About this topic
Summary This is a catch-all category for work on the interpretation of quantum mechanics which does not fall naturally into the other categories. 
Key works Perhaps the most prominent proposal in this category is the 'quantum Bayesianism' of Caves et al 2007, which treats quantum states as states of information.
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275 found
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1 — 50 / 275
  1. Kantian and Neo-Kantian First Principles for Physical and Metaphysical Cognition.Michael E. Cuffaro - manuscript
    I argue that Immanuel Kant's critical philosophy—in particular the doctrine of transcendental idealism which grounds it—is best understood as an `epistemic' or `metaphilosophical' doctrine. As such it aims to show how one may engage in the natural sciences and in metaphysics under the restriction that certain conditions are imposed on our cognition of objects. Underlying Kant's doctrine, however, is an ontological posit, of a sort, regarding the fundamental nature of our cognition. This posit, sometimes called the `discursivity thesis', while considered (...)
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  2. On Classical Finite Probability Theory as a Quantum Probability Calculus.David Ellerman - manuscript
    This paper shows how the classical finite probability theory (with equiprobable outcomes) can be reinterpreted and recast as the quantum probability calculus of a pedagogical or "toy" model of quantum mechanics over sets (QM/sets). There are two parts. The notion of an "event" is reinterpreted from being an epistemological state of indefiniteness to being an objective state of indefiniteness. And the mathematical framework of finite probability theory is recast as the quantum probability calculus for QM/sets. The point is not to (...)
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  3. On the Duality Between Existence and Information.David Ellerman - manuscript
    Recent developments in pure mathematics and in mathematical logic have uncovered a fundamental duality between "existence" and "information." In logic, the duality is between the Boolean logic of subsets and the logic of quotient sets, equivalence relations, or partitions. The analogue to an element of a subset is the notion of a distinction of a partition, and that leads to a whole stream of dualities or analogies--including the development of new logical foundations for information theory parallel to Boole's development of (...)
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  4. Partitions and Objective Indefiniteness.David Ellerman - manuscript
    Classical physics and quantum physics suggest two meta-physical types of reality: the classical notion of a objectively definite reality with properties "all the way down," and the quantum notion of an objectively indefinite type of reality. The problem of interpreting quantum mechanics (QM) is essentially the problem of making sense out of an objectively indefinite reality. These two types of reality can be respectively associated with the two mathematical concepts of subsets and quotient sets (or partitions) which are category-theoretically dual (...)
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  5. Why the de Broglie-Bohm Theory is Probably Wrong.Shan Gao - manuscript
    We investigate the validity of the field explanation of the wave function by analyzing the mass and charge density distributions of a quantum system. It is argued that a charged quantum system has effective mass and charge density distributing in space, proportional to the square of the absolute value of its wave function. This is also a consequence of protective measurement. If the wave function is a physical field, then the mass and charge density will be distributed in space simultaneously (...)
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  6. Derivation of the Schrödinger Equation.Shan Gao -
    It is shown that the heuristic "derivation" of the Schrödinger equation in quantum mechanics textbooks can be turned into a real derivation by resorting to spacetime translation invariance and relativistic invariance.
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  7. Quantum Mechanical EPRBA Covariance and Classical Probability.Han Geurdes - manuscript
    Contrary to Bell’s theorem it is demonstrated that with the use of classical probability theory the quantum correlation can be approximated. Hence, one may not conclude from experiment that all local hidden variable theories are ruled out by a violation of inequality result.
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  8. Interpreting Quantum Mechanics and Predictability in Terms of Facts About the Universe.Andrew Knight - manuscript
    A potentially new interpretation of quantum mechanics posits the state of the universe as a consistent set of facts that are instantiated in the correlations among entangled objects. A fact (or event) occurs exactly when the number or density of future possibilities decreases, and a quantum superposition exists if and only if the facts of the universe are consistent with the superposition. The interpretation sheds light on both in-principle and real-world predictability of the universe.
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  9. Wigner’s Friend Depends on Self-Contradictory Quantum Amplification.Andrew Knight - manuscript
    In a recent paper, Zukowski and Markiewicz showed that Wigner’s Friend (and, by extension, Schrodinger’s Cat) can be eliminated as physical possibilities on purely logical grounds. I validate this result and demonstrate the source of the contradiction in a simple experiment in which a scientist S attempts to measure the position of object |O⟩ = |A⟩S +|B⟩S by using measuring device M chosen so that |A⟩M ≈ |A⟩S and |B⟩M ≈ |B⟩S. I assume that the measurement occurs by quantum amplification (...)
