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  1. Could Charge and Mass Be Universals?Marian J. R. Gilton - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (3):624-644.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  • Scientific Realism: What It is, the Contemporary Debate, and New Directions.Darrell Patrick Rowbottom - 2019 - Synthese 196 (2):451-484.
    First, I answer the controversial question ’What is scientific realism?’ with extensive reference to the varied accounts of the position in the literature. Second, I provide an overview of the key developments in the debate concerning scientific realism over the past decade. Third, I provide a summary of the other contributions to this special issue.
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  • The Physics and Metaphysics of Tychistic Bohmian Mechanics.Patrick 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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  • Interpreting the Quantum Mechanics of Cosmology.David Wallace - forthcoming - In A. Ijjas & B. Loewer (eds.), Philosophy of Cosmology: an Introduction. Oxford University Press.
    Quantum theory plays an increasingly significant role in contemporary early-universe cosmology, most notably in the inflationary origins of the fluctuation spectrum of the microwave background radiation. I consider the two main strategies for interpreting standard quantum mechanics in the light of cosmology. I argue that the conceptual difficulties of the approaches based around an irreducible role for measurement - already very severe - become intolerable in a cosmological context, whereas the approach based around Everett's original idea of treating quantum systems (...)
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  • On the Plurality of Quantum Theories: Quantum Theory as a Framework, and its Implications for the Quantum Measurement Problem.David Wallace - forthcoming - In S. French & J. Saatsi (eds.), Scientific Realism and the Quantum. Oxford University Press.
    `Quantum theory' is not a single physical theory but a framework in which many different concrete theories fit. As such, a solution to the quantum measurement problem ought to provide a recipe to interpret each such concrete theory, in a mutually consistent way. But with the exception of the Everett interpretation, the mainextant solutions either try to make sense of the abstract framework as if it were concrete, or else interpret one particular quantum theory under the fiction that it is (...)
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  • From the Measurement Problem to the Primitive Ontology Programme.Michael Esfeld - unknown
    The paper retraces the development from the measurement problem to the primitive ontology programme. It assesses the contribution of the GRW theory to this programme and discusses the pros and cons of the GRWm matter density ontology and the GRWf flash ontology in comparison to the Bohmian particle ontology. It thereby pursues the evaluation of the proposals for a primitive ontology of quantum physics.
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  • Scientific Realism Meets Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics.Juha Saatsi - 2017 - In Philosophers Think About Quantum Theory.
    I examine the epistemological debate on scientific realism in the context of quantum physics, focusing on the empirical underdetermin- ation of different formulations and interpretations of QM. I will argue that much of the interpretational, metaphysical work on QM tran- scends the kinds of realist commitments that are well-motivated in the light of the history of science. I sketch a way of demarcating empirically well-confirmed aspects of QM from speculative quantum metaphysics in a way that coheres with anti-realist evidence from (...)
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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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  • Super-Humeanism: A Starving Ontology.Dustin Lazarovici - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 64:79-86.
    The paper provides a critical discussion of the Super-Humean view of spacetime and the “minimalist ontology” in terms of Leibnizian relations and primitive matter points, recently developed by Esfeld et al. It investigates, in particular, the empirical adequacy of the proposed metaphysics, arguing that Super-Humeanism cannot provide a plausible account of space and time without committing to bona fide geometric structure in the fundamental relations. Against this backdrop, I propose a moderate version of Super-Humeanism and discuss its possible application to (...)
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  • What is Matter? The Fundamental Ontology of Atomism and Structural Realism.Michael Esfeld, Dirk-André Deckert & Andrea Oldofredi - forthcoming - In B. Lower and A. Ijjas (ed.), A guide to the philosophy of Cosmology. Oxford University Press.
    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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  • Cosmic Hylomorphism: A Powerist Ontology of Quantum Mechanics.William M. R. Simpson - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (1):1-25.
