HPS 2626
Phil 2626
Topics in Recent Philosophy of Physics Fall 2013

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Topics and Readings

Maxwell's Demon, Entropy, Information

Some core papers

Leo Szilard (1929) "On the Decrease of Entropy in a Thermodynamic System by the Intervention of Intelligent Beings," Translation of Zeitschrift fur Physik 53: 840–856.

Landauer, R., 1961, “Irreversibility and heat generation in the computing process”, IBM Journal of Research and Development, 5: 183–191.

Bennett, C.H., 1982, “The thermodynamics of computation—a review”, International Journal of Theoretical Physics, 21(12): 905–940.

Background reading:
Wayne C. Myrvold, (2011) "Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics: A Maxwellian View."
Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 42, Issue 4, November 2011, pp 237–243.
[Preprint] http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/8638/

My Critique

John D. Norton, "All Shook Up: Fluctuations, Maxwell's Demon and the Thermodynamics of Computation," Prepared for the journal, Entropy.

John D. Norton, "Brownian Computation is Thermodynamically Irreversible."

Smoluchowski, Marian von (1912). “Experimentell nachweisbare, der üblichen Thermodynamik widersprechende Molekularphänomene,” Physikalische Zeitschrift, 13, pp.1069-1080.

More, including Powerpoints:
Rotman Institute of Philosophy Summer School Foundations of Statistical Mechanics
John D. Norton, "When a Good Theory Meets a Bad Idealization: The Failure of the Thermodynamics of Computation." Goodies.

Time in Quantum Theory

Jan Hilgevoord "Time in Quantum Mechanics: A History of Confusion,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 36 (2005), pp.29–60.

P. Busch, “The Time-Energy Uncertainty Relation,” http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0105049 Read 3.1-3.2 and 3.5 - 3.6.1.

Tom Pashby, "Time and Quantum Theory: A History and A Prospectus."

Determinism and Well-Posedness of Physical Theories

John D. Norton, "The Dome: An Unexpectedly Simple Failure of Determinism" Philosophy of Science, 75, No. 5, (2008). pp. 786-98

or the short version in
John D. Norton, “The Dome: A Simple Violation of Determinism in Newtonian Mechanics,” In Goodies.

Balazs Gyenis, " "Determinism, physical possibility, and laws of nature"," manuscript.

Cosmology: Evidence, Speculation and Underdetermination

General Background

Some nice introductory survey of standard cosmology, including inflation.

A unique survery, worth a full week:
G. F. R. Ellis, "On the Philosophy of Cosmology," Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 2013 (in proofs)

Chris Smeenk, “Philosophy of Cosmology,” Ch. 17 in R. Batterman, ed., Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Physics.

Observational Cosmology and Dark Matter/Energy

Andreas Albrecht et al. Report of the Dark Energy Task Force. 2006

M. Barnard, A. Abrahamse, A. Albrecht B. Bozek, M. Yashar "Exploring Parameter Constraints on Quintessential Dark Energy: The Albrecht-Skordis Model" arXiv:0712.2875, Phys. Rev. D 77, 103502 (2008)

M. Barnard, A. Abrahamse, A. Albrecht B. Bozek, M. Yashar "A measure of the impact of future dark energy experiments based on discriminating power among quintessence models" arXiv:0804.0413 Phys.Rev.D78:043528 (2008)

MOND and Dark Matter

Mordehai Milgrom, “MOND–a pedagogical review,” arXiv:astro-ph/0112069 v1

Peter Kosso, “Evidence of dark matter, and the interpretive role of general relativity,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 44, Issue 2, May 2013, pp 143–147.

Benoît Famaey and Stacy S. McGaugh, "Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND): Observational Phenomenology and Relativistic Extensions",  Living Reviews of Relativity 15,  (2012),  10.
Huge survey of the observational testing of MOND.

For background reading, an enormous survey of alternative theories of gravity:
T. Clifton et al., “Modified gravity and cosmology,” Physics Reports, 513, Issues 1–3, March 2012, Pages 1–189

Multiverse Cosmology

Max Tegmark, "The Multiverse Hierarchy" http://arxiv.org/pdf/0905.1283v1.pdf

Epistemic Access to Other Worlds? The Inductive Problem

Eric Hatleback, "Cosmological Induction: A Familiar Philosophical Foe."

