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  1. Husserl, the mathematization of nature, and the informational reconstruction of quantum theory.Philipp Berghofer, Philip Goyal & Harald A. Wiltsche - 2021 - Continental Philosophy Review 54 (4):413-436.
    As is well known, the late Husserl warned against the dangers of reifying and objectifying the mathematical models that operate at the heart of our physical theories. Although Husserl’s worries were mainly directed at Galilean physics, the first aim of our paper is to show that many of his critical arguments are no less relevant today. By addressing the formalism and current interpretations of quantum theory, we illustrate how topics surrounding the mathematization of nature come to the fore naturally. Our (...)
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  • Symmetry fundamentalism in quantum mechanics.David Schroeren - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (12):3995-4024.
    Modern particle physics suggests an intriguing vision of physical reality: we are to imagine the symmetries of the world as fundamental, whereas the material constituents of the world are ontologically derivative of them. This paper develops a novel ontology for non-relativistic quantum mechanics which gives precise metaphysical content to this vision.
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  • The Physics and Metaphysics of Tychistic Bohmian Mechanics.Patrick M. Duerr & Alexander Ehmann - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 90:168-183.
    The paper takes up Bell's “Everett theory” and develops it further. The resulting theory is about the system of all particles in the universe, each located in ordinary, 3-dimensional space. This many-particle system as a whole performs random jumps through 3N-dimensional configuration space – hence “Tychistic Bohmian Mechanics”. The distribution of its spontaneous localisations in configuration space is given by the Born Rule probability measure for the universal wavefunction. Contra Bell, the theory is argued to satisfy the minimal desiderata for (...)
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  • Worlds in a Stochastic Universe: On the Emergence of World Histories in Minimal Bohmian Mechanics.Alexander Ehmann - 2020 - Dissertation, Lingnan University
    This thesis develops a detailed account of the emergence of for all practical purposes continuous, quasi-classical world histories from the discontinuous, stochastic micro dynamics of Minimal Bohmian Mechanics (MBM). MBM is a non-relativistic quantum theory. It results from excising the guiding equation from standard Bohmian Mechanics (BM) and reinterpreting the quantum equilibrium hypothesis as a stochastic guidance law for the random actualization of configurations of Bohmian particles. On MBM, there are no continuous trajectories linking up individual configurations. Instead, individual configurations (...)
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  • Quantum States of a Time-Asymmetric Universe: Wave Function, Density Matrix, and Empirical Equivalence.Eddy Keming Chen - 2019 - Dissertation, Rutgers University - New Brunswick
    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 Nature of Contingency: Quantum Physics as Modal Realism.Alastair Wilson - 2020 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    This book defends a radical new theory of contingency as a physical phenomenon. Drawing on the many-worlds approach to quantum theory and cutting-edge metaphysics and philosophy of science, it argues that quantum theories are best understood as telling us about the space of genuine possibilities, rather than as telling us solely about actuality. When quantum physics is taken seriously in the way first proposed by Hugh Everett III, it provides the resources for a new systematic metaphysical framework encompassing possibility, necessity, (...)
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  • Scientific Realism and Underdetermination in Quantum Theory.Matthias Egg & Juha Saatsi - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (11):e12773.
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  • Essays on the Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics.Eddy Keming Chen - 2019 - Dissertation, Rutgers University, New Brunswick
    What is the proper metaphysics of quantum mechanics? In this dissertation, I approach the question from three different but related angles. First, I suggest that the quantum state can be understood intrinsically as relations holding among regions in ordinary space-time, from which we can recover the wave function uniquely up to an equivalence class (by representation and uniqueness theorems). The intrinsic account eliminates certain conventional elements (e.g. overall phase) in the representation of the quantum state. It also dispenses with first-order (...)
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  • The Quantum Revolution in Philosophy. [REVIEW]Eddy Keming Chen - 2020 - Philosophical Review 129 (2):302-308.
    In this thought-provoking book, Richard Healey proposes a new interpretation of quantum theory inspired by pragmatist philosophy. Healey puts forward the interpretation as an alternative to realist quantum theories on the one hand such as Bohmian mechanics, spontaneous collapse theories, and many-worlds interpretations, which are different proposals for describing what the quantum world is like and what the basic laws of physics are, and non-realist interpretations on the other hand such as quantum Bayesianism, which proposes to understand quantum theory as (...)
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  • Electron Charge Density: A Clue from Quantum Chemistry for Quantum Foundations.Charles T. Sebens - 2021 - Foundations of Physics 51 (4):1-39.
    Within quantum chemistry, the electron clouds that surround nuclei in atoms and molecules are sometimes treated as clouds of probability and sometimes as clouds of charge. These two roles, tracing back to Schrödinger and Born, are in tension with one another but are not incompatible. Schrödinger’s idea that the nucleus of an atom is surrounded by a spread-out electron charge density is supported by a variety of evidence from quantum chemistry, including two methods that are used to determine atomic and (...)
