometric spaces as representing `reality'. I come down in favour of non-reductive methods.
  •  78
    Who's afraid of background independence?
    In Dennis Dieks (ed.), The Ontology of Spacetime II, Elsevier. pp. 133--52. 2008.
    Background independence is generally considered to be ‘the mark of distinction’ of general relativity. However, there is still confusion over exactly what background independence is and how, if at all, it serves to distinguish general relativity from other theories. There is also some confusion over the philosophical implications of background independence, stemming in part from the definitional problems. In this paper I attempt to make some headway on both issues. In each case I argue that a pro…Read more
  •  65
    Just one damn thing after another Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9485-1 Authors Dean Rickles, Unit for History and Philosophy of Science, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796
  •  62
    In their modern classic ``What Price Substantivalism? The Hole Story'' Earman and Norton argued that substantivalism about spacetime points implies that general relativity is indeterministic and, for that reason, must be rejected as a candidate ontology for the theory. More recently, Earman has cottoned on to a related argument (in fact, related to a \emph{response} to the hole argument) that arises in the context of canonical general relativity, according to which the enforcing of determinism a…Read more
  •  54
    "Introducing the reader to the very latest developments in the philosophical foundations of physics, this book covers advanced material at a level suitable for ...
  •  53
    Public health
    In Fred Gifford (ed.), Philosophy of Medicine, Elsevier. 2010.
    Public health involves the application of a wide variety of scientific and non-scientific disciplines to the very practical problems of improving population health and preventing disease. Public health has received surprisingly little attention from philosophers of science. In this chapter we consider some neglected but important philosophical aspects of the science of public health.
  •  48
    Dual theories: ‘Same but different’ or ‘different but same’?
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 59 62-67. 2017.
    I argue that, under the glitz, dual theories are examples of theoretically equivalent descriptions of the same underlying physical content: I distinguish them from cases of genuine underdetermination on the grounds that there is no real incompatibility involved between the descriptions. The incompatibility is at the level of unphysical structure. I argue that dual pairs are in fact very strongly analogous to gauge- related solutions even for dual pairs that look the most radically distinct, such…Read more
  •  48
    Reviews (review)
    Philosophical Psychology 22 (1). 2009.
  •  45
    Econophysics for philosophers
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (4): 948-978. 2007.
  •  39
    Supervenience and determination
    Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2006.
  •  29
    Richard Dawid string theory and the scientific method (review)
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (3): 925-929. 2016.
  •  21
    In this chapter I consider what recent work on background independent physics can do for structuralism, and what structuralism can do for background independent physics. I focus on the problems of time and observables in gravitational physics. The ‘frozen’ character of the observables of general relativity is usually considered to constitute a serious problem for the theory. I argue that by invoking correlations between physical quantities we can provide a natural explanation of the appear- ance…Read more