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  1. ‘Thing’ and ‘Non-Thing’ Ontologies.Esfeld Michael - forthcoming - In Ricki Leigh Bliss & James Miller (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metametaphysics.
    Thing ontologies are ontologies that consider the universe to be made up of a plurality of discrete objects. Non-thing ontologies can take the form of ontologies of discrete objects, too, but not necessarily so: they can also be conceived as ontologies of one continuous object. The paper considers the central versions of ontologies of discrete objects first, starting with thing ontologies, moving from there to non-thing ontologies of discrete objects and finally ontologies of one continuous object.
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  • Varieties of Humeanism: An Introduction.László Kocsis, Tamás Demeter & Iulian D. Toader - 2021 - Synthese 199 (Humeanisms):15069-15086.
  • Super-Humeanism and Physics: A Merry Relationship?Vera Matarese - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):791-813.
    Humeanism started life as a metaphysical program that could turn out to be false if our best physical theories were to postulate ontological features at odds with Humean ones. However, even if this has arguably already happened, Humeanism is still considered one of the strongest and most appealing metaphysical theories for describing the physical world. What is even more surprising is that a radical Humean thesis—Super-Humeanism—which posits an extremely parsimonious ontology including nothing more than propertyless matter points and their distance (...)
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  • On entanglement as a relation.Enrico Cinti, Alberto Corti & Marco Sanchioni - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (1):1-29.
    This paper aims to characterise properly entanglement as an external relation obtaining between multiple quantum degrees of freedom. In particular, we argue that the entanglement relation is a unique relation fully characterised by mutual information, i.e. a quantity standardly used as a measure of entanglement. This analysis leads us to propose a new metaphysical account of entanglement, which we call Relational Entanglement Tesseract. Such an account characterises entanglement for both bipartite and multipartite cases, and, at the same time, it satisfies (...)
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  • Realism About the Wave Function.Eddy Keming Chen - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (7).
    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 (...)
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  • Reconciling Ontic Structural Realism and Ontological Emergence.João L. Cordovil, Gil C. Santos & John Symons - forthcoming - Foundations of Science:1-20.
    While ontic structural realism has been a central topic in contemporary philosophy of science, the relation between OSR and the concept of emergence has received little attention. We will argue that OSR is fully compatible with emergentism. The denial of ontological emergence requires additional assumptions that, strictly speaking, go beyond OSR. We call these physicalist closure assumptions. We will explain these assumptions and show that they are independent of the central commitments of OSR and inconsistent with its core goals. Recognizing (...)
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  • Quantum Mechanics in a Time-Asymmetric Universe: On the Nature of the Initial Quantum State.Eddy Keming Chen - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (4):1155–1183.
    In a quantum universe with a strong arrow of time, we postulate a low-entropy 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 (...)
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  • Super-Humeanism and free will.Michael Esfeld - 2019 - Synthese 198 (7):6245-6258.
    Super-Humeanism 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 Super-Humeanism has the conceptual means to reject van Inwagen’s consequence argument not (...)
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  • Quantum Pointillism with Relational Identity.Jorge Manero - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):10639-10666.
    The feasibility of establishing a proper notion of a distinguishable object in the context of the de Broglie–Bohm approach to quantum mechanics seems, at first sight, uncontroversial by virtue of the fact that this theory can supposedly be interpreted in terms of a system of objective particles distinguished by individuating properties. However, after conducting a critical revision and evaluation of this trivial interpretation, and having assessed different alternatives that have been proposed in recent literature, I argue that within this theory (...)
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  • Humean Nomic Essentialism.Harjit Bhogal & Zee R. Perry - forthcoming - Noûs.
    Humeanism -- the idea that there are no necessary connections between distinct existences -- and Nomic Essentialism -- the idea that properties essentially play the nomic roles that they do -- are two of the most important and influential positions in the metaphysics of science. Traditionally, it has been thought that these positions were incompatible competitors. We disagree. We argue that there is an attractive version of Humeanism that captures the idea that, for example, mass essentially plays the role that (...)
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  • An apology for conflicts between metaphysics and science in naturalized metaphysics.Rasmus Jaksland - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (3):1-24.
    According to naturalized metaphysics, metaphysics should be informed by our current best science and not rely on a priori reasoning. Consequently, naturalized metaphysics tends to dismiss metaphysicians’ attempts to quarrel with science. This paper argues that naturalized metaphysics should instead welcome such conflicts between metaphysics and science. Naturalized metaphysics is not eliminative of metaphysics. So, if such conflicts are driven by the immediate absence in science of an answer to a metaphysical question, then the conflict should not be dismissed, but (...)
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  • Quantum Entanglement: A Hylomorphic Account.Matteo Morganti - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 11):2773-2793.
    In this paper, it is argued that Aristotelian hylomorphism can supply a useful and informative account of composite entities as these are described by physical theory. In particular, a hylomorphic account of quantum entangled systems is defined in detail, and compared to other alternatives currently on offer—in particular, ontic structural realism. In closing, it is suggested that the view of entanglement outlined here meshes well with a recently proposed ‘coherentist’ conception.
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  • A Refined Propensity Account for GRW Theory.Lorenzo Lorenzetti - 2021 - Foundations of Physics 51 (2):1-20.
    Spontaneous collapse theories of quantum mechanics turn the usual Schrödinger equation into a stochastic dynamical law. In particular, in this paper, I will focus on the GRW theory. Two philosophical issues that can be raised about GRW concern (i) the ontology of the theory, in particular the nature of the wave function and its role within the theory, and (ii) the interpretation of the objective probabilities involved in the dynamics of the theory. During the last years, it has been claimed (...)
