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  1. Science, substance and spatial appearances.Thomas Raleigh - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (8):2097-2114.
    According to a certain kind of naïve or folk understanding of physical matter, everyday ‘solid’ objects are composed of a homogeneous, gap-less substance, with sharply defined boundaries, which wholly fills the space they occupy. A further claim is that our perceptual experience of the environment represents or indicates that the objects around us conform to this sort of conception of physical matter. Were this further claim correct, it would mean that the way that the world appears to us in experience (...)
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  • Physics and Causation.Michael Esfeld - 2010 - Foundations of Physics 40 (9-10):1597-1610.
    The paper makes a case for there being causation in the form of causal properties or causal structures in the domain of fundamental physics. That case is built in the first place on an interpretation of quantum theory in terms of state reductions so that there really are both entangled states and classical properties, GRW being the most elaborate physical proposal for such an interpretation. I then argue that the interpretation that goes back to Everett can also be read in (...)
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  • Mechanistic Causation and Constraints: Perspectival Parts and Powers, Non-Perspectival Modal Patterns.Jason Winning - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Any successful account of the metaphysics of mechanistic causation must satisfy at least five key desiderata. In this paper, I lay out these five desiderata and explain why existing accounts of the metaphysics of mechanistic causation fail to satisfy them. I then present an alternative account which does satisfy the five desiderata. According to this alternative account, we must resort to a type of ontological entity that is new to metaphysics, but not to science: constraints. In this paper, I explain (...)
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  • Hypothetical Metaphysics of Nature.Michael Esfeld - 2007 - In Michael Heidelberger & Gregor Schiemann (eds.), The Significance of the Hypothetical in Natural Science. De Gruyter. pp. 341-364.
    The paper first sketches out a reply to the underdetermination challenge and the incommensurability challenge that rebuts the sceptical conclusions of these challenges and that is sufficient to lay the ground for the project of a metaphysics of nature. That metaphysics is as hypothetical as are our scientific theories. The paper then explains how can one can argue for certain views in the metaphysics of nature based on our current fundamental physical theories, namely the commitments to a tenseless theory of (...)
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  • Ontic Structural Realism and Modality.Nora Berenstain & James Ladyman - 2012 - In Elaine Landry & Dean Rickles (eds.), Structural Realism: Structure, Object, and Causality. Springer.
    There is good reason to believe that scientific realism requires a commitment to the objective modal structure of the physical world. Causality, equilibrium, laws of nature, and probability all feature prominently in scientific theory and explanation, and each one is a modal notion. If we are committed to the content of our best scientific theories, we must accept the modal nature of the physical world. But what does the scientific realist’s commitment to physical modality require? We consider whether scientific realism (...)
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  • A Scientific Metaphysics and Ockham’s Razor.Bruce Long - 2019 - Axiomathes (5):1-31.
    I argue that although Ockham’s Razor (OR) has its origins in a-priorist ontological mandates according to the purposes of natural theology and natural philosophy as influenced by it, the principle has taken on significant empirical and contingent materialist connotations and conceptual content since the scientific revolution. I briefly discuss the pluralism of the concept of OR historically and in contemporary science and philosophy. I then attempt to align scientific metaphysics with contemporary conceptions of OR, and to demonstrate that ontic parsimony (...)
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  • The Mechanistic and Normative Structure of Agency.Jason Winning - 2019 - Dissertation, University of California San Diego
    I develop an interdisciplinary framework for understanding the nature of agents and agency that is compatible with recent developments in the metaphysics of science and that also does justice to the mechanistic and normative characteristics of agents and agency as they are understood in moral philosophy, social psychology, neuroscience, robotics, and economics. The framework I develop is internal perspectivalist. That is to say, it counts agents as real in a perspective-dependent way, but not in a way that depends on an (...)
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  • Realismo estructural óntico y modalidad.Bruno Borge - 2020 - Ideas Y Valores 69 (173):37-56.
