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Profile: Mauro Dorato
Profile: Mauro Dorato (Università degli Studi Roma Tre)
  1.  88
    Mauro Dorato (forthcoming). The Physical World as a Blob: Is OSR Really Realism? [REVIEW] Metascience:1-9.
    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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  2. Mauro Dorato & Matteo Morganti (2013). Grades of Individuality. A Pluralistic View of Identity in Quantum Mechanics and in the Sciences. 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and the sort of ‘primitivism’ that denies that facts of identity and individuality must be analysable has become outdated.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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  3. Mauro Dorato (2012). Presentism/Eternalism and Endurantism/Perdurantism: Why the Unsubstantiality of the First Debate Implies That of the Second. 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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  4. Mauro Dorato (2015). Presentism and the Experience of Time. 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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  5.  81
    Mauro Dorato (2015). Laws of Nature and the Reality of the Wave Function. 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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  6.  6
    Mauro Dorato (2016). The Physical World as a Blob: Is OSR Really Realism? Metascience 25 (2):173-181.
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  7.  91
    Mauro Dorato & Michael Esfeld (2010). GRW as an Ontology of Dispositions. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 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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  8.  63
    Mauro Dorato (2000). Substantivalism, Relationism, and Structural Spacetime Realism. Foundations of Physics 30 (10):1605-1628.
    Debates about the ontological implications of the general theory of relativity have long oscillated between spacetime substantivalism and relationism. I evaluate such debates by claiming that we need a third option, which I refer to as “structural spacetime realism.” Such a tertium quid sides with the relationists in defending the relational nature of the spacetime structure, but joins the substantivalists in arguing that spacetime exists, at least in part, independently of particular physical objects and events, the degree of “independence” being (...)
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  9.  89
    Mauro Dorato (1993). Ph.D. In Stanely Tweyman (ed.), Studies in early modern philosophy. Caravan Books Delmar 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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  10. Mauro Dorato (2012). Mathematical Biology and the Existence of Biological Laws. 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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  11.  24
    Mauro Dorato (forthcoming). The Physical World as a Blob: Is OSR Really Realism? [REVIEW] Metascience:1-9.
    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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  12. Mauro Dorato (2015). The Naturalness of the Naturalistic Fallacy and the Ethics of Nanotechnology. In The Role of Technology in Science: Philosophical Perspectives. Springer Netherlands
    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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  13.  50
    Mauro Dorato (2015). Events and the Ontology of Quantum Mechanics. 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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  14.  91
    Mauro Dorato (2005). Why Are (Most) Laws of Nature Mathematical? In Jan Faye, Paul Needham, Uwe Scheffler & Max Urchs (eds.), Nature's Principles. Springer 55--75.
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  15.  65
    Mauro Dorato & Federico Laudisa (forthcoming). Realism and Instrumentalism About the Wave Function. How Should We Choose? In Shao Gan (ed.), Protective Measurements and Quantum Reality: Toward a New Understanding of Quantum Mechanics. CUP
    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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  16.  55
    Mauro Dorato & Michael Esfeld (forthcoming). The Metaphysics of Laws: Dispositionalism Vs. Primitivism. In T. Bigaj & C. Wutrich (eds.), Metaphysics and Science. 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. Mauro Dorato (2002). On Becoming, Cosmic Time and Rotating Universes. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 50:253-.
    In the literature on the compatibility between the time of our experience and the time of physics, the special theory of relativity has enjoyed central stage. By bringing into the discussion the general theory of relativity, I suggest a new analysis of the misunderstood notion of becoming, developed from hints in Gödel’s published and unpublished arguments for the ideality of time. I claim that recent endorsements of such arguments, based on Gödel’s own “rotating” solution to Einstein’s field equation, fail: once (...)
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  18.  63
    Mauro Dorato (forthcoming). Dynamical Versus Structural Explanations in Scientific Revolutions. Synthese.
    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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  19. Mauro Dorato & Massimo Pauri, Holism and Structuralism in Classical and Quantum General Relativity.
    The main aim of our paper is to show that interpretative issues belonging to classical General Relativity (GR) might be preliminary to a deeper understanding of conceptual problems stemming from on-going attempts at constructing a quantum theory of gravity. Among such interpretative issues, we focus on the meaning of general covariance and the related question of the identity of points, by basing our investigation on the Hamiltonian formulation of GR. In particular, we argue that the adoption of a peculiar gauge-fixing (...)
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  20.  37
    Mauro Dorato (2004). Epistemic and Nonepistemic Values in Science. In Peter K. Machamer & Gereon Wolters (eds.), Science, Values, and Objectivity. University of Pittsburgh Press 52--77.
