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Events and the Ontology of Quantum Mechanics

Topoi 34 (2):369-378 (2015)

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  1. Quantum Field Theory.Meinard Kuhlmann - 2012 - The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Quantum Field Theory (QFT) is the mathematical and conceptual framework for contemporary elementary particle physics. In a rather informal sense QFT is the extension of quantum mechanics (QM), dealing with particles, over to fields, i.e. systems with an infinite number of degrees of freedom. (See the entry on quantum mechanics.) In the last few years QFT has become a more widely discussed topic in philosophy of science, with questions ranging from methodology and semantics to ontology. QFT taken seriously in its (...)
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  • Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized.James Ladyman & Don Ross - 2007 - In James Ladyman, Don Ross, David Spurrett & John Collier (eds.), Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized. Oxford University Press.
    This book argues that the only kind of metaphysics that can contribute to objective knowledge is one based specifically on contemporary science as it really is, and not on philosophers' a priori intuitions, common sense, or simplifications of science. In addition to showing how recent metaphysics has drifted away from connection with all other serious scholarly inquiry as a result of not heeding this restriction, this book demonstrates how to build a metaphysics compatible with current fundamental physics, which, when combined (...)
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  • Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized.James Ladyman & Don Ross - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
    Every Thing Must Go aruges that the only kind of metaphysics that can contribute to objective knowledge is one based specifically on contemporary science as it ...
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  • Quantum Mechanics and 3N‐Dimensional Space.Bradley Monton - 2006 - Philosophy of Science 73 (5):778-789.
    I maintain that quantum mechanics is fundamentally about a system of N particles evolving in three-dimensional space, not the wave function evolving in 3N-dimensional space.
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  • The Physics and Metaphysics of Primitive Stuff.Michael Esfeld, Dustin Lazarovici, Vincent Lam & Mario Hubert - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (1):133-61.
    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 identity-based 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 (...)
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  • The Ontology of Bohmian Mechanics.M. Esfeld, D. Lazarovici, Mario Hubert & D. Durr - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (4):773-796.
    The paper points out that the modern formulation of Bohm’s quantum theory known as Bohmian mechanics is committed only to particles’ positions and a law of motion. We explain how this view can avoid the open questions that the traditional view faces according to which Bohm’s theory is committed to a wave-function that is a physical entity over and above the particles, although it is defined on configuration space instead of three-dimensional space. We then enquire into the status of the (...)
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  • Becoming, Relativity and Locality.Dennis Dieks - unknown
    It is a central aspect of our ordinary concept of time that history unfolds and events come into being. It is only natural to take this seriously. However, it is notoriously difficult to explain further what this `becoming' consists in, or even to show that the notion is consistent at all. In this article I first argue that the idea of a global temporal ordering, involving a succession of cosmic nows, is not indispensable for our concept of time. Our experience (...)
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  • Events as Property Exemplifications.Jaegwon Kim - 1976 - In M. Brand & D. Walton (eds.), Action Theory. D. Reidel. pp. 310-326.
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  • On the Common Structure of Bohmian Mechanics and the Ghirardi–Rimini–Weber Theory Dedicated to GianCarlo Ghirardi on the Occasion of His 70th Birthday.Valia Allori, Sheldon Goldstein, Roderich Tumulka & Nino Zanghi - 2008 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (3):353 - 389.
    Bohmian mechanics and the Ghirardi-Rimini-Weber theory provide opposite resolutions of the quantum measurement problem: the former postulates additional variables (the particle positions) besides the wave function, whereas the latter implements spontaneous collapses of the wave function by a nonlinear and stochastic modification of Schrödinger's equation. Still, both theories, when understood appropriately, share the following structure: They are ultimately not about wave functions but about 'matter' moving in space, represented by either particle trajectories, fields on space-time, or a discrete set of (...)
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  • Primitive Ontology and the Structure of Fundamental Physical Theories.Valia Allori - 2013 - In Alyssa Ney & David Z. Albert (eds.), The Wave Function: Essays in the Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics. Oxford University Press.
    For a long time it was believed that it was impossible to be realist about quantum mechanics. It took quite a while for the researchers in the foundations of physics, beginning with John Stuart Bell [Bell 1987], to convince others that such an alleged impossibility had no foundation. Nowadays there are several quantum theories that can be interpreted realistically, among which Bohmian mechanics, the GRW theory, and the many-worlds theory. The debate, though, is far from being over: in what respect (...)
