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Mauro Dorato
Università degli Studi Roma Tre
  1. Grades of individuality. A pluralistic view of identity in quantum mechanics and in the sciences.Mauro Dorato & Matteo Morganti - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (3):591-610.
    This paper offers a critical assessment of the current state of the debate about the identity and individuality of material objects. Its main aim, in particular, is to show that, in a sense to be carefully specified, the opposition between the Leibnizian ‘reductionist’ tradition, based on discernibility, and the sort of ‘primitivism’ that denies that facts of identity and individuality must be analysable has become outdated. In particular, it is argued that—contrary to a widespread consensus—‘naturalised’ metaphysics supports both the acceptability (...)
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  2. Events and the Ontology of Quantum Mechanics.Mauro Dorato - 2015 - Topoi 34 (2):369-378.
    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 four-dimensional 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 (...)
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  3. Collapse Models:a theoretical, experimental and philosophical review.Mauro Dorato, Angelo Bassi & Hendrik Ulbricht - 2023 - Entropy 25 (645):1.
    In this paper, we review and connect the three essential conditions needed by the collapse model to achieve a complete and exact formulation, namely the theoretical, the experimental, and the ontological ones. These features correspond to the three parts of the paper. In any empirical science, the first two features are obviously connected but, as is well known, among the different formulations and interpretations of non-relativistic quantum mechanics, only collapse models, as the paper well illustrates with a richness of details, (...)
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  4. The irrelevance of the presentist/eternalist debate for the ontology of Minkowski spacetime.Mauro Dorato - 2006 - In Dennis Dieks (ed.), The ontology of spacetime. New York: Elsevier. pp. 93-109.
    In this paper I argue that the debate between the so-called “presentists” – according to whom only the present is real – and the “eternalists”, according to whom past present and future are equally real, has no ontological significance. In particular, once we carefully distinguish between a tensed and a tenseless sense of existence, it is difficult to find a single ontological claim on which the two parties could disagree. Since the choice of using a tense or a tenseless language (...)
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  5. Dispositions, relational properties and the quantum world.Mauro Dorato - 2017 - In Maximilien Kistler (ed.), Dispositions and Causal Powers, Routledge, 2017,. London: Routledge. pp. pp.249-270..
    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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  6. Mathematical biology and the existence of biological laws.Mauro Dorato - 2012 - In D. Dieks, S. Hartmann, T. Uebel & M. Weber (eds.), Probabilities, Laws and Structure. Springer.
    An influential position in the philosophy of biology claims that there are no biological laws, since any apparently biological generalization is either too accidental, fact-like or contingent to be named a law, or is simply reducible to physical laws that regulate electrical and chemical interactions taking place between merely physical systems. In the following I will stress a neglected aspect of the debate that emerges directly from the growing importance of mathematical models of biological phenomena. My main aim is to (...)
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  7. Properties and dispositions: Some metaphysical remarks on quantum ontology.Mauro Dorato - 2006 - American Institute of Physics (1):139-157.
    After some suggestions about how to clarify the confused metaphysical distinctions between dispositional and non-dispositional or categorical properties, I review some of the main interpretations of QM in order to show that – with the relevant exception of Bohm’s minimalist interpretation – quantum ontology is irreducibly dispositional. Such an irreducible character of dispositions must be explained differently in different interpretations, but the reducibility of the contextual properties in the case of Bohmian mechanics is guaranteed by the fact that the positions (...)
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  8. Laws of nature and the reality of the wave function.Mauro Dorato - 2015 - Synthese 192 (10):3179-3201.
    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 (...)
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  9. what ontology for relational quantum mechanics?Mauro Dorato & Matteo Morganti - 2022
    In this paper, we evaluate some proposals that can be advanced to clarify the ontological consequences of Relational Quantum Mechanics. We first focus on priority monism and ontic structural realism and argue that these views are not suitable for providing an ontological interpretation of the theory. Then, we discuss an alternative interpretation that we regard as more promising, based on so-called ‘metaphysical coherentism’, which we also connect to the idea of an event-based, or ‘flash’, ontology.
