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  1. On Kinds of Indiscernibility in Logic and Metaphysics.Adam Caulton & Jeremy Butterfield - 2012 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (1):27-84.
    Using the Hilbert-Bernays account as a spring-board, we first define four ways in which two objects can be discerned from one another, using the non-logical vocabulary of the language concerned. Because of our use of the Hilbert-Bernays account, these definitions are in terms of the syntax of the language. But we also relate our definitions to the idea of permutations on the domain of quantification, and their being symmetries. These relations turn out to be subtle---some natural conjectures about them are (...)
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  • Discerning Fermions.Simon Saunders & F. A. Muller - 2008 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (3):499 - 548.
    We demonstrate that the quantum-mechanical description of composite physical systems of an arbitrary number of similar fermions in all their admissible states, mixed or pure, for all finite-dimensional Hilbert spaces, is not in conflict with Leibniz's Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles (PII). We discern the fermions by means of physically meaningful, permutation-invariant categorical relations, i.e. relations independent of the quantum-mechanical probabilities. If, indeed, probabilistic relations are permitted as well, we argue that similar bosons can also be discerned in all (...)
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  • The Theory of Every Thing: Toward a Symmetry-Based Metaphysics of Matter.David Schroeren - 2020 - Dissertation, Princeton University
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  • Structuralism in the Idiom of Determination.Kerry McKenzie - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (2):497-522.
    Ontic structural realism is a thesis of fundamentality metaphysics: the thesis that structure, not objects, has fundamental status. Claimed as the metaphysic most befitting of modern physics, OSR first emerged as an entreaty to eliminate objects from the metaphysics of fundamental physics. Such elimination was urged by Steven French and James Ladyman on the grounds that only it could resolve the ‘underdetermination of metaphysics by physics’ that they claimed reduced any putative objectual commitment to a merely ‘ersatz’ form of realism. (...)
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  • Structure: Its Shadow and Substance.Bas C. van Fraassen - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (2):275-307.
    Structural realism as developed by John Worrall and others can claim philosophical roots as far back as the late 19th century, though the discussion at that time does not unambiguously favor the contemporary form, or even its realism. After a critical examination of some aspects of the historical background some severe critical challenges to both Worrall's and Ladyman's versions are highlighted, and an alternative empiricist structuralism proposed. Support for this empiricist version is provided in part by the different way in (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Invariance.David Schroeren - manuscript
    Fundamental physics contains an important link between properties of elementary particles and continuous symmetries of particle systems. For example, properties such as mass and spin are said to be 'associated' with specific continuous symmetries. -/- These 'associations' have played a key role in the discovery of various new particle kinds, but more importantly: they are thought to provide a deep insight into the nature of physical reality. The link between properties and symmetries has been said to call for a radical (...)
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  • Thinking Outside the Toolbox: Towards a More Productive Engagement Between Metaphysics and Philosophy of Physics.Steven French & Kerry McKenzie - 2012 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 8 (1):42-59.
    he relationship between metaphysics and science has recently become the focus of increased attention. Ladyman and Ross, in particular, have accused even naturalistically inclined metaphysicians of pursuing little more than the philosophy of A-level chemistry and have suggested that analytic metaphysics should simply be discontinued. In contrast, we shall argue, first of all, that even metaphysics that is disengaged from modern science may offer a set of resources that can be appropriated by philosophers of physics in order to set physics (...)
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  • Humean Supervenience in the Light of Contemporary Science.Vassilios Karakostas - 2009 - Metaphysica 10 (1):1-26.
    It is shown that Lewis’ ontological doctrine of Humean supervenience incorporates at its foundation the so-called separability principle of classical physics. In view of the systematic violation of the latter within quantum mechanics, the claim that contemporary physical science may posit non-supervenient relations beyond the spatiotemporal ones is reinforced on a foundational basis concerning constraints on the state representation of physical systems. Depending on the mode of assignment of states to quantum systems — unit state vectors versus statistical density operators (...)
