Quantum metaphysical indeterminacy

Philosophical Studies 176 (10):2599–2627 (2019)
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Abstract

On many currently live interpretations, quantum mechanics violates the classical supposition of value definiteness, according to which the properties of a given particle or system have precise values at all times. Here we consider whether either metaphysical supervaluationist or determinable-based approaches to metaphysical indeterminacy can accommodate quantum metaphysical indeterminacy (QMI). We start by discussing the standard theoretical indicator of QMI, and distinguishing three seemingly different sources of QMI (S1). We then show that previous arguments for the conclusion that metaphysical supervaluationism cannot accommodate QMI, due to Darby 2010 and Skow 2010, are unsuccessful, in leaving open several supervaluationist responses. We go on to provide more comprehensive argumentation for the negative conclusion. Here, among other results, we establish that the problems for supervaluationism extend far beyond the concern that is the focus of Darby's and Skow's discussions (according to which a supervaluationist approach is incompatible with the orthodox interpretation, in light of the Kochen-Specker theorem) to also attach to common understandings of other interpretations on which there is QMI (S2). We then argue that a determinable-based account can successfully accommodate all three varieties of QMI (S3). We close by observing the positive mutual bearing of our results on the coherence and intelligibility of both quantum mechanics and metaphysical indeterminacy (S4).

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Author Profiles

Claudio Calosi
Université de Genève
Jessica M. Wilson
University of Toronto at Scarborough

Citations of this work

Modelling Deep Indeterminacy.George Darby & Martin Pickup - 2021 - Synthese 198:1685–1710.
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Quantum Indeterminacy and the Double-slit Experiment.Claudio Calosi & Jessica Wilson - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (10):3291-3317.
Against Quantum Indeterminacy.David Glick - 2017 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 6 (3):204-213.
Fundamental Nomic Vagueness.Eddy Keming Chen - 2022 - Philosophical Review 131 (1):1-49.

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