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  • Rovelli’s Relational Quantum Mechanics, Anti-Monism and Quantum Becoming.Mauro Dorato - unknown
    In this paper I present and defend Rovelli's relation quantum mechanics from some foreseeable objections, so as to clarify its philosophical implications vis a vis rival interpretations. In particular I will ask whether RQM presupposes a hidden recourse to both a duality of evolutions and of ontology. I then concentrate on the pluralistic, antimonistic metaphysical consequences of the theory, due to the impossibility of assigning a state to the quantum universe. Finally, in the last section I note interesting consequences of (...)
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  • Absolute Becoming, Relational Becoming, and the Arrow of Time.Mauro Dorato - unknown
    My first and main claim is that physics cannot provide empirical evidence for the objectivity of absolute becoming, for the simple reason that it must presuppose it, at least to the extent that classical spacetime theories presuppose an ontology of events. However, the fact that a theory of absolute becoming must be situated in the a priori realm of metaphysics does not make becoming completely irrelevant for physics, since my second claim will consist in showing that relational becoming, once appropriately (...)
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  • The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.David Bohm - 1964 - Philosophical Quarterly 14 (57):377-379.
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  • GRW as an Ontology of Dispositions.Mauro Dorato & Michael Esfeld - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 41 (1):41-49.
    The paper argues that the formulation of quantum mechanics proposed by Ghirardi, Rimini and Weber (GRW) is a serious candidate for being a fundamental physical theory and explores its ontological commitments from this perspective. In particular, we propose to conceive of spatial superpositions of non-massless microsystems as dispositions or powers, more precisely propensities, to generate spontaneous localizations. We set out five reasons for this view, namely that (1) it provides for a clear sense in which quantum systems in entangled states (...)
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  • Dispositions, Relational Properties and the Quantum World.Mauro Dorato - unknown
    In this paper I examine the role of dispositional properties in the most frequently discussed interpretations of non-relativistic quantum mechanics. After offering some motivation for this project, I briefly characterize the distinction between non-dispositional and dispositional properties in the context of quantum mechanics by suggesting a necessary condition for dispositionality – namely contextuality – and, consequently, a sufficient condition for non-dispositionality, namely non-contextuality. Having made sure that the distinction is conceptually sound, I then analyze the plausibility of the widespread, monistic (...)
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  • Many Worlds: An Introduction.Simon Saunders - unknown
    This is a self-contained introduction to the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics. It is the introductory chapter of Many Worlds? Everett, quantum theory, and reality, S. Saunders, J. Barrett, A. Kent, and D. Wallace, Oxford University Press.
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  • Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics: Collected Papers on Quantum Philosophy.J. S. Bell - 2004 - Cambridge University Press.
    This book comprises all of John Bell's published and unpublished papers in the field of quantum mechanics, including two papers that appeared after the first edition was published. It also contains a preface written for the first edition, and an introduction by Alain Aspect that puts into context Bell's great contribution to the quantum philosophy debate. One of the leading expositors and interpreters of modern quantum theory, John Bell played a major role in the development of our current understanding of (...)
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  • The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.
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  • Laws in Nature.Stephen Mumford - 2002 - Routledge.
    This book outlines a major new theory of natural laws. The book begins with the question of whether there are any genuinely law-like phenomena in nature. The discussion addresses questions currently being debated by metaphysicians such as whether the laws of nature are necessary or contingent and whether a property can be identified independently of its causal role.
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  • Relational Quantum Mechanics.Carlo Rovelli - 1996 - International Journal of Theoretical Physics 35 (8):1637--1678.
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  • Relational Quantum Mechanics.Federico Laudisa - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Relational quantum mechanics is an interpretation of quantum theory which discards the notions of absolute state of a system, absolute value of its physical quantities, or absolute event. The theory describes only the way systems affect each other in the course of physical interactions. State and physical quantities refer always to the interaction, or the relation, between two systems. Nevertheless, the theory is assumed to be complete. The physical content of quantum theory is understood as expressing the net of relations (...)
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  • The Nature of Time.Ulrich Meyer - 2013 - Clarendon Press.