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  • Holism and Structuralism in U(1) Gauge Theory.Holger Lyre - 2004 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 35 (4):643-670.
    After decades of neglect philosophers of physics have discovered gauge theories--arguably the paradigm of modern field physics--as a genuine topic for foundational and philosophical research. Incidentally, in the last couple of years interest from the philosophy of physics in structural realism--in the eyes of its proponents the best suited realist position towards modern physics--has also raised. This paper tries to connect both topics and aims to show that structural realism gains further credence from an ontological analysis of gauge theories--in particular (...)
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  • The Mathematical Description of a Generic Physical System.Federico Zalamea - 2015 - Topoi 34 (2):339-348.
    When dealing with a certain class of physical systems, the mathematical characterization of a generic system aims to describe the phase portrait of all its possible states. Because they are defined only up to isomorphism, the mathematical objects involved are “schematic structures”. If one imposes the condition that these mathematical definitions completely capture the physical information of a given system, one is led to a strong requirement of individuation for physical states. However, we show there are not enough qualitatively distinct (...)
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  • How Properties Hold Together in Substances.Joseph E. Earley - 2016 - In Eric Scerri & Grant Fisher (eds.), Essays in Philosophy of Chemistry. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 199-216.
    This article aims to clarify how aspects of current chemical understanding relate to some important contemporary problems of philosophy. The first section points out that the long-running philosophical debates concerning how properties stay together in substances have neglected the important topic of structure-determining closure. The second part describes several chemically-important types of closure and the third part shows how such closures ground the properties of chemical substances. The fourth section introduces current discussions of structural realism (SR) and contextual emergence: the (...)
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  • Symmetry, Structure, and the Constitution of Objects.Steven French - 2001 - PhilSci Archive.
    In this paper I focus on the impact on structuralism of the quantum treatment of objects in terms of symmetry groups and, in particular, on the question as to how we might eliminate, or better, reconceptualise such objects in structural terms. With regard to the former, both Cassirer and Eddington not only explicitly and famously tied their structuralism to the development of group theory but also drew on the quantum treatment in order to further their structuralist aims and here I (...)
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  • Revisiting the First Postulate of Quantum Mechanics: Invariance and Physically Reality.Christian de Ronde & Cesar Massri - unknown
    In this paper we derive a theorem which proves that the physical interpretation implied by the first postulate of quantum mechanics is inconsistent with the orthodox formalism. In order to expose this inconsistency we will analyze how the concept of ‘physical system’ is built within classical theories through the notion of invariance and explain in what sense a vector in Hilbert space is not capable of fulfilling these same mathematical conditions. Through an analysis of the mathematical formalism we derive a (...)
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  • Withering Away, Weakly.F. A. Muller - 2011 - Synthese 180 (2):223 - 233.
    One of the reasons provided for the shift away from an ontology for physical reality of material objects & properties towards one of physical structures & relations (Ontological Structural Realism: OntSR) is that the quantum-mechanical description of composite physical systems of similar elementary particles entails they are indiscernible. As material objects, they 'whither away', and when they wither away, structures emerge in their stead. We inquire into the question whether recent results establishing the weak discernibility of elementary particles pose a (...)
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  • Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Structural Realism but Were Afraid to Ask.Roman Frigg & Ioannis Votsis - 2011 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (2):227-276.
    Everything you always wanted to know about structural realism but were afraid to ask Content Type Journal Article Pages 227-276 DOI 10.1007/s13194-011-0025-7 Authors Roman Frigg, Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE UK Ioannis Votsis, Philosophisches Institut, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Universitätsstraße 1, Geb. 23.21/04.86, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany Journal European Journal for Philosophy of Science Online ISSN 1879-4920 Print ISSN 1879-4912 Journal Volume Volume 1 Journal Issue Volume 1, Number 2.
