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  1. Quantum States for Primitive Ontologists: A Case Study.Gordon Belot - 2012 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (1):67-83.
    Under so-called primitive ontology approaches, in fully describing the history of a quantum system, one thereby attributes interesting properties to regions of spacetime. Primitive ontology approaches, which include some varieties of Bohmian mechanics and spontaneous collapse theories, are interesting in part because they hold out the hope that it should not be too difficult to make a connection between models of quantum mechanics and descriptions of histories of ordinary macroscopic bodies. But such approaches are dualistic, positing a quantum state as (...)
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  • Fundamental Physical Ontologies and the Constraint of Empirical Coherence: A Defense of Wave Function Realism.Alyssa Ney - 2015 - Synthese 192 (10):3105-3124.
    This paper defends wave function realism against the charge that the view is empirically incoherent because our evidence for quantum theory involves facts about objects in three-dimensional space or space-time . It also criticizes previous attempts to defend wave function realism against this charge by claiming that the wave function is capable of grounding local beables as elements of a derivative ontology.
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  • Laws of Nature and the Reality of the Wave Function.Mauro Dorato - 2015 - Synthese 192 (10):3179-3201.
    In this paper I review three different positions on the wave function, namely: nomological realism, dispositionalism, and configuration space realism by regarding as essential their capacity to account for the world of our experience. I conclude that the first two positions are committed to regard the wave function as an abstract entity. The third position will be shown to be a merely speculative attempt to derive a primitive ontology from a reified mathematical space. Without entering any discussion about nominalism, I (...)
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  • Introduction: Space–Time and the Wave Function.Albert Solé & Carl Hoefer - 2015 - Synthese 192 (10):3055-3070.
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  • Space Emergence in Contemporary Physics: Why We Do Not Need Fundamentality, Layers of Reality and Emergence.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2018 - Disputatio 10 (49):71-95.
    ‘Space does not exist fundamentally: it emerges from a more fundamental non-spatial structure.’ This intriguing claim appears in various research programs in contemporary physics. Philosophers of physics tend to believe that this claim entails either that spacetime does not exist, or that it is derivatively real. In this article, I introduce and defend a third metaphysical interpretation of the claim: reductionism about space. I argue that, as a result, there is no need to subscribe to fundamentality, layers of reality and (...)
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  • Relative Locations.Andrew Bacon - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics.
    The fact that physical laws often admit certain kinds of space-time symmetries is often thought to be problematic for substantivalism --- the view that space-time is as real as the objects it contains. The most prominent alternative, relationism, avoids these problems but at the cost of giving abstract objects (rather than space-time points) a pivotal role in the fundamental metaphysics. This incurs related problems concerning the relation of the physical to the mathematical. In this paper I will present a version (...)
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  • Priority Monism Beyond Spacetime.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2018 - Metaphysica 19 (1):95-111.
    I will defend two claims. First, Schaffer's priority monism is in tension with many research programs in quantum gravity. Second, priority monism can be modified into a view more amenable to this physics. The first claim is grounded in the fact that promising approaches to quantum gravity such as loop quantum gravity or string theory deny the fundamental reality of spacetime. Since fundamental spacetime plays an important role in Schaffer's priority monism by being identified with the fundamental structure, namely the (...)
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  • Quantum Mechanics and the Plight of Physicalism.Fernando Birman - 2009 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 40 (2):207-225.
    The literature on physicalism often fails to elucidate, I think, what the word physical in physical ism precisely means. Philosophers speak at times of an ideal set of fundamental physical facts, or they stipulate that physical means non-mental , such that all fundamental physical facts are fundamental facts pertaining to the non-mental. In this article, I will probe physicalism in the very much tangible framework of quantum mechanics. Although this theory, unlike “ideal physics” or some “final theory of non-mentality”, is (...)
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  • Time's Arrow in a Quantum Universe: On the Status of Statistical Mechanical Probabilities.Eddy Keming Chen - forthcoming - In Valia Allori (ed.), Statistical Mechanics and Scientific Explanation: Determinism, Indeterminism and Laws of Nature. World Scientific.
    In a quantum universe with a strong arrow of time, it is standard to postulate that the initial wave function started in a particular macrostate---the special low-entropy macrostate selected by the Past Hypothesis. Moreover, there is an additional postulate about statistical mechanical probabilities according to which the initial wave function is a ''typical'' choice in the macrostate. Together, they support a probabilistic version of the Second Law of Thermodynamics: typical initial wave functions will increase in entropy. Hence, there are two (...)