    Ulrich Meyer defends a novel theory about the nature of time, and argues against the consensus view that time and space are fundamentally alike. He presents the first comprehensive defense of a 'modal' account, which emphasizes the similarities between times and possible worlds in modal logic, and is easily reconciled with the theory of relativity.
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  • Individuals: An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics.James Cargile - 1959 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 38 (2):320-323.
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  • How Is Quantum Field Theory Possible?M. Redhead - 1998 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49 (3):499-507.
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  • On the Sharpness of Localization of Individual Events in Space and Time.Rudolf Haag - 2013 - Foundations of Physics 43 (11):1295-1313.
    The concept of event provides the essential bridge from the realm of virtuality of the quantum state to real phenomena in space and time. We ask how much we can gather from existing theory about the localization of an event and point out that decoherence and coarse graining—though important—do not suffice for a consistent interpretation without the additional principle of random realization.
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  • Quantum Physics Without Quantum Philosophy.Detlef Dürr, Sheldon Goldstein & Nino Zanghì - 1995 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 26 (2):137-149.
    Quantum philosophy, a peculiar twentieth-century malady, is responsible for most of the conceptual muddle plaguing the foundations of quantum physics. When this philosophy is eschewed, one naturally arrives at Bohmian mechanics, which is what emerges from Schrodinger's equation for a nonrelativistic system of particles when we merely insist that 'particles' means particles. While distinctly non-Newtonian, Bohmian mechanics is a fully deterministic theory of particles in motion, a motion choreographed by the wave function. The quantum formalism emerges when measurement situations are (...)
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  • Individuals: An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics.P. F. Strawson - 1959 - Routledge.
    The classic, influential essay in 'descriptive metaphysics' by the distinguished English philosopher.
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  • GRW as an Ontology of Dispositions.Mauro Dorato & Michael Esfeld - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 41 (1):41-49.
    The paper argues that the formulation of quantum mechanics proposed by Ghirardi, Rimini and Weber is a serious candidate for being a fundamental physical theory and explores its ontological commitments from this perspective. In particular, we propose to conceive of spatial superpositions of non-massless microsystems as dispositions or powers, more precisely propensities, to generate spontaneous localizations. We set out five reasons for this view, namely that it provides for a clear sense in which quantum systems in entangled states possess properties (...)
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  • Many Worlds?: Everett, Quantum Theory, & Reality.Simon Saunders, Jonathan Barrett, Adrian Kent & David Wallace (eds.) - 2010 - Oxford University Press UK.
    What would it mean to apply quantum theory, without restriction and without involving any notion of measurement and state reduction, to the whole universe? What would realism about the quantum state then imply? This book brings together an illustrious team of philosophers and physicists to debate these questions. The contributors broadly agree on the need, or aspiration, for a realist theory that unites micro- and macro-worlds. But they disagree on what this implies. Some argue that if unitary quantum evolution has (...)
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  • Events.David Lewis - 1986 - In Philosophical Papers Vol. II. Oxford University Press. pp. 241-269.
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  • The Wave Function: Essays in the Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics.Alyssa Ney & David Z. Albert (eds.) - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
    This is a new volume of original essays on the metaphysics of quantum mechanics. The essays address questions such as: What fundamental metaphysics is best motivated by quantum mechanics? What is the ontological status of the wave function? What is the nature of the fundamental space (or space-time manifold) of quantum mechanics?
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  • Quantum Mechanics for Event Ontologists.Thomas Pashby - unknown
    In an event ontology, matter is 'made up of' events. This provides a distinctive foil to the standard view of a quantum state in terms of properties possessed by a system. Here I provide an argument against the standard view and suggest instead a way to conceive of quantum mechanics in terms of probabilities for the occurrence of events localized in space and time. To that end I construct an appropriate probability space for these events and give a way to (...)
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  • Quantum Physics Without Quantum Philosophy.Detlef Dürr, Sheldon Goldstein & Nino Zanghì - 1995 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 26 (2):137-149.
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  • Describing the Macroscopic World: Closing the Circle Within the Dynamical Reduction Program. [REVIEW]G. C. Ghirardi, R. Grassi & F. Benatti - 1995 - Foundations of Physics 25 (1):5-38.
    With reference to recently proposed theoretical models accounting for reduction in terms of a unified dynamics governing all physical processes, we analyze the problem of working out a worldview accommodating our knowledge about natural phenomena. We stress the relevant conceptual differences between the considered models and standard quantum mechanics. In spite of the fact that both theories describe systems within a genuine Hilbert space framework, the peculiar features of the spontaneous reduction models limit drastically the states which are dynamically stable. (...)