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  • Nonseparability, Potentiality, and the Context-Dependence of Quantum Objects.Vassilios Karakostas - 2007 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 38 (2):279-297.
    Standard quantum mechanics undeniably violates the notion of separability that classical physics accustomed us to consider as valid. By relating the phenomenon of quantum nonseparability to the all-important concept of potentiality, we effectively provide a coherent picture of the puzzling entangled correlations among spatially separated systems. We further argue that the generalized phenomenon of quantum nonseparability implies contextuality for the production of well-defined events in the quantum domain, whereas contextuality entails in turn a structural-relational conception of quantal objects, viewed as (...)
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  • Ontic Structural Realism as a Metaphysics of Objects.Michael Esfeld & Vincent Lam - 2011 - In Alisa Bokulich & Peter Bokulich (eds.), Scientific Structuralism. Springer Science+Business Media. pp. 143-159.
    The paper spells out five different accounts of the relationship between objects and relations three of which are versions of ontic structural realism. We argue that the distinction between objects and properties, including relations, is merely a conceptual one by contrast to an ontological one: properties, including relations, are modes, that is the concrete, particular ways in which objects exist. We then set out moderate OSR as the view according to which irreducible relations are central ways in which the fundamental (...)
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  • Generating Ontology: From Quantum Mechanics to Quantum Field Theory.Edward MacKinnon - manuscript
    Philosophical interpretations of theories generally presuppose that a theory can be presented as a consistent mathematical formulation that is interpreted through models. Algebraic quantum field theory (AQFT) can fit this interpretative model. However, standard Lagrangian quantum field theory (LQFT), as well as quantum electrodynamics and nuclear physics, resists recasting along such formal lines. The difference has a distinct bearing on ontological issues. AQFT does not treat particle interactions or the standard model. This paper develops a framework and methodology for interpreting (...)
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  • Some Remarks on the Metaphysical Status of Laws of Nature.W. Christiaens - 2008 - Acta Philosophica Fennica 84:99.
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  • On the Fundamentality of Symmetries.Kerry McKenzie - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (5):1090-1102.
    The view that it is symmetries, not particles, that are fundamental to nature is frequently expressed by physicists. But comparatively little has been written either on what this claim means or whether it should be regarded as true. After placing the claim into a general fundamentality framework, I consider whether the priority of symmetries over particles can be defended. The conclusions drawn are largely negative.
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  • Quantum Ontology in the Light of Gauge Theories.Gabriel Catren - unknown
    We propose the conjecture according to which the fact that quantum mechanics does not admit sharp value attributions to both members of a complementary pair of observables can be understood in the light of the symplectic reduction of phase space in constrained Hamiltonian systems. In order to unpack this claim, we propose a quantum ontology based on two independent postulates, namely the phase postulate and the quantum postulate. The phase postulate generalizes the gauge correspondence between first-class constraints and gauge transformations (...)
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  • Discerning Elementary Particles.F. A. Muller & M. P. Seevinck - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (2):179-200.
    We maximally extend the quantum‐mechanical results of Muller and Saunders ( 2008 ) establishing the ‘weak discernibility’ of an arbitrary number of similar fermions in finite‐dimensional Hilbert spaces. This confutes the currently dominant view that ( A ) the quantum‐mechanical description of similar particles conflicts with Leibniz’s Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles (PII); and that ( B ) the only way to save PII is by adopting some heavy metaphysical notion such as Scotusian haecceitas or Adamsian primitive thisness. We (...)
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  • Against Collapses, Purity and Separability Within the Definition of Quantum Entanglement.Christian de Ronde & Massri Cesar - unknown
    In this paper we we will argue against the orthodox definition of quantum entanglement which has been implicitly grounded on several widespread presuppositions which have no relation whatsoever to the formalism of QM. We will show how these presuppositions have been introduced through a naive interpretation of the quantum mathematical structure which assumes dogmatically that the theory talks about "small particles" represented by pure states which suddenly "collapse" when a measurement takes place. In the second part of this paper we (...)
