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  1. Time's Arrow in a Quantum Universe: On the Status of Statistical Mechanical Probabilities.Eddy Keming Chen - forthcoming - In Valia Allori (ed.), Statistical Mechanics and Scientific Explanation: Determinism, Indeterminism and Laws of Nature. World Scientific.
    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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  • Quantum Causal Models, Faithfulness, and Retrocausality.Peter W. Evans - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (3):745-774.
    Wood and Spekkens argue that any causal model explaining the EPRB correlations and satisfying the no-signalling constraint must also violate the assumption that the model faithfully reproduces the statistical dependences and independences—a so-called ‘fine-tuning’ of the causal parameters. This includes, in particular, retrocausal explanations of the EPRB correlations. I consider this analysis with a view to enumerating the possible responses an advocate of retrocausal explanations might propose. I focus on the response of Näger, who argues that the central ideas of (...)
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  • How Quantum Mechanics Can Consistently Describe the Use of Itself.Dustin Lazarovici & Mario Hubert - 2019 - Scientific Reports 470 (9):1-8.
    We discuss the no-go theorem of Frauchiger and Renner based on an "extended Wigner's friend" thought experiment which is supposed to show that any single-world interpretation of quantum mechanics leads to inconsistent predictions if it is applicable on all scales. We show that no such inconsistency occurs if one considers a complete description of the physical situation. We then discuss implications of the thought experiment that have not been clearly addressed in the original paper, including a tension between relativity and (...)
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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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  • Quantum Mechanics in a Time-Asymmetric Universe: On the Nature of the Initial Quantum State.Eddy Keming Chen - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axy068.
    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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  • 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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  • Ontic Structural Realism and the Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.Michael Esfeld - 2013 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 3 (1):19-32.
    This paper argues that ontic structural realism (OSR) faces a dilemma: either it remains on the general level of realism with respect to the structure of a given theory, but then it is, like epistemic structural realism, only a partial realism; or it is a complete realism, but then it has to answer the question how the structure of a given theory is implemented, instantiated or realized and thus has to argue for a particular interpretation of the theory in question. (...)
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  • No-Go Theorems and the Foundations of Quantum Physics.Andrea Oldofredi - 2018 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 49 (3):355-370.
    In the history of quantum physics several no-go theorems have been proved, and many of them have played a central role in the development of the theory, such as Bell’s or the Kochen–Specker theorem. A recent paper by F. Laudisa has raised reasonable doubts concerning the strategy followed in proving some of these results, since they rely on the standard framework of quantum mechanics, a theory that presents several ontological problems. The aim of this paper is twofold: on the one (...)
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  • The Wave-Function as a Multi-Field.Mario Hubert & Davide Romano - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (3):521-537.
    It is generally argued that if the wave-function in the de Broglie–Bohm theory is a physical field, it must be a field in configuration space. Nevertheless, it is possible to interpret the wave-function as a multi-field in three-dimensional space. This approach hasn’t received the attention yet it really deserves. The aim of this paper is threefold: first, we show that the wave-function is naturally and straightforwardly construed as a multi-field; second, we show why this interpretation is superior to other interpretations (...)
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  • An Intrinsic Theory of Quantum Mechanics: Progress in Field's Nominalistic Program, Part I.Eddy Keming Chen - manuscript
    In this paper, I introduce an intrinsic account of the quantum state. This account contains three desirable features that the standard platonistic account lacks: (1) it does not refer to any abstract mathematical objects such as complex numbers, (2) it is independent of the usual arbitrary conventions in the wave function representation, and (3) it explains why the quantum state has its amplitude and phase degrees of freedom. -/- Consequently, this account extends Hartry Field’s program outlined in Science Without Numbers (...)
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  • On the Importance of Interpretation in Quantum Physics: A Reply to Elise Crull.Antonio Vassallo & Michael Esfeld - 2015 - Foundations of Physics 45 (12):1533-1536.
    Elise Crull claims that by invoking decoherence it is possible to obviate many “fine grained” issues often conflated under the common designation of measurement problem, and to make substantial progresses in the fields of quantum gravity and quantum cosmology, without any early incorporation of a particular interpretation in the quantum formalism. We point out that Crull is mistaken about decoherence and tacitly assumes some kind of interpretation of the quantum formalism.
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  • Can Bohmian Mechanics Be Made Background Independent?Antonio Vassallo - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 52 (Part B):242-250.