    En el presente trabajo analizo críticamente dos estrategias empleadas para esclarecer la naturaleza modal de las estructuras tal como son concebidas por el realismo estructural óntico en su versión eliminativista: los patrones reales de Ladyman y Ross y las leyes y simetrías de French. Ofrezco argumentos para mostrar que ambas resultan incapaces de brindar una caracterización de las estructuras como entidades inherentemente modales. Ese resultado impone serias dificultades al proyecto de presentar el reo como una posición realista acerca del mundo (...)
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  • What is This Thing Called Structure?Steven French - unknown
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  • Against Fields.Dustin Lazarovici - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (2):145-170.
    Using the example of classical electrodynamics, I argue that the concept of fields as mediators of particle interactions is fundamentally flawed and reflects a misguided attempt to retrieve Newtonian concepts in relativistic theories. This leads to various physical and metaphysical problems that are discussed in detail. In particular, I emphasize that physics has not found a satisfying solution to the self-interaction problem in the context of the classical field theory. To demonstrate the superiority of a pure particle ontology, I defend (...)
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  • A Scientific Metaphysical Naturalisation of Information.Bruce Long - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Sydney
    The objective of this thesis is to present a naturalised metaphysics of information, or to naturalise information, by way of deploying a scientific metaphysics according to which contingency is privileged and a-priori conceptual analysis is excluded (or at least greatly diminished) in favour of contingent and defeasible metaphysics. The ontology of information is established according to the premises and mandate of the scientific metaphysics by inference to the best explanation, and in accordance with the idea that the primacy of physics (...)
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  • Metaphysics of Causation and Physics of General Relativity.Vincent Lam - 2010 - Humana Mente 4 (13):61-80.
    This paper aims to discuss two realist conceptions about causation in the light of the general theory of relativity. I first consider the conserved quantity of causation, which explicitly relies on the energy conservation principle. Such principle is however problematic within GTR, mainly because of the dynamical nature of the spacetime structure itself. I then turn to the causal theory of properties, according to which properties are such that insofar as they are certain qualities, they are powers to produce certain (...)
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  • Epistemic Structural Realism, Modality and Laws of Nature.Bruno Borge - 2018 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 33 (3):447-468.
    According to epistemic structural realism scientific theories provide us only with knowledge about the structure of the unobservable world, but not about its nature. The most significant objection that this posi- tion has faced is the so-called Newman’s problem. In this paper I offer an alternative objection to EER. I argue that its formulation leads to undesirable skeptical positions in two fields close to scientific realism: the debates on modality and laws of nature. I also show that there is an (...)
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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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  • When Fields Are Not Degrees of Freedom.Vera Hartenstein & Mario Hubert - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axy060.
    We show that in the Maxwell–Lorentz theory of classical electrodynamics most initial values for fields and particles lead to an ill-defined dynamics, as they exhibit singularities or discontinuities along light-cones. This phenomenon suggests that the Maxwell equations and the Lorentz force law ought rather to be read as a system of delay differential equations, that is, differential equations that relate a function and its derivatives at different times. This mathematical reformulation, however, leads to physical and philosophical consequences for the ontological (...)
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  • How Properties Hold Together in Substances.Joseph E. Earley - 2016 - In Eric Scerri & Grant Fisher (eds.), Essays in Philosophy of Chemistry. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 199-216.
    This article aims to clarify how aspects of current chemical understanding relate to some important contemporary problems of philosophy. The first section points out that the long-running philosophical debates concerning how properties stay together in substances have neglected the important topic of structure-determining closure. The second part describes several chemically-important types of closure and the third part shows how such closures ground the properties of chemical substances. The fourth section introduces current discussions of structural realism (SR) and contextual emergence: the (...)
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  • Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Structural Realism but Were Afraid to Ask.Roman Frigg & Ioannis Votsis - 2011 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (2):227-276.
    Everything you always wanted to know about structural realism but were afraid to ask Content Type Journal Article Pages 227-276 DOI 10.1007/s13194-011-0025-7 Authors Roman Frigg, Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE UK Ioannis Votsis, Philosophisches Institut, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Universitätsstraße 1, Geb. 23.21/04.86, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany Journal European Journal for Philosophy of Science Online ISSN 1879-4920 Print ISSN 1879-4912 Journal Volume Volume 1 Journal Issue Volume 1, Number 2.
