Christopher Weaver: In Praise of Clausius Entropy: Reassessing the Foundations of Boltzmannian Statistical Mechanics

Christopher Weaver (University of Illinois)
4:30-6:30pm Wednesday Nov 13; NYU Philosophy Department (5 Washington Place, New York, NY), room 202.

Title: In Praise of Clausius Entropy: Reassessing the Foundations of Boltzmannian Statistical Mechanics

Abstract: I will argue, pace a great many of my contemporaries, that there’s something right about Boltzmann’s attempt to ground the 2nd law of thermodynamics in deterministic time-reversal invariant classical dynamics, and that in order to appreciate what’s right about (what was at least at one time) Boltzmann’s explanatory project one has to fully apprehend the nature of (a) microphysical causal structure, (b) time-reversal invariance, and (c) the relationship between Boltzmann entropy and the work of Rudolf Clausius.

There will be dinner after the talk. If you are interested, please send an email with “Dinner” in the heading to nyphilsci@gmail.com (please note that all are welcome, but only the speaker’s dinner will be covered.) If you have any other questions, please email denise.dykstra@rutgers.edu.

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Rutgers Conference on the Philosophy of Probability

On October 24-26, 2019, the Rutgers Philosophy Department will be holding a conference on the Philosophy of Probability. All are welcome to attend!

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Rutgers Conference on Philosophy of Probability
Location: Rutgers Philosophy Department; 106 Somerset St, 5th floor; New Brunswick, NJ
Oct 24 – 26, 2019

Conference Website: https://sites.rutgers.edu/laws-and-chance-project/probability-conference/

Invited Speakers: Ned Hall (Harvard); Jenann Ismael (Columbia); Katie Elliott (UCLA); Christopher Meacham (UMass Amherst); Carl Hoefer (Barcelona); Wayne Myrvold (Western Ontario); Richard Pettigrew (Bristol); Jack Spencer (MIT); Valia Allori (NIU); David Albert (Columbia)

Organizers: Barry Loewer (Rutgers); Denise Dykstra (Rutgers)

Schedule Overview (a detailed schedule, including talk titles and abstracts, is available here)

Thursday, Oct 24

  • 3:00 – 6:00 Topic: Metaphysics of Objective Probability (Ned Hall; Jenann Ismael)
  • 7:00 Conference Dinner (RSVP required)

Friday, Oct 25

  • 9:00 – 9:50 Coffee & Pastries
  • 9:50 – 10:00 Welcome & Introductory Remarks (Barry Loewer)
  • 10:00 – 1:00 Topic: Chance (Katie Elliott; Christopher Meacham)
  • 1:00 – 2:30 Break for lunch
  • 2:30 – 5:30 Topic: Probabilities in the Special Sciences (Carl Hoefer; Wayne Myrvold)
  • 6:30 Dinner (RSVP required)

Saturday, Oct 26

  • 9:00 – 10:00 Coffee & Pastries
  • 10:00 – 1:00 Topic: Chance-Credence Principles (Richard Pettigrew; Jack Spencer)
  • 1:00 – 2:30 Break for lunch
  • 2:30 – 5:30 Topic: Typicality and the Statistical Postulate (Valia Allori; David Albert)

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If you have any questions, please email denise.dykstra@rutgers.edu.

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CANCELLATION: Armin Schulz: Equilibrium Modeling in Economics: An Evolutionary Defense

This talk has been cancelled. We are working on rescheduling for a later date.

Armin Schulz (University of Kansas)
4:30-6:30pm Wednesday Oct 9; NYU Philosophy Department (5 Washington Place, New York, NY), room 202.


