About me

I am a PhD candidate in Logic and Philosophy of Science at the University of California, Irvine, supervised by Prof. James Owen Weatherall. I also hold an MSci in Physics and Philosophy from the University of Bristol, where I was supervised by Prof. James Ladyman and Dr. Karim Thebault.

My research is centered on the foundations and philosophy of physics. I am particularly interested in philosophical issues concerning the role that different pieces of structure in a physical theory play, and what implication this has for formulating and comparing theories. Currently, I am working on these topics in the context of the constrained Hamiltonian formalism, which provides the basis for a puzzle in the foundations of physics known as the “Problem of Time”. I also have an interest in several areas of formal and social epistemology.

The Non-Equivalence of Einstein and Lorentz

In this article, I give a counterexample to a claim made in (Norton (2008)) that empirically equivalent theories can often be regarded as theoretically equivalent by treating one as having surplus structure, thereby overcoming the problem of underdetermination of theory choice. The case I present is that of Lorentz’s ether theory and Einstein’s theory of special relativity. I argue that Norton’s suggestion that surplus structure is present in Lorentz’s theory in the form of the ether state of rest is based on a misunderstanding of the role that the ether plays in Lorentz’s theory, and that in general, consideration of the conceptual framework in which a theory is embedded is vital to understanding the relationship between different theories.

On Representational Redundancy, Surplus Structure, and the Hole argument

We address a recent proposal concerning ‘surplus structure’ due to Nguyen et al. [‘Why Surplus Structure is Not Superfluous.’ Br. J. Phi. Sci. Forthcoming.] We argue that the sense of ‘surplus structure’ captured by their formal criterion is importantly different from—and in a sense, opposite to—another sense of ‘surplus structure’ used by philosophers. We argue that minimizing structure in one sense is generally incompatible with minimizing structure in the other sense. We then show how these distinctions bear on Nguyen et al.’s arguments about Yang-Mills theory and on the hole argument.