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  • Ontic Structural Realism as a Metaphysics of Objects.Michael Esfeld & Vincent Lam - 2011 - In Alisa Bokulich & Peter Bokulich (eds.), Scientific Structuralism. Springer Science+Business Media. pp. 143-159.
    The paper spells out five different accounts of the relationship between objects and relations three of which are versions of ontic structural realism. We argue that the distinction between objects and properties, including relations, is merely a conceptual one by contrast to an ontological one: properties, including relations, are modes, that is the concrete, particular ways in which objects exist. We then set out moderate OSR as the view according to which irreducible relations are central ways in which the fundamental (...)
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  • Humean Metaphysics Versus a Metaphysics of Powers.Michael Esfeld - 2010 - In Gerhard Ernst & Andreas Hüttemann (eds.), Time, Chance and Reduction: Philosophical Aspects of Statistical Mechanics. Cambridge University Press. pp. 119.
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  • Consequências para o empirismo construtivo da adoção de um padrão internalista na caracterização do processo de observação.Alessio Gava - 2015 - In Fátima R. Évora Marcelo Carvalho Jr (ed.), Filosofia da Ciência e da Natureza. Coleção XVI Encontro ANPOF. São Paulo, Brazil: ANPOF. pp. 239-250.
    Discutindo acerca das centenas de detecções de planetas extrassolares, que supostamente aconteceram desde 1989 e que ele considera (incorretamente) como instâncias de observações, Peter Kosso disse, justamente, que segundo os parâmetros de Bas van Fraassen esses objetos celestes seriam observáveis. Ora, tais astros poderiam sem dúvida ser observados diretamente (sem a necessidade de instrumentos), nas condições apropriadas. Mas, acrescenta Kosso, “esse tipo de epistemologia externalista, que permite que a justificação se baseie em informação que não temos a disposição (nós não (...)
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  • Causation and Structural Realism.Martin Schmidt - 2010 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 17 (4):508-521.
    M. Esfeld has recently argued that ontic structural realism may succeed only if it is based on causal structures. In order to meet this requirement, he offers a combination of dispositional/causal relations with moderate form of ontic structural realism. This paper, however, demonstrates that moderate position, in relation to causation, faces a dilemma whose resolution leads to a monistic ontology that creates a rather hostile environment for structural metaphysics.
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  • Ontic Structural Realism and the Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.Michael Esfeld - 2013 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 3 (1):19-32.
    This paper argues that ontic structural realism (OSR) faces a dilemma: either it remains on the general level of realism with respect to the structure of a given theory, but then it is, like epistemic structural realism, only a partial realism; or it is a complete realism, but then it has to answer the question how the structure of a given theory is implemented, instantiated or realized and thus has to argue for a particular interpretation of the theory in question. (...)
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  • Causal Realism.Michael Esfeld - unknown
    According to causal realism, causation is a fundamental feature of the world, consisting in the fact that the properties that there are in the world, including notably the fundamental physical ones, are dispositions or powers to produce certain effects. The paper presents arguments for this view from the metaphysics of properties and the philosophy of physics, pointing out how this view leads to a coherent ontology for both physics as well as biology and the special sciences in general.
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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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  • The Physical World as a Blob: Is OSR Really Realism?: Steven French: The Structure of the World: Metaphysics and Representation. Oxford: OUP, 2014, 416pp, ₤50.00 HB.Mauro Dorato - 2016 - Metascience 25 (2):173-181.
    In my review of Steven French's The structure of the world. Metaphysics & Representation. OUP, Oxford, 2014 I argue that the author is forced to navigate between the Scilla of Tegmark’s Pitagoreanism (2008) and the Carybdis of “blobobjectivism” (Horgan and Potrč 2008), namely the claim that the whole physical universe is a single concrete structurally complex but partless cosmos (a “blob”).
