•  3
    Equivalence and Duality in Electromagnetism
    Philosophy of Science 87 (5): 1172-1183. 2020.
    In this article I bring the recent philosophical literature on theoretical equivalence to bear on dualities in physics. Focusing on electromagnetic duality, which is a simple example of S-duality i...
  •  8
    Two dogmas of dynamicism
    Synthese 1-23. forthcoming.
    I critically discuss two dogmas of the “dynamical approach” to spacetime in general relativity, as advanced by Harvey Brown [Physical Relativity Oxford:Oxford University Press] and collaborators. The first dogma is that positing a “spacetime geometry” has no implications for the behavior of matter. The second dogma is that postulating the “Strong Equivalence Principle” suffices to ensure that matter is “adapted” to spacetime geometry. I conclude by discussing “spacetime functionalism”. The discu…Read more
  •  8
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 72 150-151. 2020.
  •  12
    Review of Craig Callender’s What Makes Time Special? (review)
    Philosophy of Science 87 (3): 536-544. 2020.
  •  28
    _ The Logic in Philosophy of Science _, by HalvorsonHans. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019. Pp. viii + 296.
  •  12
    Scientists are generally subject to social pressures, including pressures to conform with others in their communities, that affect achievement of their epistemic goals. Here we analyze a network epistemology model in which agents, all else being equal, prefer to take actions that conform with those of their neighbors. This preference for conformity interacts with the agents’ beliefs about which of two possible actions yields the better result. We find a range of possible outcomes, including stab…Read more
  •  15
    BellJohn L.* * _ Oppositions and Paradoxes: Philosophical Perplexities in Science and Mathematics _. Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 2016. ISBN: 978-1-55481302-5 ; 978-1-77048603-4. Pp. xiv + 202.
  •  22
    Part 2: Theoretical equivalence in physics
    Philosophy Compass 14 (5). 2019.
  •  41
    On Representational Redundancy, Surplus Structure, and the Hole Argument
    with Clara Bradley
    Foundations of Physics 50 (4): 270-293. 2020.
    We address a recent proposal concerning ‘surplus structure’ due to Nguyen et al.. We argue that the sense of ‘surplus structure’ captured by their formal criterion is importantly different from—and in a sense, opposite to—another sense of ‘surplus structure’ used by philosophers. We argue that minimizing structure in one sense is generally incompatible with minimizing structure in the other sense. We then show how these distinctions bear on Nguyen et al.’s arguments about Yang-Mills theory and o…Read more
  •  3
    The Misinformation Age
    Yale University Press. 2019.
  •  21
    General Relativity from A to B
    Humana Mente 4 (13). 2018.
  •  24
    Endogenous epistemic factionalization
    with Cailin O’Connor
    Synthese 1-22. forthcoming.
    Why do people who disagree about one subject tend to disagree about other subjects as well? In this paper, we introduce a model to explore this phenomenon of ‘epistemic factionization’. Agents attempt to discover the truth about multiple propositions by testing the world and sharing evidence gathered. But agents tend to mistrust evidence shared by those who do not hold similar beliefs. This mistrust leads to the endogenous emergence of factions of agents with multiple, highly correlated, polariz…Read more
  •  31
    Some Philosophical Prehistory of the (Earman-Norton) hole argument
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 70 79-87. 2020.
    The celu of the philosophical literature on the hole argument is the 1987 paper by Earman \& Norton ["What Price Space-time Substantivalism? The Hole Story" Br. J. Phil. Sci.]. This paper has a well-known back-story, concerning work by Stachel and Norton on Einstein's thinking in the years 1913-15. Less well-known is a connection between the hole argument and Earman's work on Leibniz in the 1970s and 1980s, which in turn can be traced to an argument first presented in 1975 by Howard Stein. Remar…Read more
  •  18
    In recent years philosophers of science have explored categorical equivalence as a promising criterion for when two theories are equivalent. On the one hand, philosophers have presented several examples of theories whose relationships seem to be clarified using these categorical methods. On the other hand, philosophers and logicians have studied the relationships, particularly in the first order case, between categorical equivalence and other notions of equivalence of theories, including definit…Read more
  •  31
    Why Be regular?, part I
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 65 122-132. 2019.
  •  13
    Why be regular? Part II
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 65 133-144. 2019.