    The paper presents an inquiry into the question regarding the compatibility of Bohmian mechanics, intended as a non-local theory of moving point-like particles, with background independence. This issue is worth being investigated because, if the Bohmian framework has to be of some help in developing new physics, it has to be compatible with the most well-established traits of modern physics, background independence being one of such traits. The paper highlights the fact that the notion of background independence in the context (...)
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  • Events and the Ontology of Quantum Mechanics.Mauro Dorato - 2015 - 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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  • Bell’s Theorem and the Issue of Determinism and Indeterminism.Michael Esfeld - 2015 - Foundations of Physics 45 (5):471-482.
    The paper considers the claim that quantum theories with a deterministic dynamics of objects in ordinary space-time, such as Bohmian mechanics, contradict the assumption that the measurement settings can be freely chosen in the EPR experiment. That assumption is one of the premises of Bell’s theorem. I first argue that only a premise to the effect that what determines the choice of the measurement settings is independent of what determines the past state of the measured system is needed for the (...)
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  • The Primitive Ontology of Quantum Physics: Guidelines for an Assessment of the Proposals.Michael Esfeld - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 47:99-106.
    The paper seeks to make progress from stating primitive ontology theories of quantum physics – notably Bohmian mechanics, the GRW matter density theory and the GRW flash theory – to assessing these theories. Four criteria are set out: internal coherence; empirical adequacy; relationship to other theories; explanatory value. The paper argues that the stock objections against these theories do not withstand scrutiny. Its focus then is on their explanatory value: they pursue different strategies to ground the textbook formalism of quantum (...)
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  • Physics and Intrinsic Properties.Michael Esfeld - 2013 - In Robert M. Francescotti (ed.), Companion to Intrinsic Properties. De Gruyter. pp. 253-270.
    The paper sketches out an ontology of physics in terms of matter being primitive stuff distributed in space and all the properties physics is committed to being dispositions that fix the temporal development of the distribution of matter in space. Whereas such properties can be conceived as intrinsic properties of particles in classical mechanics, in quantum physics, there is a holistic property or structure that relates all matter and that fixes its temporal development.
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  • Quantum Humeanism, Or: Physicalism Without Properties.Michael Esfeld - 2014 - Philosophical Quarterly 64 (256):453-470.
    In recent literature, it has become clear that quantum physics does not refute Humeanism: Lewis’s thesis of Humean supervenience can be literally true even in the light of quantum entanglement. This point has so far been made with respect to Bohm’s quantum theory. Against this background, this paper seeks to achieve the following four results: to generalize the option of quantum Humeanism from Bohmian mechanics to primitive ontology theories in general; to show that this option applies also to classical mechanics; (...)
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  • Particle Creation and Annihilation: Two Bohmian Approaches.Andrea Oldofredi - unknown
    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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  • The Intrinsic Structure of Quantum Mechanics.Eddy Keming Chen - unknown
    The wave function in quantum mechanics presents an interesting challenge to our understanding of the physical world. In this paper, I show that the wave function can be understood as four intrinsic relations on physical space. My account has three desirable features that the standard account lacks: it does not refer to any abstract mathematical objects, it is free from the usual arbitrary conventions, and it explains why the wave function has its gauge degrees of freedom, something that are usually (...)
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  • A Proposal for a Bohmian Ontology of Quantum Gravity.Antonio Vassallo & Michael Esfeld - 2013 - Foundations of Physics (1):1-18.
    The paper shows how the Bohmian approach to quantum physics can be applied to develop a clear and coherent ontology of non-perturbative quantum gravity. We suggest retaining discrete objects as the primitive ontology also when it comes to a quantum theory of space-time and therefore focus on loop quantum gravity. We conceive atoms of space, represented in terms of nodes linked by edges in a graph, as the primitive ontology of the theory and show how a non-local law in which (...)
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  • From the Universe to Subsystems: Why Quantum Mechanics Appears More Stochastic Than Classical Mechanics.Andrea Oldofredi, Dustin Lazarovici, Dirk-André Deckert & Michael Esfeld - unknown
    By means of the examples of classical and Bohmian quantum mechanics, we illustrate the well-known ideas of Boltzmann as to how one gets from laws defined for the universe as a whole to dynamical relations describing the evolution of subsystems. We explain how probabilities enter into this process, what quantum and classical probabilities have in common and where exactly their difference lies.