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  • Quantum ontology without speculation.Matthias Egg - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (1):1-26.
    Existing proposals concerning the ontology of quantum mechanics either involve speculation that goes beyond the scientific evidence or abandon realism about large parts of QM. This paper proposes a way out of this dilemma, by showing that QM as it is formulated in standard textbooks allows for a much more substantive ontological commitment than is usually acknowledged. For this purpose, I defend a non-fundamentalist approach to ontology, which is then applied to various aspects of QM. In particular, I will defend (...)
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  • From the Measurement Problem to the Primitive Ontology Programme.Michael Esfeld - unknown
    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.
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  • Time's Arrow in a Quantum Universe: On the Status of Statistical Mechanical Probabilities.Eddy Keming Chen - 2020 - In Valia Allori (ed.), Statistical Mechanics and Scientific Explanation: Determinism, Indeterminism and Laws of Nature. World Scientific. pp. 479–515.
    In a quantum universe with a strong arrow of time, it is standard to postulate that the initial wave function started in a particular macrostate---the special low-entropy 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 (...)
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  • Super-Humeanism: The Canberra Plan for Physics.Michael Esfeld - unknown
    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 (...)
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  • Super-Humeanism: A Starving Ontology.Dustin Lazarovici - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 64:79-86.
    The paper provides a critical discussion of the Super-Humean 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 Super-Humeanism 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 Super-Humeanism and discuss its possible application to (...)
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  • Individuality and the Account of Nonlocality: The Case for the Particle Ontology in Quantum Physics.Michael Esfeld - 2019 - In O. Lombardi, S. Fortin, C. L’Opez & F. Holik (eds.), Quantum Worlds: Perspectives on the Ontology of Quantum Mechanics. Cambridge University Press. pp. 222--244.
    The paper explains why an ontology of permanent point particles that are individuated by their relative positions and that move on continuous trajectories as given by a deterministic law of motion constitutes the best solution to the measurement problem in both quantum mechanics and quantum field theory. This case is made by comparing the Bohmian theory to collapse theories such as the GRW matter density and the GRW flash theory. It is argued that the Bohmian theory makes the minimal changes, (...)
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  • Multi-Field and Bohm’s Theory.Davide Romano - 2020 - Synthese (11):29 June 2020.
    In the recent literature, it has been shown that the wave function in the de Broglie–Bohm theory can be regarded as a new kind of field, i.e., a "multi-field", in three-dimensional space. In this paper, I argue that the natural framework for the multi-field is the original second-order Bohm’s theory. In this context, it is possible: i) to construe the multi-field as a real-valued scalar field; ii) to explain the physical interaction between the multi-field and the Bohmian particles; and iii) (...)
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  • On the Possibility of a Realist Ontological Commitment in Quantum Mechanics.Andrea Oldofredi & Michael Andreas Esfeld - 2018 - Tropos. Journal of Hermeneutics and Philosophical Criticism 11 (1):11-33.
    This paper reviews the structure of standard quantum mechanics, introducing the basics of the von Neumann-Dirac axiomatic formulation as well as the well-known Copenhagen interpretation. We review also the major conceptual difficulties arising from this theory, first and foremost, the well-known 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 (...)
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  • A challenge for Super-Humeanism: the problem of immanent comparisons.Vera Matarese - 2020 - Synthese 197 (9):4001-4020.
    According to the doctrine of Super-Humeanism, 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 Super-Humeanism by pointing out that it is vulnerable to and does not have the resources to solve the well-known problem of immanent comparisons. Firstly, I show that it cannot endorse (...)
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  • Against Laplacian Reduction of Newtonian Mass to Spatiotemporal Quantities.Niels C. M. Martens - 2018 - Foundations of Physics 48 (5):591-609.
    Laplace wondered about the minimal choice of initial variables and parameters corresponding to a well-posed initial value problem. Discussions of Laplace’s problem in the literature have focused on choosing between spatiotemporal variables relative to absolute space or merely relative to other material bodies and between absolute masses or merely mass ratios. This paper extends these discussions of Laplace’s problem, in the context of Newtonian Gravity, by asking whether mass needs to be included in the initial state at all, or whether (...)
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  • Particle Creation and Annihilation: Two Bohmian Approaches.Andrea Oldofredi - 2018 - Lato Sensu, Revue de la Société de Philosophie des Sciences 5 (1):77-85.
    This paper reviews and discusses two extensions of Bohmian Mechanics to the phenomena of particle creation and annihilation typically observed in Quantum Field Theory : the so-called Bell-type Quantum Field Theory and the Dirac Sea representation. These theories have a secure metaphysical basis as they postulate a particle ontology while satisfying the requirements imposed by the Primitive Ontology approach to quantum physics. Furthermore, their methodological perspective intentionally provides a set of rules to immunize physical theories to the conceptual and technical (...)
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  • Why Determinism in Physics has No Implications for Free Will.Michael Esfeld - unknown
    This paper argues for the following three theses: There is a clear reason to prefer physical theories with deterministic dynamical equations: such theories are both maximally simple and maximally rich in information, since given an initial configuration of matter and the dynamical equations, the whole evolution of the configuration of matter is fixed. There is a clear way how to introduce probabilities in a deterministic physical theory, namely as answer to the question of what evolution of a specific system we (...)
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