    The primitive ontology approach to quantum mechanics seeks to account for quantum phenomena in terms of a distribution of matter in three-dimensional space and a law of nature that describes its temporal development. This approach to explaining quantum phenomena is compatible with either a Humean or powerist account of laws. In this paper, I offer a powerist ontology in which the law is specified by Bohmian mechanics for a global configuration of particles. Unlike in other powerist ontologies, however, this law (...)
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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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  • Quantum Pointillism with Relational Identity.Jorge Manero - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):10639-10666.
    The feasibility of establishing a proper notion of a distinguishable object in the context of the de Broglie–Bohm approach to quantum mechanics seems, at first sight, uncontroversial by virtue of the fact that this theory can supposedly be interpreted in terms of a system of objective particles distinguished by individuating properties. However, after conducting a critical revision and evaluation of this trivial interpretation, and having assessed different alternatives that have been proposed in recent literature, I argue that within this theory (...)
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  • Against the disappearance of spacetime in quantum gravity.Michael Esfeld - 2021 - Synthese 199 (2):355-369.
    This paper argues against the proposal to draw from current research into a physical theory of quantum gravity the ontological conclusion that spacetime or spatiotemporal relations are not fundamental. As things stand, the status of this proposal is like the one of all the other claims about radical changes in ontology that were made during the development of quantum mechanics and quantum field theory. However, none of these claims held up to scrutiny as a consequence of the physics once the (...)
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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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  • Super-Humeanism and Physics: A Merry Relationship?Vera Matarese - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):791-813.
    Humeanism started life as a metaphysical program that could turn out to be false if our best physical theories were to postulate ontological features at odds with Humean ones. However, even if this has arguably already happened, Humeanism is still considered one of the strongest and most appealing metaphysical theories for describing the physical world. What is even more surprising is that a radical Humean thesis—Super-Humeanism—which posits an extremely parsimonious ontology including nothing more than propertyless matter points and their distance (...)
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  • Probabilities in deBroglie-Bohm Theory: Towards a Stochastic Alternative (Version 0.1 Beta).Patrick Dürr & Alexander Ehmann - manuscript
    We critically examine the role and status probabilities, as they enter via the Quantum Equilibrium Hypothesis, play in the standard, deterministic interpretation of deBroglie’s and Bohm’s Pilot Wave Theory (dBBT), by considering interpretations of probabilities in terms of ignorance, typicality and Humean Best Systems, respectively. We argue that there is an inherent conflict between dBBT and probabilities, thus construed. The conflict originates in dBBT’s deterministic nature, rooted in the Guidance Equation. Inquiring into the latter’s role within dBBT, we find it (...)
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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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  • Individuality and the Account of Nonlocality: The Case for the Particle Ontology in Quantum Physics.Michael Esfeld - 2019 - In O. Lombardi, S. Fortin, C. L’Opez & F. Holik (eds.), Quantum Worlds: Perspectives on the Ontology of Quantum Mechanics. Cambridge University Press. pp. 222--244.
    The paper explains why an ontology of permanent point particles that are individuated by their relative positions and that move on continuous trajectories as given by a deterministic law of motion constitutes the best solution to the measurement problem in both quantum mechanics and quantum field theory. This case is made by comparing the Bohmian theory to collapse theories such as the GRW matter density and the GRW flash theory. It is argued that the Bohmian theory makes the minimal changes, (...)
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  • A Proposal for a Minimalist Ontology.Michael Esfeld - 2017 - Synthese:1-17.
    This paper seeks to answer the following question: What is a minimal set of entities that form an ontology of the natural world, given our well-established physical theories? The proposal is that the following two axioms are sufficient to obtain such a minimalist ontology: There are distance relations that individuate simple objects, namely matter points. The matter points are permanent, with the distances between them changing. I sketch out how one can obtain our well-established physical theories on the basis of (...)
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  • Multi-Field and Bohm’s Theory.Davide Romano - 2020 - Synthese (11):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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  • 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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  • The dissipative approach to quantum field theory: conceptual foundations and ontological implications.Andrea Oldofredi & Hans Christian Öttinger - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (1):1-36.
