Scientific Realism and Primitive Ontology Or: The Pessimistic Induction and the Nature of the Wave Function

Lato Sensu 1 (5):69-76 (2018)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
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 function does not represent physical entities. In this paper, I argue that the primitive ontology approach can naturally be interpreted as an instance of the so-called ‘explanationism’ realism, which has been proposed as a response to the pessimistic-meta induction argument against scientific realism. If my arguments are sound, then one could conclude that: (1) contrarily to what is commonly though, if explanationism realism is a good response to the pessimistic-meta induction argument, it can be straightforwardly extended also to the quantum domain; (2) the primitive ontology approach is in better shape than the wave function ontology approach in resisting the pessimistic-meta induction argument against scientific realism.
Reprint years
2018
PhilPapers/Archive ID
ALLSRA-8
Revision history
Archival date: 2017-10-10
View upload history
References found in this work BETA
Structural Realism.Ladyman, James

View all 50 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Added to PP index
2016-11-02

Total views
106 ( #25,196 of 42,226 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
32 ( #20,131 of 42,226 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.