New Philosophy Compass Issue, Sept 2011

The latest issue of Philosophy Compass is available on Wiley Online Library




Aesthetics & Philosophy of Art

Aesthetics of Opera (pages 575–584)
Paul Thom


Schelling’s Contemporary Resurgence: The Dawn after the Night When All Cows Were Black (pages 585–598)
Jason Wirth

Legal & Political

Emotions and the Criminal Law (pages 599–610)
Mihaela Mihai

Logic & Language

Generalized Quantifiers and Number Sense (pages 611–621)
Robin Clark

Negation, Denial, and Rejection (pages 622–629)
David Ripley

Naturalistic Philosophy

Empirical Arguments for Group Minds: A Critical Appraisal (pages 630–639)
Robert D. Rupert

Philosophy of Science

Introduction to the Philosophy of Statistical Mechanics: Can Probability Explain the Arrow of Time in the Second Law of Thermodynamics? (pages 640–651)
Orly Shenker and Meir Hemmo


Is there ANYTHING we can’t explain with thermodynamics?

String TheoryPhilosophers David Albert and Barry Loewer have long argued that thermodynamics (or, more broadly, statistical mechanics) can explain the direction of time, the regularities of the special sciences, our memories, and our ability to control the future and not the past.  As if this weren’t enough, a recent article in the New York Times reports that Dutch physicist Erik Verlinde thinks thermodynamics can explain gravity too!

According to his paper, if we accept the holographic principle (very roughly: that the spatial dimensions of the universe emerge from its boundary conditions) popular among string theorists, then the motions of bodies through that emergent space Continue reading “Is there ANYTHING we can’t explain with thermodynamics?”