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  10. Bohr’s Relational Holism and the classical-quantum Interaction.Mauro Dorato - 2016
    In this paper I present and critically discuss the main strategies that Bohr used and could have used to fend off the charge that his interpretation does not provide a clear-cut distinction between the classical and the quantum domain. In particular, in the first part of the paper I reassess the main arguments used by Bohr to advocate the indispensability of a classical framework to refer to quantum phenomena. In this respect, by using a distinction coming from an apparently unrelated (...)
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  11. Dynamical versus structural explanations in scientific revolutions.Mauro Dorato - 2017 - Synthese 194 (7):2307-2327.
    By briefly reviewing three well-known scientific revolutions in fundamental physics (the discovery of inertia, of special relativity and of general relativity), I claim that problems that were supposed to be crying for a dynamical explanation in the old paradigm ended up receiving a structural explanation in the new one. This claim is meant to give more substance to Kuhn’s view that revolutions are accompanied by a shift in what needs to be explained, while suggesting at the same time the existence (...)
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  12. Presentism/Eternalism and Endurantism/Perdurantism: why the Unsubstantiality of the first debate implies that of the second.Mauro Dorato - 2012 - Philosophia Naturalis 49 (1):25-41.
    The main claim that I want to defend in this paper is that the there are logical equivalences between eternalism and perdurantism on the one hand and presentism and endurantism on the other. By “logical equivalence” I mean that one position is entailed and entails the other. As a consequence of this equivalence, it becomes important to inquire into the question whether the dispute between endurantists and perdurantists is authentic, given that Savitt (2006) Dolev (2006) and Dorato (2006) have cast (...)
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  13. Realism and instrumentalism about the wave function. How should we choose?Mauro Dorato & Federico Laudisa - 2014 - In Shao Gan (ed.), Protective Measurements and Quantum Reality: Toward a New Understanding of Quantum Mechanics. Cambridge University Press.
    The main claim of the paper is that one can be ‘realist’ (in some sense) about quantum mechanics without requiring any form of realism about the wave function. We begin by discussing various forms of realism about the wave function, namely Albert’s configuration-space realism, Dürr Zanghi and Goldstein’s nomological realism about Ψ, Esfeld’s dispositional reading of Ψ Pusey Barrett and Rudolph’s realism about the quantum state. By discussing the articulation of these four positions, and their interrelation, we conclude that instrumentalism (...)
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  14. On Explaining Non-dynamically the Quantum Correlations Via Quantum Information Theory: What It Takes.Laura Felline & Mauro Dorato - 2018 - In Sven Ove Hansson (ed.), Technology and Mathematics: Philosophical and Historical Investigations. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Verlag.
    Within the current mainstream research in the foundations of physics, much attention has been turned to the program of Axiomatic Reconstruction of Quantum Theory in terms of Information-Theoretic principles (ARQIT). ARQIT aims at finding a few general information-theoretic principles from which, once translated into mathematical terms, one can formally derive the structure of quantum theory. This chapter explores the role of mechanistic explanations and mathematical explanations (in particular, structural explanations) within ARQIT. With such considerations as a point of departure, we (...)
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  15. Presentism and the Experience of Time.Mauro Dorato - 2015 - Topoi 34 (1):265-275.
    Presentists have typically argued that the Block View is incapable of explaining our experience of time. In this paper I argue that the phenomenology of our experience of time is, on the contrary, against presentism. My argument is based on a dilemma: presentists must either assume that the metaphysical present has no temporal extension, or that it is temporally extended. The former horn leads to phenomenological problems. The latter renders presentism metaphysically incoherent, unless one posits a discrete present that, however, (...)
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  16. The metaphysics of laws: dispositionalism vs. primitivism.Mauro Dorato & Michael Esfeld - 2014 - In T. Bigaj & C. Wuthrich (eds.), Metaphysics and Science (tentative title). Poznan Studies.
    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 clear-cut manner in classical mechanics, it is less clear in quantum mechanics, due to quantum non-locality. 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.
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  17. Nothing to come in a relativistic setting.Mauro Dorato & Carl Hoefer - 2021 - Disputatio 13 (63):433-444.
    In this paper we critically review Correia’s and Rosenkranz’s Nothing to Come. A Defence of the Growing Block Theory of Time, published by Springer in 2018. By taking into account the essential reliance of the book on tense logic, we bring out the existence of a conflict between their logical axioms, that presuppose truth bivalence even for statements concerning future contingents, and the principle of groundedness that they also advocate. According to this principle, a proposition Q is now groundedly true (...)
