• Een hoofdstedelijk dwaallicht
    Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte 108 (4): 515-519. 2016.
  •  6
    The Influence of Quantum Physics on Philosophy
    Foundations of Science 1-12. forthcoming.
    We ponder the question whether quantum physics has had any influence on philosophy, and if not, whether it ought to have had any. Answers to these questions are provided, and they turn out to depend on which branch of the tree of philosophy we sweep, sway and swing, and even which twig of the branch we touch when we sweep, sway and swing.
  •  9
    The Case Against Factorism: On the Labels of $$otimes$$ ⊗ -Factor Hilbert-Spaces of Similar Particles in Quantum Mechanics
    with Gijs Leegwater
    Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 1-16. forthcoming.
    We discuss the case against Factorism, which is the standard assumption in quantum mechanics that the labels of the \-factor Hilbert-spaces in direct-product Hilbert-spaces of composite physical systems of similar particles refer to particles, either directly or descriptively. We distinguish different versions of Factorism and argue for their truth or falsehood. In particular, by introducing the concepts of snapshot Hilbert-space and Schrödinger-movie, we demonstrate that there are Hilbert-space…Read more
  •  14
    Het cognibolistische Keijzerrijk
    Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte 108 (2): 183-187. 2016.
  •  194
    On Witness-Discernibility of Elementary Particles
    with Oystein Linnebo
    Erkenntnis 78 (5): 1133-1142. 2013.
    In the context of discussions about the nature of ‘identical particles’ and the status of Leibniz’s Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles in Quantum Mechanics, a novel kind of physical discernibility has recently been proposed, which we call witness-discernibility. We inquire into how witness-discernibility relates to known kinds of discernibility. Our conclusion will be that for a wide variety of cases, including the intended quantum-mechanical ones, witness-discernibility collapses exten…Read more
  •  45
    The Special Composition Question asks under what conditions a plurality of objects form another, composite object. We propose a condition grounded in our scientific knowledge of physical reality, the essence of which is that objects form a composite object when and only when they are in a bound state – whence our Bound State Proposal. We provide a variety of reasons in favour of a mereological theory that accommodates our Proposal. We consider but reject another proposal, which is quantum-physic…Read more
  •  110
    In Defence of Constructive Empiricism: Maxwell’s Master Argument and Aberrant Theories
    Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 39 (1): 131-156. 2008.
    Over the past years, in books and journals , N. Maxwell launched a ferocious attack on B. C. van Fraassen's view of science called Constructive Empiricism . This attack has been totally ignored. Must we conclude from this silence that no defence is possible and that a fortiori Maxwell has buried CE once and for all? Or is the attack too obviously flawed as not to merit exposure? A careful dissection of Maxwell's reasoning will make it clear that neither is the case. This dissection includes an a…Read more
  •  81
    On the basis of the Suppes–Sneed structuralview of scientific theories, we take a freshlook at the concept of refutability,which was famously proposed by K.R. Popper in 1934 as a criterion for the demarcation of scientific theories from non-scientific ones, e.g., pseudo-scientificand metaphysical theories. By way of an introduction we argue that a clash between Popper and his critics on whether scientific theories are, in fact, refutablecan be partly explained by the fact Popper and his criticsa…Read more
  •  10
    Sets, classes, and categories (review)
    Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 9 (1): 43-43. 2001.
    Critique of set-theory as a founding theory of category-theory. Proposal of a theory of sets and classes as an adequate founding theory of mathematics and by implication of category-theory. This theory is a slight extension of Ackermann's theory of 1956.
  •  17
    Reflections on the revolution at Stanford
    Synthese 183 (1): 87--114. 2011.
    We inquire into the question whether the Aristotelean or classical \emph{ideal} of science has been realised by the Model Revolution, initiated at Stanford University during the 1950ies and spread all around the world of philosophy of science --- \emph{salute} P.\ Suppes. The guiding principle of the Model Revolution is: \emph{a scientific theory is a set of structures in the domain of discourse of axiomatic set-theory}, characterised by a set-theoretical predicate. We expound some critical refl…Read more
  •  124
    Inconsistency in classical electrodynamics?
    Philosophy of Science 74 (2): 253-277. 2007.
    In a recent issue of this journal, M. Frisch claims to have proven that classical electrodynamics is an inconsistent physical theory. We argue that he has applied classical electrodynamics inconsistently. Frisch also claims that all other classical theories of electromagnetic phenomena, when consistent and in some sense an approximation of classical electrodynamics, are haunted by “serious conceptual problems” that defy resolution. We argue that this claim is based on a partisan if not misleadin…Read more
  •  21
    De denkbewegingen van Harry Mulisch
    Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte 98 33-56. 2006.
