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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. 

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, 3dimensional space. This manyparticle system as a whole performs random jumps through 3Ndimensional 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 (...) 

Quantum theory plays an increasingly significant role in contemporary earlyuniverse 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 (...) 

`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 (...) 

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. 

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 wellmotivated in the light of the history of science. I sketch a way of demarcating empirically wellconfirmed aspects of QM from speculative quantum metaphysics in a way that coheres with antirealist evidence from (...) 

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 (...) 

The paper provides a critical discussion of the SuperHumean 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 SuperHumeanism 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 SuperHumeanism and discuss its possible application to (...) 

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 (...) 

The primitive ontology approach to quantum mechanics seeks to account for quantum phenomena in terms of a distribution of matter in threedimensional 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 (...) 



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 (...) 

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 (...) 

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 fourdimensional 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 (...) 

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—SuperHumeanism—which posits an extremely parsimonious ontology including nothing more than propertyless matter points and their distance (...) 

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 (...) 

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 spreadout electron charge density is supported by a variety of evidence from quantum chemistry, including two methods that are used to determine atomic and (...) 

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, (...) 

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 wellestablished 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 wellestablished physical theories on the basis of (...) 

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 "multifield", in threedimensional space. In this paper, I argue that the natural framework for the multifield is the original secondorder Bohm’s theory. In this context, it is possible: i) to construe the multifield as a realvalued scalar field; ii) to explain the physical interaction between the multifield and the Bohmian particles; and iii) (...) 

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 (...) 

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 (...) 

According to the doctrine of SuperHumeanism, 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 SuperHumeanism by pointing out that it is vulnerable to and does not have the resources to solve the wellknown problem of immanent comparisons. Firstly, I show that it cannot endorse (...) 

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 (...) 

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 socalled vacuum. Since on the level of wave (...) 

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 socalled Belltype 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 (...) 

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 socalled vacuum. Since on the level (...) 

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 (...) 