Faculty Research and Publications
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- ItemPeaceful coexistence or armed truce?: quantum nonlocality and the spacetime view of the world(University of Toronto, 1991) Peacock, Kent A.This thesis is concerned with a critical examination of the notion of “peaceful coexistence” between quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity. This phrase, coined by Abner Shimony, is meant to suggest that quantum mechanics does not predict any observable conﬂict with the relativistic picture of causation, even though quantum mechanics, a fundamentally nonlocal theory, does clearly violate a condition called “outcome independence” which would seem to be implicit in any local realistic theory. The main justiﬁcation that Shimony and others have cited for this view is the NoSignalling Theorem, the claim that quantum nonlocality cannot be exploited to violate the relativistic picture of causation by sending controllable signals outside the light cone. (This would be a violation of what Shimony and Jarrett have called “parameter independence”.) I examine the various proofs that have been given of this theorem, and show that they are essentially circular in the sense that they either incorporate such strongassumptionsaboutthelocalizabilityorcommutativityofobservablesastorender them incapable of dealing with the very cases they should be best equipped to treat, or else simply presume some condition equivalent to relativistic causality. Quantum mechanics has therefore not been shown to provide a categorical prohibition against violations of relativity; the question of peaceful coexistence remains open. I argue that this circumstance should not be viewed as surprising since relativity, being a classical theory, should be expected to be only an approximation. In conclusion I sketch some requisites for a genuinely quantal theory of spacetime.
- ItemComment on "Tests of signal locality and Einstein-Bell locality for multiparticle systems"(The American Physical Society, 1992) Peacock, Kent[No abstract available]
- ItemCartesian dreams : a play in two acts(Edmonton : Phi-Psi Publishers, 2000, 2000) O'Connell, Sean
- ItemPlato's retreat : a play in two acts(Edmonton : Phi-Psi Publishers, c2002, 2002) O'Connell, Sean
- ItemAlberta in the anthropocene(2017) Peacock, Kent[No abstract available]
- ItemDoes rhetoric have a place in Wolhrapp's theory of argument?(University of Windsor, 2017) Stevens, KatharinaThis paper aims to determine whether rhetoric has a place in Wohlrapp's theory of argumentation. Wohlrapp's own attitude towards rhetoric is ambiguous. There are passages in his book where he grants that rhetoric might have a role to play when it comes to the subjective side of argumentation. Overall, however, he views rhetoric with deep suspicion. I argue that in spite of Wohlrapp's negative attitude, his theory of argumentation would benefit from integrating a theory of rhetoric. I take Wohlrapp's concepts of frame and insight as a starting point to make my case.
- ItemTrump, snakes, and the power of fables(University of Windsor, 2018) Stevens, KatharinaAt a recent rally, Donald Trump resumed a habit he had developed during his election-rallies and read out the lyrics to a song. It tells the Aesopian fable of The Farmer and the Snake: A half frozen snake is taken in by a kind-hearted person but bites them the moment it is revived. Trump tells the fable to make a point about Islamic immigrants and undocumented immigrants from Southern and Central America: He claims the immigrants will cause problems and much stricter immigration-policies are needed. I assume that Trump treats the fable as an argumentative device for supporting his stance on immigration. He uses it as a source-analogue both for the conclusion that immigrants will cause problems and for changing the frame in which immigrants and those willing to let them enter are seen. This gives me opportunity to examine the effect fables have as argumentative devices. Fables are a popular and effective choice for political argumentation. They are slimmed down, semi-abstract narratives, well suited for directing the audience's attention to a few properties of an otherwise complex situation. However, this also makes it easy to use them for manipulating an audience into oversimplifying complex contexts and stereotyping human beings.
- ItemA different kind of rigor: what climate scientists can learn from emergency room doctors(Taylor & Francis, 2018) Peacock, Kent A.James Hansen and others have argued that climate scientists are often reluctant to speak out about extreme outcomes of anthropogenic carbonization. According to Hansen, such reticence lessens the chance of effective responses to these threats. With the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) as a case study, reasons for scientific reticence are reviewed. The challenges faced by scientists in finding the right balance between reticence and speaking out are both ethical and methodological. Scientists need a framework within which to find this balance. Such a framework can be found in the long-established practices of professional ethics.