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  10. Reconciling Axiomatic Quantum Field Theory with Cutoff-Dependent Particle Physics.Adam Koberinski - manuscript
    The debate between Fraser and Wallace over the foundations of quantum field theory has spawned increased focus on both the axiomatic and conventional formalisms. The debate has set the tone for future foundational analysis, and has forced philosophers to “pick a side”. The two are seen as competing research programs, and the major divide between the two manifests in how each handles renormalization. In this paper I argue that the terms set by the Fraser-Wallace debate are misleading. AQFT and CQFT (...)
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  11. Quantum Mechanics Foundations.Bakytzhan Oralbekov - manuscript
    Gravity remains the most elusive field. Its relationship with the electromagnetic field is poorly understood. Relativity and quantum mechanics describe the aforementioned fields, respectively. Bosons and fermions are often credited with responsibility for the interactions of force and matter. It is shown here that fermions factually determine the gravitational structure of the universe, while bosons are responsible for the three established and described forces. Underlying the relationships of the gravitational and electromagnetic fields is a symmetrical probability distribution of fermions and (...)
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  12. Primitive Ontology or Primitive Relations?Quentin Ruyant - manuscript
    Primitive ontology is a program which seeks to make explicit the ontological commitments of physical theories in terms of a distribution of matter in ordinary space-time. This program targets wave-function realism, which interprets the high-dimensional configuration space on which wave-functions are defined as our fundamental physical space. Wave-function realism allegedly fails to account for a correspondence between the ontology it postulates and the ‘manifest image’ of the world in which experimental tests of the theory are performed, and therefore the wave-function (...)
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  13. The Open Systems View.Michael E. Cuffaro & Stephan Hartmann - 2021
    There is a deeply entrenched view in philosophy and physics, the closed systems view, according to which isolated systems are conceived of as fundamental. On this view, when a system is under the influence of its environment this is described in terms of a coupling between it and a separate system which taken together are isolated. We argue against this view, and in favor of the alternative open systems view, for which systems interacting with their environment are conceived of as (...)
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  14. 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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  15. Derivation of the Meaning of the Wave Function.Shan Gao - 2011
    We show that the physical meaning of the wave function can be derived based on the established parts of quantum mechanics. It turns out that the wave function represents the state of random discontinuous motion of particles, and its modulus square determines the probability density of the particles appearing in certain positions in space.
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  16. Protective Measurement and the Meaning of the Wave Function.Shan Gao - 2011
    This article analyzes the implications of protective measurement for the meaning of the wave function. According to protective measurement, a charged quantum system has mass and charge density proportional to the modulus square of its wave function. It is shown that the mass and charge density is not real but effective, formed by the ergodic motion of a localized particle with the total mass and charge of the system. Moreover, it is argued that the ergodic motion is not continuous but (...)
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  17. The Wave Function and Its Evolution.Shan Gao - 2011
    The meaning of the wave function and its evolution are investigated. First, we argue that the wave function in quantum mechanics is a description of random discontinuous motion of particles, and the modulus square of the wave function gives the probability density of the particles being in certain locations in space. Next, we show that the linear non-relativistic evolution of the wave function of an isolated system obeys the free Schrödinger equation due to the requirements of spacetime translation invariance and (...)
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  18. Comment on "How to Protect the Interpretation of the Wave Function Against Protective Measurements" by Jos Uffink.Shan Gao - 2011
    It is shown that Uffink's attempt to protect the interpretation of the wave function against protective measurements fails due to several errors in his arguments.
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  19. QBism, the Perimeter of Quantum Bayesianism.Christopher A. Fuchs - 2010
    This article summarizes the Quantum Bayesian point of view of quantum mechanics, with special emphasis on the view's outer edges---dubbed QBism. QBism has its roots in personalist Bayesian probability theory, is crucially dependent upon the tools of quantum information theory, and most recently, has set out to investigate whether the physical world might be of a type sketched by some false-started philosophies of 100 years ago (pragmatism, pluralism, nonreductionism, and meliorism). Beyond conceptual issues, work at Perimeter Institute is focused on (...)
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  20. Meaning of the Wave Function.Shan Gao - 2010
    We investigate the meaning of the wave function by analyzing the mass and charge density distributions of a quantum system. According to protective measurement, a charged quantum system has effective mass and charge density distributing in space, proportional to the square of the absolute value of its wave function. In a realistic interpretation, the wave function of a quantum system can be taken as a description of either a physical field or the ergodic motion of a particle. The essential difference (...)
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  21. 'Charge Without Charge' in the Stochastic Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.Mark Sharlow - 2007
    In this note I examine some implications of stochastic interpretations of quantum mechanics for the concept of "charge without charge" presented by Wheeler and Misner. I argue that if a stochastic interpretation of quantum mechanics were correct, then certain shortcomings of the "charge without charge" concept could be overcome.