Jeremy Butterfield, “Underdetermination in Cosmology,” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supp. Vol. LXXXVI

John D. Norton, "Observationally Indistinguishable Spacetimes: A Challenge for Any Inductivist." In G. Morgan, ed., Philosophy of Science Matters: The Philosophy of Peter Achinstein. Oxford University Press, 2011, pp. 164-176.

Probability Across Worlds

Gibbons, G. W.; Hawkings, S. W. and Stewart, J. M. 1987. “A Natural Measure on the Set of All Universes.” Nuclear Physics B281: 736-51.

Gibbons, G. W. and Turok, Neil. 2008) “Measure Problem in Cosmology,” Physical Review, D77, pp. 063516-1-12.

Hawking, S. W. and Page, Don N. 1988 “How Probable is Inflation?” Nuclear Physics B298: 789-809.

Tegmark, Max; Aguirre, Anthony; Rees, Martin J. and Wilczek, Frank. 2006. “Dimensionless Constants, Cosmology, and Other Dark Matters.” Physical Review D73: 023505-1-28.

Weinberg, Steven. 2000. “A Priori Probabilities of the Cosmological Constant.” Physical Review D61: 103505-1-4.

Yann Benetreau-Dupin, "Cosmic Surprise, Anthropic Reasoning, and Bayesian Analysis". Abstract at http://publish.uwo.ca/~ybenetre/Research_&_Publications_files/Cosmic_Surprise_Abstract_rev.pdf

John D. Norton, "Cosmic Confusions: Not Supporting versus Supporting Not-". Philosophy of Science. 77 (2010), pp. 501-23.

More Quantum Theory

Curie's Principle

Roberts, Bryan W. (2012) The simple failure of Curie's Principle. [Preprint] http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/9862/

Reality of the Quantum State

Matthew F. Pusey, Jonathan Barrett, Terry Rudolph, “On the reality of the quantum state,” http://arxiv.org/abs/1111.3328

Matt Leifer, “Can the Quantum State be Interpreted Statistically.” Blog at http://mattleifer.info/2011/11/20/can-the-quantum-state-be-interpreted-statistically/

Maximilian Schlosshauer and Arthur Fine, “Is the Pusey–Barrett–Rudolph Theorem Compatible with Quantum Nonseparability?” http://arxiv.org/abs/1306.5805

Quantum Information: Bayesianism and Quantum Theory

M. S. Leifer, R. W. Spekkens, “Formulating Quantum Theory as a Causally Neutral Theory of Bayesian Inference,” 2011 http://arxiv.org/abs/1107.5849
Treats quantum relations as analogous to probabilistic inference, but governed by a new quantum inductive inference.

Itamar Pitowsky, “Quantum mechanics as a theory of probability” in W. Demopolous, I. Pitowsky (Eds.), Physical theory and its interpretation, Springer, Dordrecht (2006), pp. 213–240

Christopher A. Fuchs, “QBism, the Perimeter of Quantum Bayesianism,” 2010 http://arxiv.org/abs/1003.5209

Armond Duwell, “Uncomfortable bedfellows: Objective quantum Bayesianism and the von Neumann–Lüders projection postulate,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 42, Issue 3, August 2011, Pages 167–175


What are we to make of the fact that we need to rotate a spinor by 4 pi to complete a spatial rotation of 2 pi.

Robert Weingard and Gerrit Smith, "Spin and space," Synthese, 50, Issue 2, pp 213-231.

Christian, Joy (2013) Macroscopic Observability of Spinorial Sign Changes under 2pi Rotations. http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/9810/

Statistical Physics

Jos Uffink, “Compendium of the foundations of classical statistical physics,” http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/2691/

Time Symmetry

See Time Symmetry: A Unified Approach.
A two-day international conference on the philosophy of time symmetry.
Centre for Time, University of Sydney, Quadrangle, Room S401, August 29-30, 2013

Reversibility, the Boltzmann Brain Problem, the Approach to Equilibrium

Craig Callender, “Reducing thermodynamics to statistical mechanics: The case of entropy,” Journal of Philosophy 96 (7):348-373 (1999). http://philosophyfaculty.ucsd.edu/faculty/ccallender/index_files/reduction.pdf

David Albert, Time and Chance. Chapters.

Frigg, Roman (2012) What is Statistical Mechanics? [Preprint] http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/9133/

Wallace, David (2012) The Arrow of Time in Physics. [Preprint] http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/9192/

North, Jill (2011) Time in Thermodynamics. [Published Article] http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/8947/

Nature of Probability

Myrvold, Wayne C. (2012) “Probabilities in Statistical Mechanics: What are they?” http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/9236/