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  • The Physics and Metaphysics of Primitive Stuff.Michael Esfeld, Dustin Lazarovici, Vincent Lam & Mario Hubert - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (1):133-61.
    The article sets out a primitive ontology of the natural world in terms of primitive stuff—that is, stuff that has as such no physical properties at all—but that is not a bare substratum either, being individuated by metrical relations. We focus on quantum physics and employ identity-based Bohmian mechanics to illustrate this view, but point out that it applies all over physics. Properties then enter into the picture exclusively through the role that they play for the dynamics of the primitive (...)
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  • Pragmatic Concerns and Images of the World.Fernando Birman - 2010 - Philosophia 38 (4):715-731.
    I defend a pragmatist reinterpretation of Sellars’s famous manifest-scientific distinction. I claim that in order to do justice to this important distinction we must first recognize, despite what philosophers—including, arguably, Sellars—often make of it, that the distinction does not draw an epistemological or metaphysical boundary between different kinds of objects and events, but a pragmatic boundary between different ways in which we interact with objects and events. Put differently, I argue that the manifest-scientific distinction, in my view, can be best (...)
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  • Against 3N-Dimensional Space.Bradley Monton - 2013 - In David Albert Alyssa Ney (ed.), The Wave Function: Essays in the Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics.
    I argue that space has three dimensions, and quantum mechanics does not show otherwise. Specifically, I argue that the mathematical wave function of quantum mechanics corresponds to a property that an N-particle system has in three-dimensional space.
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  • God Acts in the Quantum World.Bradley Monton - 2014 - In Jonathan L. Kvanvig (ed.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion Volume 5. Oxford University Press.
    Suppose that God exists, and that God does not violate the laws of nature he created for the world. God can nevertheless act in the world, by acting at the indeterministic quantum level. This chapter makes two specific points about God’s quantum action. First, on some ways of understanding quantum mechanics (specifically, the GRW theory, and the associated Continuous Spontaneous Localization theories), God’s actions are almost unlimited, contrary to those who say that God would be quite constrained in his action, (...)
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  • Realism About the Wave Function.Eddy Keming Chen - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (7).
    A century after the discovery of quantum mechanics, the meaning of quantum mechanics still remains elusive. This is largely due to the puzzling nature of the wave function, the central object in quantum mechanics. If we are realists about quantum mechanics, how should we understand the wave function? What does it represent? What is its physical meaning? Answering these questions would improve our understanding of what it means to be a realist about quantum mechanics. In this survey article, I review (...)
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  • Scientific Realism and Primitive Ontology Or: The Pessimistic Induction and the Nature of the Wave Function.Valia Allori - 2018 - Lato Sensu 1 (5):69-76.
    In this paper I wish to connect the recent debate in the philosophy of quantum mechanics concerning the nature of the wave function to the historical debate in the philosophy of science regarding the tenability of scientific realism. Being realist about quantum mechanics is particularly challenging when focusing on the wave function. According to the wave function ontology approach, the wave function is a concrete physical entity. In contrast, according to an alternative viewpoint, namely the primitive ontology approach, the wave (...)
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  • L'empirisme modal.Quentin Ruyant - 2017 - Dissertation, Université Rennes 1
    The aim of this thesis dissertation is to propose a novel position in the debate on scientific realism, modal empiricism, and to show its fruitfulness when it comes to interpreting the cognitive content of scientific theories. Modal empiricism is an empiricist position, according to which the aim of science is to produce empirically adequate theories rather than true theories. However, it suggests adopting a broader comprehension of experience than traditional versions of empiricism, through a commitment to natural modalities. Following modal (...)
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  • Quantum Mechanics in a Time-Asymmetric Universe: On the Nature of the Initial Quantum State.Eddy Keming Chen - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axy068.
    In a quantum universe with a strong arrow of time, we postulate a low-entropy boundary condition to account for the temporal asymmetry. In this paper, I show that the Past Hypothesis also contains enough information to simplify the quantum ontology and define a unique initial condition in such a world. First, I introduce Density Matrix Realism, the thesis that the quantum universe is described by a fundamental density matrix that represents something objective. This stands in sharp contrast to Wave Function (...)
