Feminist, Social, and Formal Epistemology Withholding KnowledgeIf scientists are purely motivated by the truth of their findings, are they incentivized to share their evidence with each other? I use computer simulations of two paradigmatic models of scientific inquiry to argue that there are distinct epistemic advantages in unilaterally withholding evidence from the outside, even compared to a mutually sharing community in many cases. I further analyze the sharing and withholding dynamics from a game theoretic perspective by constructing epistemic games from simulation results. Manuscript Draft Better than Best: Epistemic Landscapes and Diversity of Practice in ScienceWhen solving a complex problem in a group, should group members always choose the best available solution that they are aware of? In this paper, I build simulation models to show that, perhaps surprisingly, a group of agents who individually randomly follow a better available solution than their own can end up outperforming a group of agents who individually always follow the best available solution. This result has implications for the feminist philosophy of science and social epistemology.Manuscript Draft; PhilSci Archive Epistemic Advantage on the Margin: A Network Standpoint EpistemologyPhilosophy and Phenomenological Research, 2022 (Early View). http://doi.org/10.1111/phpr.12895 I use network models to simulate social learning situations in which the dominant group ignores or devalues testimony from the marginalized group. I find that the marginalized group ends up with several epistemic advantages due to testimonial ignoration and devaluation. The results provide one possible explanation for a key claim of standpoint epistemology, the inversion thesis, by casting it as a consequence of another key claim of the theory, the unidirectional failure of testimonial reciprocity. Moreover, the results complicate the understanding and application of previously discovered network epistemology effects, notably the Zollman effect. Penultimate Draft; PhilPapers; PhilSci Archive; Publisher Link (Open Access); Poster Simulation Codes: Base Model, Variation 1, Variation 2 (all in Python 2.7) How Should We Promote Transient Diversity in Science? (with Cailin O'Connor)Synthese, 2023 (Online First). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-023-04037-1Diversity of practice is widely recognized as crucial to scientific progress. If all scientists perform the same tests in their research, they might miss important insights that other tests would yield. If all scientists adhere to the same theories, they might fail to explore other options which, in turn, might be superior. But the mechanisms that lead to this sort of diversity can also generate epistemic harms when scientific communities fail to reach swift consensus on successful theories. In this paper, we draw on extant literature using network models to investigate diversity in science. We evaluate different mechanisms from the modeling literature that can promote transient diversity of practice, keeping in mind ethical and practical constraints posed by real epistemic communities. We ask: what are the best ways to promote the right amount of diversity of practice in such communities? Penultimate Draft; MetaArXiv; PhilSci Archive The Cultural Evolution of Science (with Cailin O'Connor and Paul E. Smaldino)Forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook of Cultural Evolution, Oxford University Press. In this chapter, we offer a brief review of formal models in which science is treated as a cultural evolutionary system. We divide the models we review into three categories. We first consider “selective” models in which scientific practices are transmitted preferentially by successful individuals. We then consider models that focus on the dynamics of scientific beliefs rather than on the methods used to produce them. Third, we look at models tracking how social identity can impact the norms and structures of science. We conclude with a discussion of the role of cultural evolutionary models in our understanding of science. Throughout, we connect our discussion to empirical research on the workings of science. MetaArXiv |
Philosophy of Physics Between a Stone and a Hausdorff Space (with James Owen Weatherall)We consider the duality between General Relativity and the theory of Einstein algebras, in the extended setting where one permits non-Hausdorff manifolds. We show that the duality breaks down, and then go on to discuss a sense in which general relativity, formulated using non-Hausdorff manifolds, exhibits excess structure when compared to Einstein algebras. We discuss how these results bear on a class of algebraically-motivated deflationist views about spacetime ontology. We conclude with a conjecture concerning non-Hausdorff spacetimes with no bifurcating curves. PhilSci Archive; arXiv Explaining Universality: Infinite Limit Systems in the Renormalization Group Method Synthese, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-021-03448-2Winner of the Hanneke Janssen Memorial Prize, 2021;Winner of the Justine Lambert Prize, 2022.I analyze the role of infinite idealizations used in the renormalization group (RG hereafter) method in explaining universality across microscopically different physical systems in critical phenomena. I argue that despite the reference to infinite limit systems such as systems with infinite correlation lengths during the RG process, the key to explaining universality in critical phenomena need not involve infinite limit systems. I develop my argument by introducing what I regard as the explanatorily relevant property in RG explanations: linearization* property; I then motivate and prove a proposition about the linearization* property in support of my view. As a result, infinite limit systems in RG explanations are dispensable. Penultimate Draft; PhilSci Archive; Publisher Link (Free to Read) The Next Generation Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration: History, Philosophy, and Culture (With 24 Interdisciplinary Co-authors)Galaxies, 2023This white paper outlines the plans of the History Philosophy Culture Working Group of the Next Generation Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration. Publisher Link (Open Access) Mathematical AnalysisA Bohr Mollerup Theorem for Interpolating the Triangular Numbers (with Stephen Abbott) Journal of Convex Analysis, 2018.The Bohr-Mollerup Theorem (1922) provides an elegant criterion under which the gamma function is the unique function interpolating n!. We prove an analogous uniqueness theorem for interpolating the triangular numbers that, like the original, is grounded in the theory of convex functions. We then explore parallels with the class of quasi-gamma functions defined in a recent paper by Bermúdez, Martinón and Sadarangani (2014). |

**Works-in-Progress**

I have a number of works-in-progress at various stages, many of which are collaborative. The topics I'm working on include:

- structurally explaining the credit gap between mainstream and marginalized research topics (with Liam Kofi Bright);
- a book project on the spacetime structures of Newtonian physics, special relativity, and electromagnetism using the framework of affine geometry (with James Owen Weatherall);
- signal propagation direction as determined by partial differential equations of physical theories versus by the metric light cone, and its relationship to physical "energy" (with James Owen Weatherall).

I'm happy to discuss my works-in-progress further via email.