    Many attempts have been made to provide Quantum Field Theory with conceptually clear and mathematically rigorous foundations; remarkable examples are the Bohmian and the algebraic perspectives respectively. In this essay we introduce the dissipative approach to QFT, a new alternative formulation of the theory explaining the phenomena of particle creation and annihilation starting from nonequilibrium thermodynamics. It is shown that DQFT presents a rigorous mathematical structure, and a clear particle ontology, taking the best from the mentioned perspectives. Finally, after the (...)
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  • A challenge for Super-Humeanism: the problem of immanent comparisons.Vera Matarese - 2020 - Synthese 197 (9):4001-4020.
    According to the doctrine of Super-Humeanism, the world’s mosaic consists only of permanent matter points and changing spatial relations, while all the other entities and features figuring in scientific theories are nomological parameters, whose role is merely to build the best law system. In this paper, I develop an argument against Super-Humeanism by pointing out that it is vulnerable to and does not have the resources to solve the well-known problem of immanent comparisons. Firstly, I show that it cannot endorse (...)
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  • The (Un)Detectability of Absolute Newtonian Masses.Niels C. M. Martens - 2019 - Synthese 198 (3):2511-2550.
    Absolutism about mass claims that mass ratios obtain in virtue of absolute masses. Comparativism denies this. Dasgupta, Oxford studies in metaphysics, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2013) argues for comparativism about mass, in the context of Newtonian Gravity. Such an argument requires proving that comparativism is empirically adequate. Dasgupta equates this to showing that absolute masses are undetectable, and attempts to do so. This paper develops an argument by Baker to the contrary: absolute masses are in fact empirically meaningful, that is (...)
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  • A Persistent Particle Ontology for Quantum Field Theory in Terms of the Dirac Sea.Dirk-André Deckert, Michael Esfeld & Andrea Oldofredi - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (3):747-770.
    We show that the Bohmian approach in terms of persisting particles that move on continuous trajectories following a deterministic law can be literally applied to quantum field theory. By means of the Dirac sea model—exemplified in the electron sector of the standard model neglecting radiation—we explain how starting from persisting particles, one is led to standard QFT employing creation and annihilation operators when tracking the dynamics with respect to a reference state, the so-called vacuum. Since on the level of wave (...)
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  • Particle Creation and Annihilation: Two Bohmian Approaches.Andrea Oldofredi - 2018 - Lato Sensu, Revue de la Société de Philosophie des Sciences 5 (1):77-85.
    This paper reviews and discusses two extensions of Bohmian Mechanics to the phenomena of particle creation and annihilation typically observed in Quantum Field Theory : the so-called Bell-type Quantum Field Theory and the Dirac Sea representation. These theories have a secure metaphysical basis as they postulate a particle ontology while satisfying the requirements imposed by the Primitive Ontology approach to quantum physics. Furthermore, their methodological perspective intentionally provides a set of rules to immunize physical theories to the conceptual and technical (...)
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  • A Persistent Particle Ontology for QFT in Terms of the Dirac Sea.Dirk-André Deckert, Michael Esfeld & Andrea Oldofredi - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    We show that the Bohmian approach in terms of persisting particles that move on continuous trajectories following a deterministic law can be literally applied to QFT. By means of the Dirac sea model – exemplified in the electron sector of the standard model neglecting radiation – we explain how starting from persisting particles, one is led to standard QFT employing creation and annihilation operators when tracking the dynamics with respect to a reference state, the so-called vacuum. Since on the level (...)
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  • Ontology for Collapse Theories.Wayne C. Myrvold - 2017 - In Shan Gao (ed.), Collapse of the Wave Function. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    In this chapter, I will discuss what it takes for a dynamical collapse theory to provide a reasonable description of the actual world. I will start with discussions of what is required, in general, of the ontology of a physical theory, and then apply it to the quantum case. One issue of interest is whether a collapse theory can be a quantum state monist theory, adding nothing to the quantum state and changing only its dynamics. Although this was one of (...)
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