Barren Worlds: The Scientific Image of Ontic Structural Realism

Disputatio 14 (65):65-90 (2022)
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Abstract

This work explores issues with the eliminativist formulation of ontic structural realism. An ontology that totally eliminates objects is found lacking by arguing, first, that the theoretical frameworks used to support the best arguments against an object-oriented ontology (quantum mechanics, relativity theory, quantum field theory) can be seen in every case as physical models of empty worlds, and therefore do not represent all the information that comes from science, and in particular from fundamental physics, which also includes information about local interactions between objects. Secondly, by giving a critical assessment of the role of symmetries in these fundamental physical theories; and, lastly, by warning about unfounded metaphysical assumptions. An argument is made for a moderate form of structural realism instead, one in which objects play the fundamental role of representing symmetries and bearing their conserved charges, and of participating in the network of interactions observed in the world.

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Federico Benitez
University of Lausanne

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References found in this work

Every thing must go: metaphysics naturalized.James Ladyman & Don Ross - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Don Ross, David Spurrett & John G. Collier.
Realism, Mathematics & Modality.Hartry H. Field - 1989 - New York, NY, USA: Blackwell.

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