Title: Equilibrium Modeling in Economics: An Evolutionary Defense

Abstract: A traditional evolutionary economic criticism of mainstream economic analysis is that the latter is too strongly focused on equilibrium models and thus fails to do justice to the complex and dynamic nature of real economic systems. I here assess the plausibility of this criticism further. More specifically, I here seek to both determine whether it is true that the heavy reliance on equilibrium models in economics is problematic, and whether and how an appeal to evolutionary biology can prove useful towards answering this question (positively or negatively). To achieve this, I consider the discussion in evolutionary ecology surrounding the extent to which ecosystems can be expected to be stable, and analyze whether, when, and how insights from that discussion can be translated into the economic case. The upshot of this analysis will be the suggestion—countering the traditional evolutionary economic claims—that, in many cases, economic systems will be well analyzable with equilibrium models. In turn, this is due to the fact that, like ecosystems, economic systems plausibly often are “sorted” systems. However, I also show that the ways in which ecosystems and economic systems are sorted systems is very different. For this reason, I further make clear that whatever usefulness the appeal to evolutionary biology has in this context, it is only heuristic in nature. In this way, the present discussion also makes clearer the nature of cross-disciplinary heuristic support more generally.

There will be dinner after the talk. If you are interested, please send an email with “Dinner” in the heading to nyphilsci@gmail.com (please note that all are welcome, but only the speaker’s dinner will be covered.) If you have any other questions, please email denise.dykstra@rutgers.edu.

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Jeremy Butterfield: On Reductionism and Functionalism about Space and Time

Jeremy Butterfield (Cambridge)
4:30-6:30pm Monday Sept 9; CUNY Graduate Center (365 5th Ave, NYC), room 5307.

Title: On Reductionism and Functionalism about Space and Time.

Abstract: Various programmes and results in the philosophy/foundations of spacetime theories illustrate themes from reductionism and functionalism in general philosophy of science. I will focus on some programmes and results about how the physics of matter contributes to determining, or even determines, or even explains, chrono-geometry. I hope to say something about most of the following examples: in the philosophical literature, Robb (1914), and Mundy (1983); and in the physics literature: Barbour and Bertotti (1982); Hojman, Kuchar and Teitelboim (1976); Dull, Schuller et al. (2012, 2018); and Gomes & Shyam (2016).

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Michela Massimi: Exploratory models, laws and modality

Michela Massimi (Edinburgh)
2:30-4:30pm Thursday April 18; CUNY Graduate Center (365 5th Ave, NYC), room 5307.

Title: Exploratory models, laws and modality.

Abstract: I analyse the exploratory function of two main modelling practices: targetless fictional models and hypothetical perspectival models. In both cases, I argue, modelers invite us to imagine or conceive something about the target system, which is either known to be non-existent (fictional models) or just hypothetical (in perspectival models). I clarify the kind of imagining or conceiving involved in each modelling practice, and I show how each—in its own right—delivers important modal knowledge. I illustrate these two kinds of exploratory models with Maxwell’s ether model and SUSY models at the LHC.

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Nina Emery: The Governing Conception of Laws

Nina Emery (Holyoke)

4:30-6:30pm Monday April 8; NYU, 194 Mercer, room 203.

Title: The Governing Conception of Laws

Abstract: In her paper, “The Non-Governing Conception of Laws,” Helen Beebee argues that it is not a conceptual truth that laws of nature govern their instances, and that this fact insulates Humeans about laws of nature from some of the most pressing objections against their view. I agree with the first claim, but not the second. For although it is not a conceptual truth that laws govern, the view that laws govern follows straightforwardly from an important, though under-appreciated, principle that constrains scientific theory choice, and the principles that constrain scientific theory choice ought to constrain theory choice in metaphysics as well. I then show how the specific understanding of governance that plays a role in this argument raises serious concerns for Humeans about laws of nature.

There will be dinner after the talk. If you are interested, please send an email with `Dinner’ in the heading to nyphilsci@gmail.com (please note that all are welcome, but only the speaker’s dinner will be covered). If you have any other questions, please email isaac.wilhelm@rutgers.edu.

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Upcoming MAPS Talks

Here is a list of the dates and times for the final three MAPS talks of this semester.

Note that the first two talks had to be scheduled for days other than Tuesday. And note that the second talk had to be scheduled for a time which is earlier than usual.

  1. Nina Emery (Holyoke), 4:30-6:30pm Monday April 8; NYU, 194 Mercer, room 203.\
  2. Michela Massimi (Edinburgh), 2:30-4:30pm Thursday April 18; CUNY Graduate Center (365 5th Ave, NYC), room 5307.
  3. Elizabeth Miller (Brown), 4:30-6:30pm Tuesday April 23; NYU, 60 Fifth Avenue, room 110.
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