Physics and ontology

Philosophy of Science 28 (1):1-14 (1961)
The recent philosophy of physics is confronted with the new ontology, as it emerges after philosophy proper has fully articulated the linguistic turn. The classical ontologists asserted or denied, controversially, that certain entities "existed." Rather than adding to these controversies, the new ontology uncovers their dialectics. The ontologically problematic entities of physics are of two kinds, represented by forces and particles, respectively. The dialectics has been dominated by eight patterns. Two of these, independence and realism, belong to philosophy proper. The latter is here considered in order to relieve the philosophy of physics of a burden only philosophy proper can bear. That leaves six patterns: concreteness (including the orbit feature), acquaintance, simplicity, significance, process, and model. The paper sketches how each of these may be used and probably has been used, either explicitly or implicitly, in the recent controversies
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DOI 10.1086/287777
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