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  • About the Nature of the Wave Function and its Dimensionality: The Case of Quantum Chemistry.Sebastian Fortin & Jesús Alberto Jaimes Arriaga - unknown
    The problem of the 3N dimensions of the wave function is of particular interest in the philosophy of physics. In this work, we will recall the main positions about the nature and dimensionality of the wave function and we will introduce a new perspective, coming from quantum chemistry. For this, we will bring to light the formal operations that underlie the independent electron approximation. On this basis, we will point out how quantum chemistry can offer new arguments that contribute to (...)
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  • Quantum Mechanics on Spacetime I: Spacetime State Realism.David Wallace & Christopher Gordon Timpson - 2010 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (4):697-727.
    What ontology does realism about the quantum state suggest? The main extant view in contemporary philosophy of physics is wave-function realism . We elaborate the sense in which wave-function realism does provide an ontological picture, and defend it from certain objections that have been raised against it. However, there are good reasons to be dissatisfied with wave-function realism, as we go on to elaborate. This motivates the development of an opposing picture: what we call spacetime state realism , a view (...)
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  • The Ontology of Bohmian Mechanics.M. Esfeld, D. Lazarovici, Mario Hubert & D. Durr - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (4):773-796.
    The paper points out that the modern formulation of Bohm’s quantum theory known as Bohmian mechanics is committed only to particles’ positions and a law of motion. We explain how this view can avoid the open questions that the traditional view faces according to which Bohm’s theory is committed to a wave-function that is a physical entity over and above the particles, although it is defined on configuration space instead of three-dimensional space. We then enquire into the status of the (...)
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  • Why the de Broglie-Bohm Theory is Probably Wrong.Shan Gao - manuscript
    We investigate the validity of the field explanation of the wave function by analyzing the mass and charge density distributions of a quantum system. It is argued that a charged quantum system has effective mass and charge density distributing in space, proportional to the square of the absolute value of its wave function. This is also a consequence of protective measurement. If the wave function is a physical field, then the mass and charge density will be distributed in space simultaneously (...)
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  • Against the Field Ontology of Quantum Mechanics.Shan Gao - unknown
    It has been widely thought that the ontology of quantum mechanics is real, physical fields. In this paper, I will present a new argument against the field ontology of quantum mechanics by analyzing one-body systems such as an electron. First, I argue that if the physical entity described by the wave function of an electron is a field, then this field is massive and charged. Next, I argue that if a field is massive and charged, then any two parts of (...)
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  • Scientific Realism Without the Wave-Function: An Example of Naturalized Quantum Metaphysics.Valia Allori - 2019 - In Juha Saatsi & Steven French (eds.), Scientific Realism and the Quantum. Oxford University Press.
    Scientific realism is the view that our best scientific theories can be regarded as (approximately) true. This is connected with the view that science, physics in particular, and metaphysics could (and should) inform one another: on the one hand, science tells us what the world is like, and on the other hand, metaphysical principles allow us to select between the various possible theories which are underdetermined by the data. Nonetheless, quantum mechanics has always been regarded as, at best, puzzling, if (...)
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  • Fundamental Physical Theories: Mathematical Structures Grounded on a Primitive Ontology.Valia Allori - 2007 - Dissertation, Rutgers
    In my dissertation I analyze the structure of fundamental physical theories. I start with an analysis of what an adequate primitive ontology is, discussing the measurement problem in quantum mechanics and theirs solutions. It is commonly said that these theories have little in common. I argue instead that the moral of the measurement problem is that the wave function cannot represent physical objects and a common structure between these solutions can be recognized: each of them is about a clear three-dimensional (...)
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  • The Quantum Measurement Problem: State of Play.David Wallace - 2007 - In Dean Rickles (ed.), The Ashgate Companion to Contemporary Philosophy of Physics. Ashgate.
    This is a preliminary version of an article to appear in the forthcoming Ashgate Companion to the New Philosophy of Physics.In it, I aim to review, in a way accessible to foundationally interested physicists as well as physics-informed philosophers, just where we have got to in the quest for a solution to the measurement problem. I don't advocate any particular approach to the measurement problem (not here, at any rate!) but I do focus on the importance of decoherence theory to (...)
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  • Events and the Ontology of Quantum Mechanics.Mauro Dorato - 2015 - Topoi 34 (2):369-378.