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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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  • The Cosmic Void.Eddy Keming Chen - 2021 - In Sara Bernstein & Tyron Goldschmidt (eds.), Non-Being: New Essays on the Metaphysics of Nonexistence. Oxford University Press.
    What exists at the fundamental level of reality? On the standard picture, the fundamental reality contains (among other things) fundamental matter, such as particles, fields, or even the quantum state. Non-fundamental facts are explained by facts about fundamental matter, at least in part. In this paper, I introduce a non-standard picture called the "cosmic void” in which the universe is devoid of any fundamental material ontology. Facts about tables and chairs are recovered from a special kind of laws that satisfy (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Grounded Shadows, Groundless Ghosts.Ezra Rubenstein - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axaa008.
    According to a radical account of quantum metaphysics that I label ‘high-dimensionalism’, ordinary objects are the ‘shadows’ of high-dimensional fundamental ontology. Critics—especially Maudlin —allege that high-dimensionalism cannot provide a satisfactory explanation of the manifest image. In this paper, I examine the two main ideas behind these criticisms: that high-dimensionalist connections between fundamental and non-fundamental are 1) inscrutable, and 2) arbitrary. In response to the first, I argue that there is no metaphysically significant contrast regarding the scrutability of low- and high-dimensionalist (...)
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  • The Operational Framework for Quantum Theories is Both Epistemologically and Ontologically Neutral.Laurie Letertre - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 89:129-137.
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  • Wave-functionalism.Valia Allori - forthcoming - Synthese:1-23.
    In this paper I present a new perspective for interpreting the wavefunction as a non-material, non-epistemic, non-representational entity. I endorse a functional view according to which the wavefunction is defined by its roles in the theory. I argue that this approach shares some similarities with the nomological account of the wave function as well as with the pragmatist and epistemic approaches to quantum theory, while avoiding the major objections of these alternatives.
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  • A Refined Propensity Account for GRW Theory.Lorenzo Lorenzetti - 2021 - Foundations of Physics 51 (2):1-20.
    Spontaneous collapse theories of quantum mechanics turn the usual Schrödinger equation into a stochastic dynamical law. In particular, in this paper, I will focus on the GRW theory. Two philosophical issues that can be raised about GRW concern (i) the ontology of the theory, in particular the nature of the wave function and its role within the theory, and (ii) the interpretation of the objective probabilities involved in the dynamics of the theory. During the last years, it has been claimed (...)
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  • Scientific Perspectivism in the Phenomenological Tradition.Philipp Berghofer - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (3):1-27.
    In current debates, many philosophers of science have sympathies for the project of introducing a new approach to the scientific realism debate that forges a middle way between traditional forms of scientific realism and anti-realism. One promising approach is perspectivism. Although different proponents of perspectivism differ in their respective characterizations of perspectivism, the common idea is that scientific knowledge is necessarily partial and incomplete. Perspectivism is a new position in current debates but it does have its forerunners. Figures that are (...)
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  • Fundamental Nomic Vagueness.Eddy Keming Chen - forthcoming - Philosophical Review.
    If there are fundamental laws of nature, can they fail to be exact? In this paper, I consider the possibility that some fundamental laws are vague. I call this phenomenon 'fundamental nomic vagueness.' I characterize fundamental nomic vagueness as the existence of borderline lawful worlds and the presence of several other accompanying features. Under certain assumptions, such vagueness prevents the fundamental physical theory from being completely expressible in the mathematical language. Moreover, I suggest that such vagueness can be regarded as (...)
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  • The World Just Is the Way It Is.David Builes - 2021 - The Monist 104 (1):1-27.
    What is the relationship between objects and properties? According to a standard view, there are primitive individuals that ‘instantiate’ or ‘have’ various properties. According to a rival view, objects are mere ‘bundles’ of properties. While there are a number of reasons to be skeptical of primitive individuals, there are also a number of challenges that the bundle theorist faces. The goal of this paper is to formulate a view about the relationship between objects and properties that avoids many of the (...)
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  • Humeanism About Laws of Nature.Harjit Bhogal - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (8):1-10.
    Humeanism about laws of nature is, roughly, the view that the laws of nature are just patterns, or ways of describing patterns, in the mosaic of events. In this paper I survey some of the (many!) objections that have been raised to Humeanism, considering how the Humean might respond. And I consider how we might make a positive case for Humeanism. The common thread running through all this is that the viability of the Humean view relies on the Humean having (...)
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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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  • The Theory of Every Thing: Toward a Symmetry-Based Metaphysics of Matter.David Schroeren - 2020 - Dissertation, Princeton University
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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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  • Truth Vs. Progress Realism About Spin.Juha Saatsi - 2020 - In Steven French & Juha Saatsi (eds.), Scientific Realism and the Quantum. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
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  • Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.Lev Vaidman - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The Many-Worlds Interpretation (MWI) is an approach to quantum mechanics according to which, in addition to the world we are aware of directly, there are many other similar worlds which exist in parallel at the same space and time. The existence of the other worlds makes it possible to remove randomness and action at a distance from quantum theory and thus from all physics.
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