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  1. 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Against the Disappearance of Spacetime in Quantum Gravity.Michael Esfeld - forthcoming - Synthese:1-15.
    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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  • Particle Creation and Annihilation: Two Bohmian Approaches.Andrea Oldofredi - unknown
    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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  • Individuality and the Account of Non-Locality: The Case for the Particle Ontology in Quantum Physics.Michael Esfeld - unknown
    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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  • 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 - 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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