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  22. What Branching Spacetime Might Do for Physics.Mark Sharlow - 2007
    In recent years, the branching spacetime (BST) interpretation of quantum mechanics has come under study by a number of philosophers, physicists and mathematicians. This paper points out some implications of the BST interpretation for two areas of quantum physics: (1) quantum gravity, and (2) stochastic interpretations of quantum mechanics.
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  23. Against ‘Interpretation’: Quantum Mechanics Beyond Syntax and Semantics.Raoni Wohnrath Arroyo & Gilson Olegario da Silva - forthcoming - Axiomathes:1-37.
    The question “what is an interpretation?” is often intertwined with the perhaps even harder question “what is a scientific theory?”. Given this proximity, we try to clarify the first question to acquire some ground for the latter. The quarrel between the syntactic and semantic conceptions of scientific theories occupied a large part of the scenario of the philosophy of science in the 20th century. For many authors, one of the two currents needed to be victorious. We endorse that such debate, (...)
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  24. Undecidability and the Problem of Outcomes in Quantum Measurements.Rodolfo Gambini, Luis Pedro Garcia Pintos & Jorge Pullin - forthcoming - Foundations of Physics:93-115.
    We argue that it is fundamentally impossible to recover information about quantum superpositions when a quantum system has interacted with a sufficiently large number of degrees of freedom of the environment. This is due to the fact that gravity imposes fundamental limitations on how accurate measurements can be. This leads to the notion of undecidability: there is no way to tell, due to fundamental limitations, if a quantum system evolved unitarily or suffered wavefunction collapse. This in turn provides a solution (...)
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  25. Is the Reality Criterion Analytic?David Glick & Florian J. Boge - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-7.
    Tim Maudlin has claimed that EPR’s Reality Criterion is analytically true. We argue that it is not. Moreover, one may be a subjectivist about quantum probabilities without giving up on objective physical reality. Thus, would-be detractors must reject QBism and other epistemic approaches to quantum theory on other grounds.
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  26. John Bell on 'Subject and Object': An Exchange.Hans Halvorson & Jeremy Butterfield - forthcoming - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie.
    This three-part paper comprises: (i) a critique by Halvorson of Bell’s (1973) paper ‘Subject and Object’; (ii) a comment by Butterfield; (iii) a reply by Halvorson. An Appendix gives the passage from Bell that is the focus of Halvorson's critique.
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  27. Measurements, Preparations, and Interpretations in Quantum Theory: A Comment on Meehan.Guy Hetzroni - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    I address the recent debate between Meehan and Vaidman concerning the claim made by the former for a new problem to quantum mechanics. I argue that while Meehan's incompatibility claim does hold in the situation he presents, it does not genuinely involve considerations that can limit quantum state preparation, nor does it introduce new constrains over possible interpretations of quantum theory.
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  28. A New Problem for Quantum Mechanics.Alexander Meehan - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:000-000.
    In this article I raise a new problem for quantum mechanics, which I call the control problem. Like the measurement problem, the control problem places a fundamental constraint on quantum theories. The characteristic feature of the problem is its focus on state preparation. In particular, whereas the measurement problem turns on a premise about the completeness of the quantum state ('no hidden variables'), the control problem turns on a premise about our ability to prepare or control quantum states. After raising (...)
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  29. On the Continuity of Metaphysics with Science: Some Scepticism and Some Suggestions.Jack Ritchie - 2022 - Metaphilosophy 53 (2-3):202-220.
  30. Critique of Impure Reason: Horizons of Possibility and Meaning.Steven James Bartlett - 2021 - Salem, USA: Studies in Theory and Behavior.
    This is a second Philpapers record for this book which links only to HAL's downloadable copies of the work. Please refer to the main Philpapers entry for this book which can be found by searching under the book's title. ●●●●● PLEASE NOTE: This is the corrected 2nd eBook edition, 2021. ●●●●● _Critique of Impure Reason_ has now also been published in a printed edition. To reduce the otherwise high price of this scholarly, technical book of nearly 900 pages and make (...)
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  31. Quantum Reality: A Pragmaticized Neo-Kantian Approach.Florian J. Boge - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 87:101-113.
    Despite remarkable efforts, it remains notoriously difficult to equip quantum theory with a coherent ontology. Hence, Healey (2017, 12) has recently suggested that ‘‘quantum theory has no physical ontology and states no facts about physical objects or events’’, and Fuchs et al. (2014, 752) similarly hold that ‘‘quantum mechanics itself does not deal directly with the objective world’’. While intriguing, these positions either raise the question of how talk of ‘physical reality’ can even remain meaningful, or they must ultimately embrace (...)