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  • Kochen-Specker Theorem, Physical Invariance and Quantum Individuality.Christian de Ronde & Cesar Massri - unknown
    In this paper we attempt to discuss what has Kochen-Specker theorem to say about physical invariance and quantum individuality. In particular, we will discuss the impossibility of making reference to objective physical properties within the orthodox formalism of quantum mechanics. Through an analysis of the meaning of physical invariance and quantum contextuality we will derive a Corollary to KS theorem that proves that a vector in Hilbert space cannot be interpreted coherently as an object possessing physical properties. As a consequence, (...)
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  • Logical Aspects of Quantum (Non-)Individuality.Décio Krause - 2010 - Foundations of Science 15 (1):79-94.
    In this paper I consider some logical and mathematical aspects of the discussion of the identity and individuality of quantum entities. I shall point out that for some aspects of the discussion, the logical basis cannot be put aside; on the contrary, it leads us to unavoidable conclusions which may have consequences in how we articulate certain concepts related to quantum theory. Behind the discussion, there is a general argument which suggests the possibility of a metaphysics of non-individuals, based on (...)
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  • 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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  • Remarks on the Theory of Quasi-Sets.Steven French & Décio Krause - 2010 - Studia Logica 95 (1-2):101 - 124.
    Quasi-set theory has been proposed as a means of handling collections of indiscernible objects. Although the most direct application of the theory is quantum physics, it can be seen per se as a non-classical logic (a non-reflexive logic). In this paper we revise and correct some aspects of quasi-set theory as presented in [12], so as to avoid some misunderstandings and possible misinterpretations about the results achieved by the theory. Some further ideas with regard to quantum field theory are also (...)
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  • Identity, Indiscernibility, and Philosophical Claims.Décio Krause & Antonio Mariano Nogueira Coelho - 2005 - Axiomathes 15 (2):191-210.
    The concept of indiscernibility in a structure is analysed with the aim of emphasizing that in asserting that two objects are indiscernible, it is useful to consider these objects as members of (the domain of) a structure. A case for this usefulness is presented by examining the consequences of this view to the philosophical discussion on identity and indiscernibility in quantum theory.
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  • Is Symmetry Identity?Marvin Chester - 2002 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 16 (2):111 – 124.
    Wigner found unreasonable the "effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences". But if the mathematics we use to describe nature is simply a carefully coded expression of our experience then its effectiveness is quite reasonable. Its effectiveness is built into its design. We consider group theory, the logic of symmetry. We examine the premise that symmetry is identity; that group theory encodes our experience of identification. To decide whether group theory describes the world in such an elemental way we catalogue (...)
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  • Is There a Compelling Argument for Ontic Structural Realism?Matteo Morganti - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (5):1165-1176.
    Structural realism first emerged as an epistemological thesis aimed to avoid the socalled pessimistic metainduction on the history of science. Some authors, however, have suggested that the preservation of structure across theory change is best explained by endorsing the metaphysical thesis that structure is all there is. Although the possibility of this latter, ‘ontic’ form of structural realism has been extensively debated, not much has been said concerning its justification. In this article, I distinguish between two arguments in favor of (...)
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  • Reifying Mathematics? Prediction and Symmetry Classification.Sorin Bangu - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39 (2):239-258.
    In this paper I reconstruct and critically examine the reasoning leading to the famous prediction of the ‘omega minus’ particle by M. Gell-Mann and Y. Ne’eman (in 1962) on the basis of a symmetry classification scheme. While the peculiarity of this prediction has occasionally been noticed in the literature, a detailed treatment of the methodological problems it poses has not been offered yet. By spelling out the characteristics of this type of prediction, I aim to underscore the challenges raised by (...)
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  • Identity and Individuality in Quantum Theory.Steven French - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.