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  • Unremarkable Contextualism: Dispositions in the Bohm Theory. [REVIEW]Constantine Pagonis & Rob Clifton - 1995 - Foundations of Physics 25 (2):281-296.
    One way to characterize dispositions is to take them to be reducible to categorical properties plus experimental arrangements. We argue that this view applied to Bohm 's ontological interpretation of quantum theory provides a good picture of the unremarkable nature of spin in that interpretation, and so explains how a simple realism of possessed values may be retained in the face of Kochen and Specker's theorem. With this in mind we discuss Redhead's influential analysis of Kochen and Specker's theorem which (...)
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  • States of Affairs Again.Roderick M. Chisholm - 1971 - Noûs 5 (2):179-189.
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  • How is Quantum Field Theory Possible?Sunny Y. Auyang - 1995 - Oxford University Press.
    Quantum field theory (QFT) combines quantum mechanics with Einstein's special theory of relativity and underlies elementary particle physics. This book presents a philosophical analysis of QFT. It is the first treatise in which the philosophies of space-time, quantum phenomena, and particle interactions are encompassed in a unified framework. Describing the physics in nontechnical terms, and schematically illustrating complex ideas, the book also serves as an introduction to fundamental physical theories. The philosophical interpretation both upholds the reality of the quantum world (...)
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  • Absolute Becoming, Relational Becoming and the Arrow of Time: Some Non-Conventional Remarks on the Relationship Between Physics and Metaphysics.Mauro Dorato - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 37 (3):559-576.
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  • Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man.Wilfrid S. Sellars - 1962 - In Robert Colodny (ed.), Science, Perception, and Reality. Humanities Press/Ridgeview. pp. 35-78.
    The aim of philosophy, abstractly formulated, is to understand how things in the broadest possible sense of the term hang together in the broadest possible sense of the term. Under 'things in the broadest possible sense' I include such radically different items as not only 'cabbages and kings', but numbers and duties, possibilities and finger snaps, aesthetic experience and death. To achieve success in philosophy would be, to use a contemporary turn of phrase, to 'know one's way around' with respect (...)
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  • Can the World Be Only Wavefunction?Tim Maudlin - 2010 - In Simon Saunders, Jonathan Barrett, Adrian Kent & David Wallace (eds.), Many Worlds?: Everett, Quantum Theory & Reality. Oxford University Press.
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  • Ontological Reduction and the Wave Function Ontology.Alyssa Ney - 2013 - In Alyssa Ney & David Z. Albert (eds.), The Wave Function: Essays on the Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics. Oxford University Press. pp. 168-183.
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  • Elementary Quantum Metaphysics.David Albert - 1996 - In J. T. Cushing, Arthur Fine & Sheldon Goldstein (eds.), Bohmian Mechanics and Quantum theory: An Appraisal. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 277-284.
    Once upon a time, the twentieth-century investigations of the behaviors of sub-atomic particles were thought to have established that there can be no such thing as an objective, observer-independent, scientifically realist, empirically adequate picture of the physical world.
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  • Sneaking a Look at God's Cards Unraveling the Mysteries of Quantum Mechanics.G. C. Ghirardi - 2004
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  • A Limited Defense of Passage.Steven F. Savitt - 2001 - American Philosophical Quarterly 38 (3):261 - 270.
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  • A Relativistic Version of the Ghirardi–Rimini–Weber Model.Roderich Tumulka - 2006 - Journal of Statistical Physics 125:821-840.
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  • Events and Covariance in the Interpretation of Quantum Field Theory.Dennis Dieks - unknown
    In relativistic quantum field theory the notion of a local operation is regarded as basic: each open space-time region is associated with an algebra of observables representing possible measurements performed within this region. It is much more difficult to accommodate the notions of events taking place in such regions or of localized objects. But how can the notion of a local operation be basic in the theory if this same theory would not be able to represent localized measuring devices and (...)
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  • Niels Bohr His Heritage and Legacy : An Anti-Realist View of Quantum Mechanics.Jan Faye - 1991
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  • Niels Bohr: His Heritage and Legacy.Jan Faye - 1991 - Kluwer Academic Publishers.
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