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  • Structural Invariants, Structural Kinds, Structural Laws.Holger Lyre - unknown
    The paper has three parts. In the first part ExtOSR, an extended version of Ontic Structural Realism, will be introduced. ExtOSR considers structural properties as ontological primitives, where structural properties are understood as comprising both relational and structurally derived intrinsic properties or structure invariants. It is argued that ExtOSR is best suited to accommodate gauge symmetry invariants and zero value properties. In the second part, ExtOSR will be given a Humean shape by considering structures as categorical and global. It will (...)
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  • Mahdollisuus, välttämättömyys ja luodut ikuiset totuudet Descartesin filosofiassa.Forsman Jan - 2016 - In Ilkka Niiniluoto, Tuomas Tahko & Teemu Toppinen (eds.), Mahdollisuus. Helsinki: Philosophical Society of Finland. pp. 120-129.
    Tässä artikkelissa käsittelen Descartesin ikuisten totuuksien välttämättömyyteen liittyvää ongelmaa. Teoksessa Mietiskelyjä ensimmäisestä filosofiasta (1641–1642) Descartes nostaa esiin käsitteen ikuisista totuuksista, käyttäen esimerkkinään kolmiota. Kolmion muuttumattomaan ja ikuiseen luontoon kuuluu esimerkiksi, että sen kolme kulmaa ovat yhteenlaskettuna 180°. Se on totta kolmiosta, vaikka yhtään yksittäistä kolmiota ei olisi koskaan ollutkaan olemassa. Eräät ajattelemieni asioiden piirteet ovat siis Descartesin mukaan ajattelustani riippumattomia. Ikuisia totuuksia ovat ainakin matemaattiset ja geometriset tosiseikat sekä ristiriidan laki. Samoin Descartesin kuuluisa lause “ajattelen, siis olen” lukeutuu ikuisten totuuksien (...)
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  • Contemporary Quantum Physics Metaphysical Challenge: Looking for a Relational Metaphysics.João Cordovil - 2015 - Axiomathes 25 (1):133-143.
    Traditionally, Physics has been dominated by the image of objects, that is, by the atomistic metaphysics of absolutely intrinsic properties of qualitatively unchangeable individual entities. The first major challenge to this metaphysics inside physics comes with quantum mechanics, specifically with the well-known phenomenon known as ‘quantum entanglement’. From quantum entanglement it seems that we can conclude that: quantum objects are not independent entities; wholes have an ontological priority over their parts. However, it is arguable that is too risky to infer (...)
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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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  • What is Matter? The Fundamental Ontology of Atomism and Structural Realism.Michael Esfeld, Dirk-André Deckert & Andrea Oldofredi - unknown
    We set out a fundamental ontology of atomism in terms of matter points. While being most parsimonious, this ontology is able to match both classical and quantum mechanics, and it remains a viable option for any future theory of cosmology that goes beyond current quantum physics. The matter points are structurally individuated: all there is to them are the spatial relations in which they stand; neither a commitment to intrinsic properties nor to an absolute space is required. The spatial relations (...)
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  • Outlines for a Phenomenological Foundation For de Ronde's Theory of Powers and Potentia.Matías Graffigna - unknown
    Starting with the claim that Quantum Mechanics is in need of a new interpretation that would allow us to understand the phenomena of this realm, I wish to analyse in this paper de Ronde's theory of power and potentia from a phenomenological perspective. De Ronde's claim is that the reason for the lack of success in the foundations of QM is due to the reluctance of both physicists and philosophers to explore the possibility of finding a new ontology, new concepts (...)
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  • O Estatuto Metafísico Das Leis Naturais: Uma Crítica Ao Antirrealismo Nomológico de Stephen Mumford.Bruno Borge - 2015 - Filosofia Unisinos 16 (3):256-269.
    As questões das leis da natureza e da modalidade subjacente à regularidade natural muitas vezes têm sido tratadas como uma só. No entanto, a análise metafísica mostra que só as posições que assumem um compromisso ontológico com as leis da natureza podem ser consideradas dentro do Realismo Nomológico. Mumford propõe uma alternativa ao RN compatível com os compromissos modais comumente associados a posições realistas. Neste ponto de vista, o peso da modalidade não está posto nas leis, mas sim em propriedades (...)