    In the first part of the paper I argue that an ontology of events is precise, flexible and general enough so as to cover the three main alternative formulations of quantum mechanics as well as theories advocating an antirealistic view of the wave function. Since these formulations advocate a primitive ontology of entities living in four-dimensional spacetime, they are good candidates to connect that quantum image with the manifest image of the world. However, to the extent that some form of (...)
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  • Dimension and Illusion.Peter J. Lewis - unknown
    The world looks three-dimensional unless one looks closely, when it looks 3N-dimensional. But which appearance is veridical, and which the illusion? Albert contends that the three-dimensionality of the everyday world is illusory, and that 3N-dimensional wavefunction one discerns in quantum phenomena is the reality behind the illusion. What I try to do here is to argue for the converse of Albert's position; the world really is three dimensional, and the 3N-dimensional appearance of quantum phenomena is the theoretical analog of an (...)
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  • Primitive Ontology in a Nutshell.Valia Allori - 2015 - International Journal of Quantum Foundations 1 (2):107-122.
    The aim of this paper is to summarize a particular approach of doing metaphysics through physics - the primitive ontology approach. The idea is that any fundamental physical theory has a well-defined architecture, to the foundation of which there is the primitive ontology, which represents matter. According to the framework provided by this approach when applied to quantum mechanics, the wave function is not suitable to represent matter. Rather, the wave function has a nomological character, given that its role in (...)
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  • Statistical VS Wave Realism in the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics.Claudio Calosi, Vincenzo Fano, Pierluigi Graziani & Gino Tarozzi - unknown
    Different realistic attitudes towards wavefunctions and quantum states are as old as quantum theory itself. Recently Pusey, Barret and Rudolph on the one hand, and Auletta and Tarozzi on the other, have proposed new interesting arguments in favor of a broad realistic interpretation of quantum mechanics that can be considered the modern heir to some views held by the fathers of quantum theory. In this paper we give a new and detailed presentation of such arguments, propose a new taxonomy of (...)
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  • Protective Measurements and the Meaning of the Wave Function in the de Broglie-Bohm Theory.Shan Gao - unknown
    There are three possible interpretations of the wave function in the de Broglie-Bohm theory: taking the wave function as corresponding to a physical entity or a property of the Bohmian particles or a law. In this paper, we argue that the first interpretation is favored by an analysis of protective measurements.
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  • A Prolegomenon to the Ontology of the Everett Interpretation.David Wallace - unknown
    In this article, I briefly explain the quantum measurement problem and the Everett interpretation, in a way that is faithful to modern physics and yet accessible to readers without any physics training. I then consider the metaphysical lessons for ontology from quantum mechanics under the Everett interpretation. My conclusions are largely negative: I argue that very little can be said in full generality about the ontology of quantum mechanics, because quantum mechanics, like abstract classical mechanics, is a framework within which (...)
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  • Interpreting Quantum Mechanics in Terms of Random Discontinuous Motion of Particles.Shan Gao - unknown
    This thesis is an attempt to reconstruct the conceptual foundations of quantum mechanics. First, we argue that the wave function in quantum mechanics is a description of random discontinuous motion of particles, and the modulus square of the wave function gives the probability density of the particles being in certain locations in space. Next, we show that the linear non-relativistic evolution of the wave function of an isolated system obeys the free Schrödinger equation due to the requirements of spacetime translation (...)
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  • How to Account for Quantum Non-Locality: Ontic Structural Realism and the Primitive Ontology of Quantum Physics.Michael Esfeld - 2017 - Synthese 194 (7):2329-2344.
    The paper has two aims: (1) it sets out to show that it is well motivated to seek for an account of quantum non-locality in the framework of ontic structural realism (OSR), which integrates the notions of holism and non-separability that have been employed since the 1980s to achieve such an account. However, recent research shows that OSR on its own cannot provide such an account. Against this background, the paper argues that by applying OSR to the primitive ontology theories (...)
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  • Bohmian Mechanics Without Wave Function Ontology.Albert Solé - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (4):365-378.
    In this paper, I critically assess different interpretations of Bohmian mechanics that are not committed to an ontology based on the wave function being an actual physical object that inhabits configuration space. More specifically, my aim is to explore the connection between the denial of configuration space realism and another interpretive debate that is specific to Bohmian mechanics: the quantum potential versus guidance approaches. Whereas defenders of the quantum potential approach to the theory claim that Bohmian mechanics is better formulated (...)
