Dissertation

In my dissertation, I investigate the contribution of mathematics to the content of a physical theory. I use both the history of quantum field theory and the contemporary practices of quantum field theorists to argue for a more flexible account of the content of scientific theories than is standard in philosophy of physics. I argue that much of the content of a theory lies in the mathematically unrigorous techniques of physicists which are still in a nascent stage and have not hardened into full rigor, and offer ways to interpret such techniques. An extended summary of my dissertation can be downloaded here.

The following papers form part of my dissertation:

"Coarse-Graining as a Route to Microscopic Physics: The Renormalization Group in Quantum Field Theory", forthcoming in Philosophy of Science. [Preprint]

"Interpretive strategies for deductively insecure theories: The case of early quantum electrodynamics", Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (4), 395-403. [Preprint]

Other Projects

Another ongoing project I have is an investigation of the relationship between time-independent and time-dependent treatments of quantum scattering. The idea is that the time-independent treatment is not merely an approximation to the time-dependent treatment, because the latter does not provide a "true evolution in time" story of scattering. Furthermore, the roles of what we normally take to be "laws" and "initial and boundary conditions" in these two treatments is complex and does not map on to the usual story of laws containing all nomic information and "initial and boundary conditions" containing only contingent information.

I also have strong interests in feminist philosophy. A project I am working on in this vein is investigating the relevance of Miranda Fricker's concept of hermeneutical injustice to the marginalization of certain disciplines in academia. My contention is that it is less relevant to the case of academic marginalization than some scholars think, and what some scholars have termed "wilful ignorance" is more applicable to cases of academic marginalization.