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  21. Mauro Dorato (forthcoming). How to Combine and Not to Combine Physics and Metaphysics. 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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  22. Mauro Dorato (2002). Determinism, Chance, and Freedom. In Harald Atmanspacher & Robert C. Bishop (eds.), Between Chance and Choice: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Determinism. Thorverton UK: Imprint Academic 321--38.
    After a brief but necessary characterization of the notion of determinism, I discuss and critically evaluate four views on the relationship between determinism and free will by taking into account both (i) what matters most to us in terms of a free will worth-wanting and (ii) which capacities can be legitimately attributed to human beings without contradicting what we currently know from natural sciences. The main point of the paper is to argue that the libertarian faces a dilemma: on the (...)
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  23.  9
    Mauro Dorato, Rovelli’s Relational Quantum Mechanics, Anti-Monism and Quantum Becoming.
    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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  24. Mauro Dorato (2011). TRUTH, LAWS AND THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE. 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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  25.  81
    Mauro Dorato, The Irrelevance of the Presentist/Eternalist Debate for the Ontology of Minkowski Spacetime.
    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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  26.  61
    Mauro Dorato & Laura Felline (2011). Scientific Explanation and Scientific Structuralism. In Alisa Bokulich & Peter Bokulich (eds.), Scientific Structuralism, Boston Studies in the Philosophy of science. Springer 161--176.
    In this paper we argue that quantum mechanics provides a genuine kind of structural explanations of quantum phenomena. Since structural explanations only rely on the formal properties of the theory, they have the advantage of being independent of interpretative questions. As such, they can be used to claim that, even in the current absence of one agreed-upon interpretation, quantum mechanics is capable of providing satisfactory explanations of physical phenomena. While our proposal clearly cannot be taken to solve all interpretive issues (...)
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  27. Mauro Dorato, Absolute Becoming, Relational Becoming, and the Arrow of Time.
    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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  28.  76
    Mauro Dorato, Properties and Dispositions: Some Metaphysical Remarks on Quantum Ontology.
    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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  29. Mauro Dorato, Should We Represent the Present in Minkowski Spacetime?
    In recent times, there have been notable attempts to introduce an objective present in Minkowski spacetime, a structure that, however, should also be capable to explain some aspects of our experience of time. I claim that the “interactive present” introduced by Arthur and Savitt for such purposes is inadequate, since it turns out to be neither a physically relevant property nor a good explanans of our temporal experience. In its conclusive part, and after having proposed a more adequate model for (...)
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  30.  90
    Mauro Dorato & Laura Felline (2010). Structural Explanations in Minkowski Spacetime: Which Account of Models? In V. Petkov (ed.), Space, Time, and Spacetime. Springer 193-207.
    In this paper we argue that structural explanations are an effective way of explaining well known relativistic phenomena like length contraction and time dilation, and then try to understand how this can be possible by looking at the literature on scientific models. In particular, we ask whether and how a model like that provided by Minkowski spacetime can be said to represent the physical world, in such a way that it can successfully explain physical phenomena structurally. We conclude by claiming (...)
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  31.  72
    Mauro Dorato (2012). Mathematical Biology and the Existence of Biological Laws. In DieksD (ed.), 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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  32.  32
    Mauro Dorato (2007). Relativity Theory Between Structural and Dynamical Explanations. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 21 (1):95 – 102.
    (2007). Relativity Theory between Structural and Dynamical Explanations. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science: Vol. 21, No. 1, pp. 95-102.
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  33.  31
    Mauro Dorato (1999). Time, Relativity, and the Spatiality of Mental Events. In Maria Luisa Dalla Chiara (ed.), Language, Quantum, Music. 197--207.
  34.  9
    Mauro Dorato (2011). The Alexandroff Present and Minkowski Spacetime: Why It Cannot Do What It has Been Asked to Do1. In Dennis Dieks, Wenceslao Gonzalo, Thomas Uebel, Stephan Hartmann & Marcel Weber (eds.), Explanation, Prediction, and Confirmation. Springer 379--394.
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  35.  62
    Mauro Dorato, Peirce's “Method of Tenacity” and the “Method of Science”: The Consistency of Pragmatism and Naturalism.
    In 1877 Peirce distinguished four different methods of “fixating our beliefs”, among which I here concentrate on what could be called the “method of tenacity” and the “method of science”. I then use these distinctions to argue that despite their apparent conflict, pragmatism, relying on the method of tenacity, and naturalism, relying on the method of science, can and should coexist, both in science and in metaphysics.
