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The classic, influential essay in 'descriptive metaphysics' by the distinguished English philosopher. 





This book outlines a major new theory of natural laws. The book begins with the question of whether there are any genuinely lawlike 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. 

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 spacetime manifold) of quantum mechanics? 

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 (...) 

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 (...) 

Bohmian mechanics and the Ghirardi–Rimini–Weber theory provide opposite resolutions of the quantum measurement problem: the former postulates additional variables 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 spacetime, or a discrete set of spacetime points. The (...) 

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 nonmassless 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 (...) 

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 (...) 

Bohmian mechanics and the GhirardiRiminiWeber 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 spacetime, or a discrete set of (...) 

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 (...) 

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 wavefunction that is a physical entity over and above the particles, although it is defined on configuration space instead of threedimensional space. We then enquire into the status of the (...) 



Quantum philosophy, a peculiar twentiethcentury 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 nonNewtonian, 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 (...) 

This is a selfcontained 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. 



I maintain that quantum mechanics is fundamentally about a system of N particles evolving in threedimensional space, not the wave function evolving in 3Ndimensional space. 

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 manyworlds theory. The debate, though, is far from being over: in what respect (...) 

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. (...) 

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. 

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 (...) 



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 spacetime, 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 (...) 

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 ... 



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 (...) 

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 nonmassless 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 (...) 



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 (...) 

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 (...) 





Once upon a time, the twentiethcentury investigations of the behaviors of subatomic particles were thought to have established that there can be no such thing as an objective, observerindependent, scientifically realist, empirically adequate picture of the physical world. 





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. 



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 spacetime, or a discrete set of (...) 



In relativistic quantum field theory the notion of a local operation is regarded as basic: each open spacetime 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 (...) 

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 (...) 