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  • The Primitive Ontology of Quantum Physics: Guidelines for an Assessment of the Proposals.Michael Esfeld - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 47:99-106.
    The paper seeks to make progress from stating primitive ontology theories of quantum physics – notably Bohmian mechanics, the GRW matter density theory and the GRW flash theory – to assessing these theories. Four criteria are set out: internal coherence; empirical adequacy; relationship to other theories; explanatory value. The paper argues that the stock objections against these theories do not withstand scrutiny. Its focus then is on their explanatory value: they pursue different strategies to ground the textbook formalism of quantum (...)
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  • Quantum Humeanism, Or: Physicalism Without Properties.Michael Esfeld - 2014 - Philosophical Quarterly 64 (256):453-470.
    In recent literature, it has become clear that quantum physics does not refute Humeanism: Lewis’s thesis of Humean supervenience can be literally true even in the light of quantum entanglement. This point has so far been made with respect to Bohm’s quantum theory. Against this background, this paper seeks to achieve the following four results: to generalize the option of quantum Humeanism from Bohmian mechanics to primitive ontology theories in general; to show that this option applies also to classical mechanics; (...)
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  • Primitive Ontology or Primitive Relations?Quentin Ruyant - manuscript
    Primitive ontology is a program which seeks to make explicit the ontological commitments of physical theories in terms of a distribution of matter in ordinary space-time. This program targets wave-function realism, which interprets the high-dimensional configuration space on which wave-functions are defined as our fundamental physical space. Wave-function realism allegedly fails to account for a correspondence between the ontology it postulates and the ‘manifest image’ of the world in which experimental tests of the theory are performed, and therefore the wave-function (...)
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  • How to Make Sense of Quantum Mechanics : Fundamental Physical Theories and Primitive Ontology.Valia Allori - manuscript
    Quantum mechanics has always been regarded as, at best, puzzling, if not contradictory. The aim of the paper is to explore a particular approach to fundamental physical theories, the one based on the notion of primitive ontology. This approach, when applied to quantum mechanics, makes it a paradox-free theory.
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  • The Meaning of the Wave Function: In Search of the Ontology of Quantum Mechanics.Shan Gao - unknown
    The meaning of the wave function has been a hot topic of debate since the early days of quantum mechanics. Recent years have witnessed a growing interest in this long-standing question. Is the wave function ontic, directly representing a state of reality, or epistemic, merely representing a state of knowledge, or something else? If the wave function is not ontic, then what, if any, is the underlying state of reality? If the wave function is indeed ontic, then exactly what physical (...)
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  • Protective Measurement and the Meaning of the Wave Function.Shan Gao - manuscript
    This article analyzes the implications of protective measurement for the meaning of the wave function. According to protective measurement, a charged quantum system has mass and charge density proportional to the modulus square of its wave function. It is shown that the mass and charge density is not real but effective, formed by the ergodic motion of a localized particle with the total mass and charge of the system. Moreover, it is argued that the ergodic motion is not continuous but (...)
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  • Humean Supervenience, Composition as Identity and Quantum Wholes.Claudio Calosi & Matteo Morganti - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (6):1173-1194.
    In this paper, we focus on two related reductive theses in metaphysics—Humean Supervenience and Composition as Identity—and on their status in light of the indications coming from science, in particular quantum mechanics. While defenders of these reductive theses claim that they can be updated so as to resist the quantum evidence, we provide arguments against this contention. We claim that physics gives us reason for thinking that both Humean Supervenience and Composition as Identity are at least contingently false, as the (...)
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  • Quantum Monism: An Assessment.Claudio Calosi - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (12):3217-3236.
    Monism is roughly the view that there is only one fundamental entity. One of the most powerful argument in its favor comes from quantum mechanics. Extant discussions of quantum monism are framed independently of any interpretation of the quantum theory. In contrast, this paper argues that matters of interpretation play a crucial role when assessing the viability of monism in the quantum realm. I consider four different interpretations: modal interpretations, Bohmian mechanics, many worlds interpretations, and wavefunction realism. In particular, I (...)
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  • GRW: A Case Study in Quantum Ontology.Peter J. Lewis - 2006 - Philosophy Compass 1 (2):224–244.
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