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  36.  60
    Mauro Dorato (2010). On Various Senses of “Conventional” and Their Interrelation in the Philosophy of Physics: Simultaneity as a Case Study. In Thomas Uebel, Stephan Hartmann, Wenceslao Gonzalez, Marcel Weber, Dennis Dieks & Friedrich Stadler (eds.), The Present Situation in the Philosophy of Science. Springer 335--349.
    My aim in this note is to disambiguate various senses of ‘conventional’ that in the philosophy of physics have been frequently conflated. As a case study, I will refer to the well-known issue of the conventionality of simultaneity in the special theory of relativity, since it is particularly in this context that the above mentioned confusion is present.
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  37.  63
    Mauro Dorato (2008). Putnam on Time and Special Relativity: A Long Journey From Ontology to Ethics. European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 4 (2):51-70.
    1.: In this paper I discuss Putnam’s view on time and the special theory of relativity. I first locate Putnam’s philosophical approach within a more general framework, essentially making reference to Sellar’s distinction between the scientific image and the manifest image of the world. I then reconstruct Putnam’s argument in favour of the reality of the future and the determinateness of truth-value for future tense sentences by showing that it is based on three premises that generate a contradiction. In the (...)
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  38.  41
    Mauro Dorato, Is Structural Spacetime Realism Relationism in Disguise? The Supererogatory Nature of the Substantivalism/Relationism Debate.
    The paper defends two claims; Viewed from the perspective of the substantivalism/relationism debate, structural spacetime realism is a form of relationism; However, if we managed to reinforce Rynasiewicz’s point that the general theory of relativity makes the substantivalism/relationism dispute “outdated”, the re-elaboration of Stein ’s 1967 version of structural spacetime realism to be proposed here proves to be a good, antimetaphysical solution to the problem of the ontological status of spacetime.
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  39.  31
    Mauro Dorato, Kant, Goedel and Relativity.
    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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  40.  17
    Antigone M. Nounou, Mauro Dorato, Sebastian Lutz, Stephan Hartmann, Talal A. Debs & Michael L. G. Redhead (2010). A New Perspective on Objectivity and Conventionalism. Metascience 19 (1):3-27.
  41.  6
    Mauro Dorato, Do Dispositions and Propensities Have a Role in the Ontology of Quantum Mechanics? Some Critical Remarks.
    In order to tackle the question posed by the title – notoriously answered in the positive, among others, by Heisenberg, Margenau, Popper and Redhead – I first discuss some attempts at distinguishing dispositional from non-dispositional properties, and then relate the distinction to the formalism of quantum mechanics. Since any answer to the question titling the paper must be interpretation-dependent, I review some of the main interpretations of quantum mechanics in order to argue that the ontology of theories regarding “wave collapse” (...)
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  42.  10
    Mauro Dorato (2007). Tempo della mente e tempo della materia. La natura del presente e la teoria della relatività. Quaestio 7 (1):489-503.
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  43.  22
    Mauro Dorato (2006). Absolute Becoming, Relational Becoming and the Arrow of Time: Some Non-Conventional Remarks on the Relationship Between Physics and Metaphysics. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 37 (3):559-576.
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  44.  29
    Mauro Dorato (1996). On Becoming, Relativity, and Nonseparability. Philosophy of Science 63 (4):585-604.
    In a reply to Nicholas Maxwell, Stein has proved that Minkowski spacetime can leave room for the kind of indeterminateness required both by certain interpretations of quantum mechanics and by objective becoming. By examining the consequences of outcome dependence in Bell-type experiments for the co-determinateness of spacelike-related events, I argue that the only becoming relation that is compatible with both causal and noncausal readings of the quantum correlations is the universal relation. This result might also undermine interpretations of quantum mechanics (...)
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  45.  45
    Mauro Dorato, Philosophy of Physics Between Objectivism and Conventionalism.
    The paper is a review of Talal Debs and Michael Redhead's 2007 book, Objectivity, Invariance, and Convention, Harvard, Harvard University Press.
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  46.  14
    Mauro Dorato, Dispositions, Relational Properties and the Quantum World.
    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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  47.  10
    Mauro Dorato (2008). A New Role For Philosophy In Scientific Revolutions. Metascience 17 (1):61-64.
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  48.  3
    Mauro Dorato & Craig Callender (1997). Time and Reality: Spacetime Physics and the Objectivity of Temporal Becoming. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (1):117-120.
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  49.  8
    Mauro Dorato (2000). Facts, Events, Things and the Ontology of Physics. Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 76:343-364.
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  50.  2
    Mauro Dorato (2003). Time and the Metaphysics of Relativity. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 34 (1):154-158.
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