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This paper critically assesses whether quantum entanglement can be made compatible with Humean supervenience. After reviewing the prima facie tension between entanglement and Humeanism, I outline a recentlyproposed Humean response, and argue that it is subject to two problems: one concerning the determinacy of quantities, and one concerning its relationship to scientific practice. 

A simple argument proposes a direct link between realism about quantum mechanics and one kind of metaphysical holism: if elementary quantum theory is at least approximately true, then there are entangled systems with intrinsic whole states for which the intrinsic properties and spatiotemporal arrangements of salient subsystem parts do not suffice. Initially, the proposal is compelling: we can find variations on such reasoning throughout influential discussions of entanglement. Upon further consideration, though, this simple argument proves a bit too simple. To (...) 

Humeanism about laws of nature — the view that the laws reduce to the Humean mosaic — is a popular view, but currently existing versions face powerful objections. The nonsupervenience objection, the nonfundamentality objection and the explanatory circularity objection have all been thought to cause problems for the Humean. However, these objections share a guiding thought — they are all based on the idea that there is a certain kind of divergence between the practice of science and the metaphysical picture (...) 

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 (...) 

A simple argument proposes a direct link between realism about quantum mechanics and one kind of metaphysical holism: if elementary quantum theory is at least approximately true, then there are entangled systems with intrinsic whole states for which the intrinsic properties and spatiotemporal arrangements of salient subsystem parts do not suffice. Initially, the proposal is compelling: we can find variations on such reasoning throughout influential discussions of entanglement. Upon further consideration, though, this simple argument proves a bit too simple. To (...) 

A century after the discovery of quantum mechanics, the meaning of quantum mechanics still remains elusive. This is largely due to the puzzling nature of the wave function, the central object in quantum mechanics. If we are realists about quantum mechanics, how should we understand the wave function? What does it represent? What is its physical meaning? Answering these questions would improve our understanding of what it means to be a realist about quantum mechanics. In this survey article, I review (...) 

This paper reviews the structure of standard quantum mechanics, introducing the basics of the von NeumannDirac axiomatic formulation as well as the wellknown Copenhagen interpretation. We review also the major conceptual difficulties arising from this theory, first and foremost, the wellknown measurement problem. The main aim of this essay is to show the possibility to solve the conundrums affecting quantum mechanics via the methodology provided by the primitive ontology approach. Using Bohmian mechanics as an example, the paper argues for a (...) 

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 (...) 

In a quantum universe with a strong arrow of time, it is standard to postulate that the initial wave function started in a particular macrostatethe special lowentropy 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 (...) 

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 (...) 



In a quantum universe with a strong arrow of time, we postulate a lowentropy 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 (...) 

The paper uses the concept of typicality to spell out an argument against Humean supervenience and the best system account of laws. It proves that, in a very general and robust sense, almost all possible Humean worlds have no Humean laws. They are worlds of irreducible complexity that do not allow for any systematization. After explaining typicality reasoning in general, the implications of this result for the metaphysics of laws are discussed in detail. 

Quantum mechanics allegedly supports a holistic metaphysical moral: it is not the case that the intrinsic characters of all entangled wholes supervene on intrinsic properties and spatiotemporal arrangements of proper parts. According to one influential line of reasoning, such holistic supervenience failure follows more or less directly from quantum theory itself. One advertised consequence is the defeat of a natural, broadly reductive worldview commonly linked to Lewis's philosophical doctrine of Humean supervenience. However, the situation is more complicated, in both this (...) 

Monism is roughly the view that there is only one fundamental entity. One of the most powerful argument in its favor comes from quantum mechanics. Extant discussions of quantum monism are framed independently of any interpretation of the quantum theory. In contrast, this paper argues that matters of interpretation play a crucial role when assessing the viability of monism in the quantum realm. I consider four different interpretations: modal interpretations, Bohmian mechanics, many worlds interpretations, and wavefunction realism. In particular, I (...) 

`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 mathematical structure of realist quantum theories has given rise to a debate about how our ordinary 3dimensional space is related to the 3Ndimensional configuration space on which the wave function is defined. Which of the two spaces is our (more) fundamental physical space? I review the debate between 3NFundamentalists and 3DFundamentalists and evaluate it based on three criteria. I argue that when we consider which view leads to a deeper understanding of the physical world, especially given the deeper topological (...) 

The article sets out a primitive ontology of the natural world in terms of primitive stuff—that is, stuff that has as such no physical properties at all—but that is not a bare substratum either, being individuated by metrical relations. We focus on quantum physics and employ identitybased Bohmian mechanics to illustrate this view, but point out that it applies all over physics. Properties then enter into the picture exclusively through the role that they play for the dynamics of the primitive (...) 