  •  15
    A classic problem in general relativity, long studied by both physicists and philosophers of physics, concerns whether the geodesic principle may be derived from other principles of the theory, or must be posited independently. In a recent paper [Geroch & Weatherall, "The Motion of Small Bodies in Space-Time", Comm. Math. Phys. ], Bob Geroch and I have introduced a new approach to this problem, based on a notion we call "tracking". In the present paper, I situate the main results of that paper w…Read more
  •  53
    We study the Johansen–Ledoit–Sornette model of financial market crashes :219–255, 2000). On our view, the JLS model is a curious case from the perspective of the recent philosophy of science literature, as it is naturally construed as a “minimal model” in the sense of Batterman and Rice :349–376, 2014) that nonetheless provides a causal explanation of market crashes, in the sense of Woodward’s interventionist account of causation.
  •  40
    I review the philosophical literature on the question of when two physical theories are equivalent. This includes a discussion of empirical equivalence, which is often taken to be necessary, and sometimes taken to be sufficient, for theoretical equivalence; and "interpretational" equivalence, which is the idea that two theories are equivalent just in case they have the same interpretation. It also includes a discussion of several formal notions of equivalence that have been considered in the rec…Read more
  •  133
    Scientific polarization
    with Cailin O’Connor
    European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (3): 855-875. 2017.
    Contemporary societies are often “polarized”, in the sense that sub-groups within these societies hold stably opposing beliefs, even when there is a fact of the matter. Extant models of polarization do not capture the idea that some beliefs are true and others false. Here we present a model, based on the network epistemology framework of Bala and Goyal, 784–811 1998), in which polarization emerges even though agents gather evidence about their beliefs, and true belief yields a pay-off advantage.…Read more
  •  29
    Would two dimensions be world enough for spacetime?
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 63 100-113. 2018.
    We consider various curious features of general relativity, and relativistic field theory, in two spacetime dimensions. In particular, we discuss: the vanishing of the Einstein tensor; the failure of an initial-value formulation for vacuum spacetimes; the status of singularity theorems; the non-existence of a Newtonian limit; the status of the cosmological constant; and the character of matter fields, including perfect fluids and electromagnetic fields. We conclude with a discussion of what cons…Read more
  •  15
    I discuss several issues related to "classical" spacetime structure. I review Galilean, Newtonian, and Leibnizian spacetimes, and briefly describe more recent developments. The target audience is undergraduates and early graduate students in philosophy; the presentation avoids mathematical formalism as much as possible.
  •  9
    We consider the motion of small bodies in general relativity. The key result captures a sense in which such bodies follow timelike geodesics. This result clarifies the relationship between approaches that model such bodies as distributions supported on a curve, and those that employ smooth fields supported in small neighborhoods of a curve. This result also applies to "bodies" constructed from wave packets of Maxwell or Klein-Gordon fields. There follows a simple and precise formulation of the o…Read more
  •  16
    The Peculiar Logic of the Black-Scholes Model
    Philosophy of Science 85 (5): 1152-1163. 2018.
    The Black-Scholes model of options pricing establishes a theoretical relationship between the "fair" price of an option and other parameters characterizing the option and prevailing market conditions. Here I discuss a common application of the model with the following striking feature: the output of analysis apparently contradicts one of the core assumptions of the model on which the analysis is based. I will present several attitudes one might take towards this situation, and argue that it reve…Read more
  •  28
    Regarding the ‘Hole Argument’
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (2): 329-350. 2018.
    I argue that the hole argument is based on a misleading use of the mathematical formalism of general relativity. If one is attentive to mathematical practice, I will argue, the hole argument is blocked. _1._ Introduction _2._ A Warmup Exercise _3._ The Hole Argument _4._ An Argument from Classical Spacetime Theory _5._ The Hole Argument Revisited
  •  32
    We discuss some recent work by Tim Maudlin concerning Black Hole Information Loss. We argue, contra Maudlin, that there is a paradox, in the straightforward sense that there are propositions that appear true, but which are incompatible with one another. We discuss the significance of the paradox and Maudlin's response to it.
  •  18
    A brief comment on Maxwell[-Huygens] spacetime
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 63 34-38. 2018.
    I provide an alternative characterization of a "standard of rotation" in the context of classical spacetime structure that does not refer to any covariant derivative operator.
  •  19
    Conservation, inertia, and spacetime geometry
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 67 144-159. 2017.
    As Harvey Brown emphasizes in his book Physical Relativity, inertial motion in general relativity is best understood as a theorem, and not a postulate. Here I discuss the status of the "conservation condition", which states that the energy-momentum tensor associated with non-interacting matter is covariantly divergence-free, in connection with such theorems. I argue that the conservation condition is best understood as a consequence of the differential equations governing the evolution of matter…Read more
  •  11
    Relativistic causality
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 48 (2): 101. 2014.