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  • Why Metrical Properties Are Not Powers.Andreas Bartels - 2013 - Synthese 190 (12):2001-2013.
    What has the dispositional analysis of properties and laws (e.g. Molnar, Powers, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2003; Mumford, Laws in nature, Routledge London, 2004; Bird, Nature’s metaphysics, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2007) to offer to the scientific understanding of physical properties?—The article provides an answer to this question for the case of spacetime points and their metrical properties in General Relativity. The analysis shows that metrical properties are not ‘powers’, i.e. they cannot be understood as producing the effects of spacetime on (...)
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  • Quantity of Matter or Intrinsic Property: Why Mass Cannot Be Both.Mario Hubert - 2016 - In Laura Felline, Antonio Ledda, F. Paoli & Emanuele Rossanese (eds.), New Developments in Logic and Philosophy of Science. London: College Publications. pp. 267–77.
    I analyze the meaning of mass in Newtonian mechanics. First, I explain the notion of primitive ontology, which was originally introduced in the philosophy of quantum mechanics. Then I examine the two common interpretations of mass: mass as a measure of the quantity of matter and mass as a dynamical property. I claim that the former is ill-defined, and the latter is only plausible with respect to a metaphysical interpretation of laws of nature. I explore the following options for the (...)
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  • Particles, Causation, and the Metaphysics of Structure.Anjan Chakravartty - 2017 - Synthese 194 (7):2273-2289.
    I consider the idea of a structure of fundamental physical particles being causal. Causation is traditionally thought of as involving relations between entities—objects or events—that cause and are affected. On structuralist interpretations, however, it is unclear whether or how precisely fundamental particles can be causally efficacious. On some interpretations, only relations exist; on others, particles are ontologically dependent on their relations in ways that problematize the traditional picture. I argue that thinking about causal efficacy in this context generates an inevitable (...)
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  • Can a Relational Substance Ontology Be Hylomorphic?Travis Dumsday - forthcoming - Synthese:1-18.
    The debate between relational versus constituent substance ontology is longstanding and ongoing. In the contemporary literature it is mostly taken for granted that any version of hylomorphism must count as a constituent substance ontology. Here I argue that a certain sort of relational substance ontology could also legitimately be labeled hylomorphic, and in fact that relational substance ontologists have some good reasons to affirm this version of hylomorphism.
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  • Rethinking Causality in Biological and Neural Mechanisms: Constraints and Control.Jason Winning & William Bechtel - 2018 - Minds and Machines 28 (2).
    Existing accounts of mechanistic causation are not suited for understanding causation in biological and neural mechanisms because they do not have the resources to capture the unique causal structure of control heterarchies. In this paper, we provide a new account on which the causal powers of mechanisms are grounded by time-dependent, variable constraints. Constraints can also serve as a key bridge concept between the mechanistic approach to explanation and underappreciated work in theoretical biology that sheds light on how biological systems (...)
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  • Structuralism with and Without Causation.Juha Saatsi - 2017 - Synthese 194 (7):2255-2271.
    This paper explores the status of causation in structuralist metaphysics of physics. What role (if any) does causation play in understanding ‘structure’ in ontological structural realism? I address this question by examining, in a structuralist setting, arguments for and against the idea that fundamental physics deals, perhaps exclusively, with causal properties. I will argue (against Esfeld, Dorato and others) that a structuralist interpretation of fundamental physics should diverge from ‘causal structuralism’. Nevertheless, causation outside fundamental physics, and the basic motivation for (...)
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  • Unitary Inequivalence as a Problem for Structural Realism.Steven French - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 43 (2):121-136.
    Howard argues that the existence of unitarily inequivalent representations in Quantum Field Theory presents a problem for structural realism in this context. I consider two potential ways round this problem: 1), follow Wallace in adopting the 'naive' Lagrangian form of QFT with cut-offs; 2), adapt Ruetsche's 'Swiss Army Knife' approach. The first takes us into the current debate between Wallace and Fraser on conventional vs. algebraic QFT. The second involves consideration of the role of inequivalent representations in understanding spontaneous symmetry (...)
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