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Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology

Joseph Berkovitz

  • Joseph Berkovitz Philosophy of Physics and Social Sciences

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    VC 311
    416-978-3224

Research Interests

My main research interests are in the philosophy of science, especially the philosophy of physics, philosophy of probability and philosophy of economics. In my work, I have used philosophical analyses of causation and probability in order to clarify a variety of issues in science, epistemology and metaphysics. In the philosophy of physics, I have studied the curious nature of causality and probability in the quantum realm and randomness and chaos in the classical realm. In my other research, I have considered questions concerning the philosophical foundations of causal inference, probability and decision theory.

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Teaching interests

I have taught undergraduate and graduate courses in epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of science, philosophy of physics, philosophy of economics and political philosophy, and supervised MSc theses in the philosophy of economics and political philosophy and PhD theses in the philosophy of economics, philosophy of physics and philosophy of science.

Selected publications

2011 (in press): “The World According to de Finetti: a new interpretation of de Finetti’s probability theory and its application to quantum mechanics”, in Y. Ben Menachem and M. Hemmo (eds.), Probability in Physics, Springer, The Frontiers Collection.

2011: Review article on the “Ergodic Hierarchy of Randomness”, The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy subject to minor revisions (co- authored with Roman Frigg and Fred Kronz). http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ergodic-hierarchy/

2008: “On Predictions in Retro-causal Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics”, Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics (an issue on Time-Symmetric Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics), 709-735.

2007: “Action at a distance in quantum mechanics”, The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qm-action-distance/

2006: “The ergodic hierarchy, decay of correlations, and Hamiltonian chaos”, Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 37, 661-991. (co-authored with Roman Frigg and Fred Kronz)

2006: “A Modal Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics in Terms of Relational Properties” (co-authored with Meir Hemmo), in W. Demopoulos and I. Pitowsky (eds.), Physical Theory and Its Interpretation: Essays in Honor of Jeffrey Bub, Western Ontario Series in Philosophy of Science, Springer, pp. 1-28.

2002: “On Causal Inference in Determinism and Indeterminism”, in H. Atmanspacher and R. Bishop (eds.), Between Chance and Choice: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Determinism, Imprint Academic, pp. 237-278.

2001: “On Chance in Causal Loops”, Mind 110, 1-23.

Supervisions (at IHPST)

Hakob Barseghyan, (Supervisory committee), “A Theory of Scientific Change,” conferred November 2012.

Christopher Belanger, (Supervisor), “A Philosophical Examination of the Foundations of Chaos Theory,” in progress.

Alexander Koo, (Supervisory committee), “Mathematical Explanation in Science: The Role of Mathematics and Realism,” in progress.

Greg Lusk, (Supervisory committee), “Computational Measurement: How Computer Simulations Produce New Empirical Knowledge,” in progress.

Boaz Miller, (Supervisory committee), “A Social Theory of Knowledge,” conferred March 2011.

Bruce Petrie, (Supervisory committee), “The Roots of Transcendental Numbers: 1700-1900,” in progress.

Isaac Record, (Supervisory committee), “Knowing Instruments: Design, Reliability, and Scientific Practice,” conferred March 2012.

Michael Stuart, (Supervisory committee), “ Constraints on the Function and Identity of Thought Experiments,” in progress.

Michael Thicke, (Supervisor), “The Use of Economics in the Philosophy of Science,” in progress.