  •  160
    Discerning Fermions
    with Simon Saunders
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (3). 2008.
    We demonstrate that the quantum-mechanical description of composite physical systems of an arbitrary number of similar fermions in all their admissible states, mixed or pure, for all finite-dimensional Hilbert spaces, is not in conflict with Leibniz's Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles (PII). We discern the fermions by means of physically meaningful, permutation-invariant categorical relations, i.e. relations independent of the quantum-mechanical probabilities. If, indeed, probabilistic…Read more
  •  180
    Intentionality Versus Constructive Empiricism
    with F. A. I. Buekens
    Erkenntnis 76 (1): 91-100. 2012.
    By focussing on the intentional character of observation in science, we argue that Constructive Empiricism—B.C. van Fraassen’s much debated and explored view of science—is inconsistent. We then argue there are at least two ways out of our Inconsistency Argument, one of which is more easily to square with Constructive Empiricism than the other
  •  202
    The deep Black sea: Observability and modality afloat
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (1): 61-99. 2005.
    In the spirit of B. C. van Fraassen's view of science called Constructive Empiricism, we propose a scientific criterion to decide whether a concrete object is observable, as well as a coextensive scientific-philosophical definition of observability, and we sketch a rigorous account of modal language occurring in science. We claim that our account of observability solves three problems to which current accounts of observability, notably van Fraassen's own accounts, give rise. We further claim tha…Read more
  •  60
    In his 2009 PSA Recent Ph.D. Award winning contribution to the bi-annual PSA Conference at Pittsburgh in 2008, C. Wu ̈thrich mounted an argument against struc- turalism about space-time in the context of the General Theory of Relativity, to the effect that structuralists cannot discern space-time points. An “abysmal embarrass- ment” for the structuralist, Wu ̈thrich judged. Wu ̈thrich’s characterisation of space-time structuralism is however incorrect. We demonstrate how, on the basis of a corre…Read more
  •  28
    The quest for finding the right interpretation of Quantum Mechanics is as old as QM and still has not ended, and may never end. The question what an interpretation of QM is has hardly ever been raised explicitly, let alone answered. We raise it and answer it. Then the quest for the right interpretation can continue self-consciously, for we then know exactly what we are after. We present a list of minimal requirements that something has to meet in order to qualify as an interpretation of QM. We a…Read more
  •  6
    The slaying of the iMongers
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 48 (1): 52-55. 2014.
  •  5
    The equivalence myth of quantum mechanics —Part I
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 28 (1): 35-61. 1995.
  •  97
    Is Standard Quantum Mechanics Technologically Inadequate?
    with M. P. Seevinck
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (3): 595-604. 2007.
    In a recent issue of this journal, P.E. Vermaas ([2005]) claims to have demonstrated that standard quantum mechanics is technologically inadequate in that it violates the 'technical functions condition'. We argue that this claim is false because based on a 'narrow' interpretation of this technical functions condition that Vermaas can only accept on pain of contradiction. We also argue that if, in order to avoid this contradiction, the technical functions condition is interpreted 'widely' rather …Read more
  •  137
    Discerning elementary particles
    with M. P. Seevinck
    Philosophy of Science 76 (2): 179-200. 2009.
    We maximally extend the quantum‐mechanical results of Muller and Saunders ( 2008 ) establishing the ‘weak discernibility’ of an arbitrary number of similar fermions in finite‐dimensional Hilbert spaces. This confutes the currently dominant view that ( A ) the quantum‐mechanical description of similar particles conflicts with Leibniz’s Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles (PII); and that ( B ) the only way to save PII is by adopting some heavy metaphysical notion such as Scotusian haecceit…Read more
  •  33
    Philosophy of Science 71 (4): 635-. 2004.
  •  27
  •  118
    The equivalence myth of quantum mechanics —Part I
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 28 (1): 35-61. 1997.
    The author endeavours to show two things: first, that Schrödingers (and Eckarts) demonstration in March (September) 1926 of the equivalence of matrix mechanics, as created by Heisenberg, Born, Jordan and Dirac in 1925, and wave mechanics, as created by Schrödinger in 1926, is not foolproof; and second, that it could not have been foolproof, because at the time matrix mechanics and wave mechanics were neither mathematically nor empirically equivalent. That they were is the Equivalence Myth. In or…Read more
  •  197
    How to Talk about Unobservables
    with F. A. Muller and B. C. van Fraassen
    Analysis 68 (3). 2008.
    No Abstract