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  32. The View From a Wigner Bubble.Eric G. Cavalcanti - 2021 - Foundations of Physics 51 (2):1-31.
    In a recent no-go theorem [Bong et al., Nature Physics ], we proved that the predictions of unitary quantum mechanics for an extended Wigner’s friend scenario are incompatible with any theory satisfying three metaphysical assumptions, the conjunction of which we call “Local Friendliness”: Absoluteness of Observed Events, Locality and No-Superdeterminism. In this paper I discuss the implications of this theorem for QBism, as seen from the point of view of experimental metaphysics. I argue that the key distinction between QBism and (...)
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  33. Is the Photon Really a Particle?Paul Klevgard - 2021 - Optik 237 (166679):N/A.
    Photons deliver their energy and momentum to a point on a material target. It is commonplace to attribute this to particle impact. But since the in-flight photon also has a wave nature, we are stuck with the paradox of wave-particle duality. It is argued here that the photon’s wave nature is indisputable, but its particle nature is open to question. Photons deliver energy. The problem with invoking impact as a means of delivery is that energy becomes a payload which in (...)
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  34. Review of The Nature of Contingency by Alastair Wilson. [REVIEW]Baptiste Le Bihan - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 1.
  35. Clarifying the New Problem for Quantum Mechanics: Reply to Vaidman.Alexander Meehan - 2021 - Foundations of Physics 51 (1):1-6.
    I respond to Vaidman’s recent criticisms of my paper “A New Problem for Quantum Mechanics”.
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  36. Wigner’s Friend and Relational Quantum Mechanics: A Reply to Laudisa.Nikki Weststeijn - 2021 - Foundations of Physics 51 (4):1-13.
    Relational Quantum Mechanics is an interpretation of quantum mechanics proposed by Carlo Rovelli. Rovelli argues that, in the same spirit as Einstein’s theory of relativity, physical quantities can only have definite values relative to an observer. Relational Quantum Mechanics is hereby able to offer a principled explanation of the problem of nested measurement, also known as Wigner’s friend. Since quantum states are taken to be relative states that depend on both the system and the observer, there is no inconsistency in (...)
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  37. Scientific Realism Without the Wave-Function: An Example of Naturalized Quantum Metaphysics.Valia Allori - 2020 - In Juha Saatsi & Steven French (eds.), Scientific Realism and the Quantum. Oxford University Press.
    Scientific realism is the view that our best scientific theories can be regarded as (approximately) true. This is connected with the view that science, physics in particular, and metaphysics could (and should) inform one another: on the one hand, science tells us what the world is like, and on the other hand, metaphysical principles allow us to select between the various possible theories which are underdetermined by the data. Nonetheless, quantum mechanics has always been regarded as, at best, puzzling, if (...)
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  38. How Humean is Bohumianism?Tomasz Bigaj & Antonio Vassallo - 2020 - Foundations of Physics (10):1-18.
    An important part of the influential Humean doctrine in philosophy is the supervenience principle (sometimes referred to as the principle of separability). This principle asserts that the complete state of the world supervenes on the intrinsic properties of its most fundamental components and their spatiotemporal relations (the so-called Humean mosaic). There are well-known arguments in the literature purporting to show that in quantum mechanics the Humean supervenience principle is violated, due to the existence of entangled states. Recently, however, arguments have (...)
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  39. Information Causality, the Tsirelson Bound, and the ‘Being-Thus’ of Things.Michael E. Cuffaro - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 72:266-277.
    The principle of 'information causality' can be used to derive an upper bound---known as the 'Tsirelson bound'---on the strength of quantum mechanical correlations, and has been conjectured to be a foundational principle of nature. In this paper, however, I argue that the principle has not to date been sufficiently motivated to play this role; the motivations that have so far been given are either unsatisfactorily vague or else amount to little more than an appeal to intuition. I then consider how (...)
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  40. No Paradox in Wave–Particle Duality.Andrew Knight - 2020 - Foundations of Physics 50 (11):1723-1727.
    The assertion that an experiment by Afshar et al. demonstrates violation of Bohr’s Principle of Complementarity is based on the faulty assumption that which-way information in a double-slit interference experiment can be retroactively determined from a future measurement.
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  41. How the Many Worlds Interpretation Brings Common Sense to Paradoxical Quantum Experiments.Kelvin J. McQueen & Lev Vaidman - 2020 - In Rik Peels, Jeroen de Ridder & René van Woudenberg (eds.), Scientific Challenges to Common Sense Philosophy. New York: Routledge. pp. 40-60.
