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  1. A Puzzle for the Field Ontologists.Shan Gao - 2020 - Foundations of Physics 50 (11):1541-1553.
    It has been widely thought that the wave function describes a real, physical field in a realist interpretation of quantum mechanics. In this paper, I present a new analysis of the field ontology for the wave function. First, I argue that the non-existence of self-interactions for a quantum system such as an electron poses a puzzle for the field ontologists. If the wave function represents a physical field, then it seems odd that there are interactions between the fields of two (...)
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  • Bell’s Theorem, Quantum Probabilities, and Superdeterminism.Eddy Keming Chen - forthcoming - In Eleanor Knox & Alastair Wilson (eds.), The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Physics. Routledge.
    In this short survey article, I discuss Bell’s theorem and some strategies that attempt to avoid the conclusion of non-locality. I focus on two that intersect with the philosophy of probability: (1) quantum probabilities and (2) superdeterminism. The issues they raised not only apply to a wide class of no-go theorems about quantum mechanics but are also of general philosophical interest.
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  • From Time Asymmetry to Quantum Entanglement: The Humean Unification.Eddy Keming Chen - forthcoming - Noûs.
    Two of the most difficult problems in the foundations of physics are (1) what gives rise to the arrow of time and (2) what the ontology of quantum mechanics is. I propose a unified 'Humean' solution to the two problems. Humeanism allows us to incorporate the Past Hypothesis and the Statistical Postulate into the best system, which we then use to simplify the quantum state of the universe. This enables us to confer the nomological status to the quantum state in (...)
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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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  • Time's Arrow in a Quantum Universe: On the Status of Statistical Mechanical Probabilities.Eddy Keming Chen - 2020 - In Valia Allori (ed.), Statistical Mechanics and Scientific Explanation: Determinism, Indeterminism and Laws of Nature. World Scientific. pp. 479–515.
    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 Past Hypothesis and the Nature of Physical Laws.Eddy Keming Chen - forthcoming - In Barry Loewer, Eric Winsberg & Brad Weslake (eds.), Time's Arrows and the Probability Structure of the World. Harvard University Press.
    If the Past Hypothesis underlies the arrows of time, what is the status of the Past Hypothesis? In this paper, I examine the role of the Past Hypothesis in the Boltzmannian account and defend the view that the Past Hypothesis is a candidate fundamental law of nature. Such a view is known to be compatible with Humeanism about laws, but as I argue it is also supported by a minimal non-Humean "governing'' view. Some worries arise from the non-dynamical and time-dependent (...)
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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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  • Multi-Field and Bohm’s Theory.Davide Romano - 2020 - Synthese:29 June 2020.
    In the recent literature, it has been shown that the wave function in the de Broglie–Bohm theory can be regarded as a new kind of field, i.e., a "multi-field", in three-dimensional space. In this paper, I argue that the natural framework for the multi-field is the original second-order Bohm’s theory. In this context, it is possible: i) to construe the multi-field as a real-valued scalar field; ii) to explain the physical interaction between the multi-field and the Bohmian particles; and iii) (...)
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  • Quantum States of a Time-Asymmetric Universe: Wave Function, Density Matrix, and Empirical Equivalence.Eddy Keming Chen - unknown
    What is the quantum state of the universe? Although there have been several interesting suggestions, the question remains open. In this paper, I consider a natural choice for the universal quantum state arising from the Past Hypothesis, a boundary condition that accounts for the time-asymmetry of the universe. The natural choice is given not by a wave function but by a density matrix. I begin by classifying quantum theories into two types: theories with a fundamental wave function and theories with (...)
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  • The Physical Salience of Non-Fundamental Local Beables.Matthias Egg - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 57:104-110.
    I defend the idea that objects and events in three-dimensional space are part of the derivative ontology of quantum mechanics, rather than its fundamental ontology. The main objection to this idea stems from the question of how it can endow local beables with physical salience, as opposed to mere mathematical definability. I show that the responses to this objection in the previous literature are insufficient, and I provide the necessary arguments to render them successful. This includes demonstrating the legitimacy of (...)
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  • Regularity Comparativism About Mass in Newtonian Gravity.Niels C. M. Martens - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1226-1238.
    Comparativism—the view that mass ratios are not grounded in absolute masses—faces a challenge by Baker which suggests that absolute masses are empirically meaningful. Regularity comparativism uses a liberalized version of the Mill-Ramsey-Lewis Best Systems Account to have both the laws of Newtonian gravity and the absolute mass scale supervene on a comparativist Humean mosaic as a package deal. I discuss three objections to this view and conclude that it is untenable. The most severe problem is that once we have reduced (...)
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  • The Intrinsic Structure of Quantum Mechanics.Eddy Keming Chen - unknown
    The wave function in quantum mechanics presents an interesting challenge to our understanding of the physical world. In this paper, I show that the wave function can be understood as four intrinsic relations on physical space. My account has three desirable features that the standard account lacks: it does not refer to any abstract mathematical objects, it is free from the usual arbitrary conventions, and it explains why the wave function has its gauge degrees of freedom, something that are usually (...)
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  • To Be a Realist About Quantum Theory.Hans Halvorson - 2019 - In Olimpia Lombardi (ed.), Quantum Worlds: Perspectives on the Ontology of Quantum Mechanics.
    I look at the distinction between between realist and antirealist views of the quantum state. I argue that this binary classification should be reconceived as a continuum of different views about which properties of the quantum state are representationally significant. What's more, the extreme cases -- all or none --- are simply absurd, and should be rejected by all parties. In other words, no sane person should advocate extreme realism or antirealism about the quantum state. And if we focus on (...)
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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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  • The Wave-Function as a Multi-Field.Mario Hubert & Davide Romano - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (3):521-537.
    It is generally argued that if the wave-function in the de Broglie–Bohm theory is a physical field, it must be a field in configuration space. Nevertheless, it is possible to interpret the wave-function as a multi-field in three-dimensional space. This approach hasn’t received the attention yet it really deserves. The aim of this paper is threefold: first, we show that the wave-function is naturally and straightforwardly construed as a multi-field; second, we show why this interpretation is superior to other interpretations (...)
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