SuperHumeanism is an even more parsimonious ontology than Lewisian standard Humean metaphysics in that it rejects intrinsic properties. There are point objects, but all there is to them are their relative positions and the change of them. Everything else supervenes on the Humean mosaic thus conceived. Hence, dynamical parameters come in on a par with the laws through their position in the best system. The paper sets out how SuperHumeanism has the conceptual means to reject van Inwagen’s consequence argument not (...) 

This article argues for a revised best system account of laws of nature. David Lewis’s original BSA has two main elements. On the one hand, there is the Humean base, which is the totality of particular matters of fact that obtain in the history of the universe. On the other hand, there is what I call the ‘nomic formula’, which is a particular operation that gets applied to the Humean base in order to output the laws of nature. My revised (...) 

It has recently been argued that indeterminacy and indeterminism make most ordinary counterfactuals false. I argue that a plausible way to avoid such counterfactual skepticism is to postulate the existence of primitive modal facts that serve as truthmakers for counterfactual claims. Moreover, I defend a new theory of ‘might’ counterfactuals, and develop assertability and knowledge criteria to suit such unobservable ‘counterfacts’. 

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. 

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 selfinteraction problem in the context of the classical field theory. To demonstrate the superiority of a pure particle ontology, I defend (...) 



This paper critically assesses whether quantum entanglement can be made compatible with Humean supervenience. After reviewing the prima facie tension between entanglement and Humeanism, I outline a recentlyproposed Humean response, and argue that it is subject to two problems: one concerning the determinacy of quantities, and one concerning its relationship to scientific practice. 

One of the main challenges confronting Humean accounts of natural law is that Humean laws appear to be unable to play the explanatory role of laws in scientific practice. The worry is roughly that if the laws are just regularities in the particular matters of fact (as the Humean would have it), then they cannot also explain the particular matters of fact, on pain of circularity. Loewer (2012) has defended Humeanism, arguing that this worry only arises if we fail to (...) 

John Bell proposed an ontology for the GRW modification of quantum mechanics in terms of flashes occurring at space time points. This article spells out the motivation for this ontology, inquires into the status of the wave function in it, critically examines the claim of its being Lorentz invariant, and considers whether it is a parsimonious but nevertheless physically adequate ontology. 

In this paper I wish to connect the recent debate in the philosophy of quantum mechanics concerning the nature of the wave function to the historical debate in the philosophy of science regarding the tenability of scientific realism. Being realist about quantum mechanics is particularly challenging when focusing on the wave function. According to the wave function ontology approach, the wave function is a concrete physical entity. In contrast, according to an alternative viewpoint, namely the primitive ontology approach, the wave (...) 

In this paper, I discuss whether the results of loop quantum gravity constitute a fatal blow to Humeanism. There is at least a prima facie reason for believing so: while Humeanism regards spatiotemporal relations as fundamental, LQG describes the fundamental layer of our reality in terms of spin networks, which are not in spacetime. However, the question should be tackled more carefully. After explaining the importance of the debate on the tenability of Humeanism in light of LQG, and having presented (...) 

The paper argues for a metaphysics in the vein of the Canberra plan, namely to single out a minimal, basic set of entities and then to show how everything else is located in that set by being identical with something in that set and how the propositions that describe the basic entities entail all the other true propositions. The paper conceives the Canberra plan for the domain of the natural sciences as a naturalized metaphysics that is not committed to a (...) 

The paper shows how the Bohmian approach to quantum physics can be applied to develop a clear and coherent ontology of nonperturbative quantum gravity. We suggest retaining discrete objects as the primitive ontology also when it comes to a quantum theory of spacetime and therefore focus on loop quantum gravity. We conceive atoms of space, represented in terms of nodes linked by edges in a graph, as the primitive ontology of the theory and show how a nonlocal law in which (...) 

This paper elaborates on relationalism about space and time as motivated by a minimalist ontology of the physical world: there are only matter points that are individuated by the distance relations among them, with these relations changing. We assess two strategies to combine this ontology with physics, using classical mechanics as example: the Humean strategy adopts the standard, nonrelationalist physical theories as they stand and interprets their formal apparatus as the means of bookkeeping of the change of the distance relations (...) 

In this paper, I introduce an intrinsic account of the quantum state. This account contains three desirable features that the standard platonistic account lacks: (1) it does not refer to any abstract mathematical objects such as complex numbers, (2) it is independent of the usual arbitrary conventions in the wave function representation, and (3) it explains why the quantum state has its amplitude and phase degrees of freedom. / Consequently, this account extends Hartry Field’s program outlined in Science Without Numbers (...) 