    The many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics (MWI) states that the world we live in is just one among many parallel worlds. It is widely believed that because of this commitment to parallel worlds, the MWI violates common sense. Some go so far as to reject the MWI on this basis. This is despite its myriad of advantages to physics (e.g. consistency with relativity theory, mathematical simplicity, realism, determinism, etc.). Here, we make the case that common sense in fact favors (...)
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  42. A Consciousness-Based Quantum Objective Collapse Model.Elias Okon & Miguel Ángel Sebastián - 2020 - Synthese 197 (9):3947-3967.
    Ever since the early days of quantum mechanics it has been suggested that consciousness could be linked to the collapse of the wave function. However, no detailed account of such an interplay is usually provided. In this paper we present an objective collapse model where the collapse operator depends on integrated information, which has been argued to measure consciousness. By doing so, we construct an empirically adequate scheme in which superpositions of conscious states are dynamically suppressed. Unlike other proposals in (...)
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  43. The Physics of Emergence.Robert C. Bishop - 2019 - San Rafael, CA: Morgan & Claypool publication as part of IOP Concise Physics.
    This book explores whether physics points to a reductive or an emergent structure of the world and proposes a physics-motivated conception of emergence that leaves behind many of the problematic intuitions shaping the philosophical conceptions. Examining several detailed case studies reveals results that point to stability conditions playing a crucial though underappreciated role in the physics of emergence. This contextual emergence has thought-provoking consequences for physics and beyond.
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  44. In Defence of the Self-Location Uncertainty Account of Probability in the Many-Worlds Interpretation.Kelvin J. McQueen & Lev Vaidman - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 66:14-23.
    We defend the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics against the objection that it cannot explain why measurement outcomes are predicted by the Born probability rule. We understand quantum probabilities in terms of an observer's self-location probabilities. We formulate a probability postulate for the MWI: the probability of self-location in a world with a given set of outcomes is the absolute square of that world's amplitude. We provide a proof of this postulate, which assumes the quantum formalism and two principles concerning (...)
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  45. 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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  46. Reconsidering No-Go Theorems From a Practical Perspective.Michael E. Cuffaro - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (3):633-655.
    I argue that our judgements regarding the locally causal models that are compatible with a given constraint implicitly depend, in part, on the context of inquiry. It follows from this that certain quantum no-go theorems, which are particularly striking in the traditional foundational context, have no force when the context switches to a discussion of the physical systems we are capable of building with the aim of classically reproducing quantum statistics. I close with a general discussion of the possible implications (...)
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  47. The Necessity of Sufficiency.Bruce L. Gordon - 2018 - In Trent Dougherty Jerry Walls (ed.), Two Dozen (or so) Arguments for God: The Plantinga Project. New York, NY, USA: pp. 417-445.
    There is an argument for the existence of God from the incompleteness of nature that is vaguely present in Plantinga’s recent work. This argument, which rests on the metaphysical implications of quantum physics and the philosophical deficiency of necessitarian conceptions of physical law, deserves to be given a clear formulation. The goal is to demonstrate, via a suitably articulated principle of sufficient reason, that divine action in an occasionalist mode is needed (and hence God’s existence is required) to bring causal (...)
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  48. On the Fundamentality of Meaning.Brian D. Josephson - 2018 - In FQXi Essays on 'What Is Fundamental?'.
    The mainstream view of meaning is that it is emergent, not fundamental, but some have disputed this, asserting that there is a more fundamental level of reality than that addressed by current physical theories, and that matter and meaning are in some way entangled. In this regard there are intriguing parallels between the quantum and biological domains, suggesting that there may be a more fundamental level underlying both. I argue that the organisation of this fundamental level is already to a (...)
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  49. A New Way of Understanding the Wave Function: Shan Gao: The Meaning of the Wave Function. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017, X+189pp, $140 HB.Nicholas Maxwell - 2018 - Metascience 27 (1):87-90.
    This is a review of a book by Shan Gao called "The meaning of the wave function", Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.
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  50. From Ontic Structural Realism to Metaphysical Coherentism.Matteo Morganti - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1):1-20.
    The present paper argues that the typical structuralist claims according to which invariances, symmetries and the like are fundamental – especially in physics – should not be understood in terms of physical relations being fundamental. Rather, they should be understood in terms of ‘metaphysical coherentism’ - the idea that object-like parts of reality exhibit symmetric relations of ontological dependence. The view is developed in some detail, in particular by showing that i) symmetric ontological dependence does not necessarily lead to uninformative (...)
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