Arthur Fine

News About Ongoing Projects and
Presentations

Einstein. I continue to study the philosophical concerns that animated Einstein, particularly concerns that were influenced by his contributions to and reservations over the quantum theory. That includes considering whether, and in what sense, there is a lasting contribution to philosophy of science that is identifiably Einstein’s. A Frontiers in Science lecture at Ohio University (September, 2014) What was Einstein thinking? discussed Einstein's concerns over the quantum theory and his ideas for going beyond it.

Interpreting the Quantum. Studies on current options for reinterpreting elementary quantum theory. One line of study (represented in No-go theorems and the “reality” of the wave function, May 2014, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), examines random variables and the probabilist frameworks used in realist versions of the classical no-go theorems. Another (Explanation and scientific progress, May 2015, Williams College) approaches quantum entanglement by examining the concept of what "requires" explanation in science. In collaboration with Max Schlosshauer, a third line of study examines recent theorems targeting an epistemic-realist view of the quantum state. We also prove a general no-go theorem concerning how independent quantum systems compose (Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 260404; 2012) and Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, 070407; 2014). A piece with J.D. Malley simplifies the basis for the Bell-Kochen-Specker theorem (Phys. Lett. A, 378, 2611; 2014). These studies show how relying on classical intuition in modeling or interpreting quantum theory can mislead, and produce conflict with the geometry of the state space.

Science and Philosophical Isms continues the work of NOA as an historically grounded and pragmatic attitude to science that highlights the shortcomings of global philosophical positions, like realism. Poincaré and structural realism (for the centenary celebration at the Henri-Poincaré Institute in Paris, November 2012) tracks a confusion in the historical literature concerning Poincaré, and locates problems with contemporary versions of structural realism. Instrumentalism, revisited (May 2015, Williams College) contrasts the tepid and narrow instrumentalism of recent schoolbook philosophy with the robust and expansive instrumentalism of John Dewey. A presentation on Constructivism (May 2011, Stanford University) and a study of relativism and foundationalism round out this cycle.