Are submergence and submergent properties metaphysically possible? This is a substantive question that has been either utterly neglected or quickly answered in the negative. This neglect is not only significant in itself; the possibility of submergence plays a crucial role in hotly debated topics in metaphysics, for example, the debate over Monism and Pluralism. This paper is intended to prompt a discussion about metaphysical submergence. In particular I will provide examples of submergent properties, argue that these are metaphysically possible and (...) 

An ontology of Leibnizian relationalism, consisting in distance relations among sparse matter points and their change only, is well recognized as a serious option in the context of classical mechanics. In this paper, we investigate how this ontology fares when it comes to general relativistic physics. Using a Humean strategy, we regard the gravitational field as a means to represent the overall change in the distance relations among point particles in a way that achieves the best combination of being simple (...) 

Is the quantum state part of the furniture of the world? Einstein found such a position indigestible, but here I present a different understanding of the wavefunction that is easy to stomach. First, I develop the idea that the wavefunction is nomological in nature, showing how the quantum It or Bit debate gets subsumed by the corresponding It or Bit debate about laws of nature. Second, I motivate the nomological view by casting quantum mechanics in a “classical” formalism (Hamilton–Jacobi theory) (...) 

The paper explains in what sense the GRW matter density theory is a primitive ontology theory of quantum mechanics and why, thus conceived, the standard objections against the GRW formalism do not apply to GRWm. We consider the different options for conceiving the quantum state in GRWm and argue that dispositionalism is the most attractive one. 

The paper seeks to make progress from stating primitive ontology theories of quantum physics – notably Bohmian mechanics, the GRW matter density theory and the GRW flash theory – to assessing these theories. Four criteria are set out: internal coherence; empirical adequacy; relationship to other theories; explanatory value. The paper argues that the stock objections against these theories do not withstand scrutiny. Its focus then is on their explanatory value: they pursue different strategies to ground the textbook formalism of quantum (...) 

Fictional realists maintain that fictional characters are part of the world’s ontology. In an influential article, Anthony Everett argues that the fictional realist is thereby committing herself to problematic entities. Among these are entities that are indeterminately identical. Recently, Ross Cameron and Richard Woodward have answered Everett’s worry using the same strategy. They argue that the fictional realist can bypass the problematic identities by contending that they are merely semantically indeterminate. This paper concisely surveys Everett’s original argument, Cameron’s and Woodward’s (...) 

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 wellknown 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 (...) 

The paper compares dispositionalism about laws of nature with primitivism. It argues that while the distinction between these two positions can be drawn in a clearcut manner in classical mechanics, it is less clear in quantum mechanics, due to quantum nonlocality. Nonetheless, the paper points out advantages for dispositionalism in comparison to primitivism also in the area of quantum mechanics, and of contemporary physics in general. 

This chapter outlines a metaphysics of science in the sense of a naturalized metaphysics. It considers in the first place the interplay of physics and metaphysics in Newtonian mechanics, then goes into the issues for the metaphysics of time that relativity physics raises, shows that what one considers as the referent of quantum theory depends on metaphysical considerations and finally explains how the stance that one takes with respect to objective modality and laws of nature shapes the options that are (...) 

Quantum entanglement has long been thought to be have deep metaphysical consequences. For example, it has been claimed to show that Humean supervenience is false or to involve a novel form of ontological holism. One way to avoid confronting the metaphysical consequences is to adopt some form of antirealism. In this paper we discuss two prominent strands in recent literature—wavefunction realism and “SuperHumeanism”—that appear quite different, but, as we see it, are instances of a more general strategy. In effect, what (...) 

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 (...) 

Philosophers of science spend a lot of time “interpreting” scientific theories. In this paper, I try to get a handle on what it is they might be up to. My main contention is that a certain picture of interpretation is widespread in contemporary philosophy of science: a picture according to which interpretation of theories is relevantly analogous to the interpretation of foreign literature. On this picture, which we might call the external account of theoryinterpretation, meaning is to be imported into (...) 

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; (...) 

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 (...) 

The wave function in quantum mechanics presents an interesting challenge to our understanding of the physical world. In this paper, I show that the wave function can be understood as four intrinsic relations on physical space. My account has three desirable features that the standard account lacks: it does not refer to any abstract mathematical objects, it is free from the usual arbitrary conventions, and it explains why the wave function has its gauge degrees of freedom, something that are usually (...) 

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 (...) 