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  18. Kant, Gödel and Relativity.Mauro Dorato - 2002 - In Gardenfors, Wolenski & Katarzina Kijania-Placek (eds.), In the Scope of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science, Proceedings of the Invited Lectures for the 11th International Congress of Logic Methodology and Philosophy of Science. Dordrecht: Kluwer. pp. 331-348..
    Since the onset of logical positivism, the general wisdom of the philosophy of science has it that the kantian philosophy of (space and) time has been superseded by the theory of relativity, in the same sense in which the latter has replaced Newton’s theory of absolute space and time. On the wake of Cassirer and Gödel, in this paper I raise doubts on this commonplace by suggesting some conditions that are necessary to defend the ideality of time in the sense (...)
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  19. How to combine and not to combine physics and metaphysics.Mauro Dorato - 2012 - In Dennis Dieks & Vassili Karakostas (eds.), Proceedings of the EPSA 2011.
    In this paper I will argue that if physics is to become a coherent metaphysics of nature it needs an “interpretation”. As I understand it, an interpretation of a physical theory amounts to offering (1) a precise formulation of its ontological claims and (2) a clear account of how such claims are related to the world of our experience. Notably, metaphysics enters importantly in both tasks: in (1), because interpreting our best physical theories requires going beyond a merely instrumentalist view (...)
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  20. The physical world as a blob: Is OSR really realism?: Steven French: The Structure of the World: Metaphysics and Representation. Oxford: OUP, 2014, 416pp, ₤50.00 HB.Mauro Dorato - 2016 - Metascience 25 (2):173-181.
    In my review of Steven French's The structure of the world. Metaphysics & Representation. OUP, Oxford, 2014 I argue that the author is forced to navigate between the Scilla of Tegmark’s Pitagoreanism (2008) and the Carybdis of “blobobjectivism” (Horgan and Potrč 2008), namely the claim that the whole physical universe is a single concrete structurally complex but partless cosmos (a “blob”).
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  21. The Affective and Practical Consequences of Presentism and Eternalism.Mauro Dorato - forthcoming - Argumenta.
    In the dispute between presentism and eternalism, the affective dimensions of the debate have been somewhat neglected. Contemporary philosophers of time have not tried to relate these ontological positions with two of the most discussed maxims in the history of ethics – “live in the present” vs. “look at your life under the aspect of the eternity” (sub specie aeternitatis)– that since the Hellenistic times have been regarded as strictly connected with them. Consequently, I raise the question of whether the (...)
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  22. The Naturalness of the Naturalistic Fallacy and the Ethics of Nanotechnology.Mauro Dorato - 2015 - In Sven Ove Hansson (ed.), The Role of Technology in Science: Philosophical Perspectives. Dordrecht: Springer Verlag.
    In the first part of this paper, I try to clear the ground from frequent misconceptions about the relationship between fact and value by examining some uses of the adjective “natural” in ethical controversies. Such uses bear evidence to our “natural” tendency to regard nature (considered in a descriptive sense, as the complex of physical and biological regularities) as the source of ethical norms. I then try to account for the origin of this tendency by offering three related explanations, the (...)
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  23. TRUTH, LAWS AND THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE.Mauro Dorato - 2011 - Manuscrito 34 (1):185-204.
    In this paper I analyze the difficult question of the truth of mature scientific theories by tackling the problem of the truth of laws. After introducing the main philosophical positions in the field of scientific realism, I discuss and then counter the two main arguments against realism, namely the pessimistic metainduction and the abstract and idealized character of scientific laws. I conclude by defending the view that well-confirmed physical theories are true only relatively to certain values of the variables that (...)
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  24. Ph.D.Mauro Dorato - 1993 - In Stanely Tweyman (ed.), Studies in early modern philosophy. Caravan Books Delmar. pp. 127-156.
    In this paper I sketch the evolution of the main theories of the relationship between time and motion from Descartes to Newton, by defending an hypothesis that traces back Newton’s realism about time to Barrow’s “metric realism”, which Newton developed as the claim that measuring a magnitude X implies that X exists independently of our measures.
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