Here, I list papers that have not been published – so comments or feedback are greatly appreciated! All items listed here are subject to change; please do not quote or cite these papers without permission.
There has recently been debate in the literature over whether the metaphysical doctrine popularly known as Humean supervenience can be reconciled—in whole or in part—with certain empirical facts about quantum entanglement. In this paper, I undertake a critical analysis of Humean efforts to effect such a reconciliation.
This essay is about how the notion of “structure” in ontic structuralism might be made precise. More specifically, my aim is to make precise the idea that the structure of the world is (somehow) given by the relations inhering in the world, in such a way that the relations are ontologically prior to their relata. The central claim is the following: one can do so by giving due attention to the relationships that hold between those relations, by making use of certain notions from algebraic logic.
On gravitational energy in Newtonian theories (with James Owen Weatherall)
There are well-known problems associated with the idea of (local) gravitational energy in general relativity. We offer a new perspective on those problems by comparison with Newtonian gravitation, and particularly geometrized Newtonian gravitation (i.e., Newton-Cartan theory). We show that there is a natural candidate for the energy density of a Newtonian gravitational field. But we observe that this quantity is gauge dependent, and that it cannot be defined in the geometrized (gauge-free) theory without introducing further structure. We then address a potential response by showing that there is an analogue to the Weyl tensor in geometrized Newtonian gravitation.
A categorical perspective on symmetry and equivalence (with Benjamin Eva)
In recent years, a number of authors have employed the resources of category theory to shed new light on the notion of ‘theoretical equivalence’. Here, we connect this work to the debate concerning the interpretational significance of symmetries in physics. Specifically, we put forward a novel criterion to be satisfied by any prospective ‘category of models’ of a scientific theory. This criterion is motivated primarily by the idea that the semantic representation of a theory should not include any redundant structure, and that redundant structure can be identified by representing the symmetries of a theory by auto-equivalences on the category of models of that theory.