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  • Against Fields.Dustin Lazarovici - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (2):145-170.
    Using the example of classical electrodynamics, I argue that the concept of fields as mediators of particle interactions is fundamentally flawed and reflects a misguided attempt to retrieve Newtonian concepts in relativistic theories. This leads to various physical and metaphysical problems that are discussed in detail. In particular, I emphasize that physics has not found a satisfying solution to the self-interaction problem in the context of the classical field theory. To demonstrate the superiority of a pure particle ontology, I defend (...)
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  • Individuality and the Account of Non-Locality: The Case for the Particle Ontology in Quantum Physics.Michael Esfeld - unknown
    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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  • A Proposal for a Minimalist Ontology.Michael Esfeld - 2017 - Synthese:1-17.
    This paper seeks to answer the following question: What is a minimal set of entities that form an ontology of the natural world, given our well-established physical theories? The proposal is that the following two axioms are sufficient to obtain such a minimalist ontology: There are distance relations that individuate simple objects, namely matter points. The matter points are permanent, with the distances between them changing. I sketch out how one can obtain our well-established physical theories on the basis of (...)
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  • Relationalism About Mechanics Based on a Minimalist Ontology of Matter.Antonio Vassallo, Dirk-André Deckert & Michael Esfeld - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science:1-20.
    This paper elaborates on relationalism about space and time as motivated by a minimalist ontology of the physical world: there are only matter points that are individuated by the distance relations among them, with these relations changing. We assess two strategies to combine this ontology with physics, using classical mechanics as example: the Humean strategy adopts the standard, non-relationalist physical theories as they stand and interprets their formal apparatus as the means of bookkeeping of the change of the distance relations (...)
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  • Can Bohmian Quantum Information Help Us to Understand Consciousness?Paavo Pylkkänen - 2016 - In Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS). Springer Publishing Company. pp. 76-87.
    The paper explores whether David Bohm’ s proposal about quantum theoretical active information, and the mind-matter scheme he developed on the basis of it, can help us to explain consciousness. Here it is important to acknowledge that other researchers in philosophy of mind and consciousness studies have also made use of the concept of information in their theories of mind and consciousness. For example, Dretske and Barwise and Seligman have explored the possibility that information in the sense of factual semantic (...)
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  • Quantum Theory, Active Information and the Mind-Matter Problem.Paavo Pylkkänen - 2016 - In Contextuality from Quantum Physics to Psychology. Singapore: World Scientific. pp. 325-334.
    Bohm and Hiley suggest that a certain new type of active information plays a key objective role in quantum processes. This paper discusses the implications of this suggestion to our understanding of the relation between the mental and the physical aspects of reality.
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  • On the Conceptual Issues Surrounding the Notion of Relational Bohmian Dynamics.Antonio Vassallo & Pui Him Ip - 2016 - Foundations of Physics 46 (8):943-972.
    The paper presents a program to construct a non-relativistic relational Bohmian theory, that is, a theory of N moving point-like particles that dispenses with space and time as fundamental background structures. The relational program proposed is based on the best-matching framework originally developed by Julian Barbour. In particular, the paper focuses on the conceptual problems that arise when trying to implement such a program. It is argued that pursuing a relational strategy in the Bohmian context leads to a more parsimonious (...)
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  • Loop Quantum Gravity: A New Threat to Humeanism? Part I: The Problem of Spacetime.Vera Matarese - 2019 - Foundations of Physics 49 (3):232-259.
    In this paper, I discuss whether the results of loop quantum gravity constitute a fatal blow to Humeanism. There is at least a prima facie reason for believing so: while Humeanism regards spatiotemporal relations as fundamental, LQG describes the fundamental layer of our reality in terms of spin networks, which are not in spacetime. However, the question should be tackled more carefully. After explaining the importance of the debate on the tenability of Humeanism in light of LQG, and having presented (...)
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  • Spin as a Determinable.Johanna Wolff - 2015 - Topoi 34 (2):379-386.
    In this paper I aim to answer two questions: Can spin be treated as a determinable? Can a treatment of spin as a determinable be used to understand quantum indeterminacy? In response to the first question I show that the relations among spin number, spin components and spin values cannot be captured by a single determination relation; instead we need to look at spin number and spin value separately. In response to the second question I discuss three ways in which (...)
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