Epistemological vs. Ontological Relationalism in Quantum Mechanics: Relativism or Realism?


In this paper we investigate the history of relationalism and its present use in some interpretations of quantum mechanics. In the first part of this article we will provide a conceptual analysis of the relation between substantivalism, relationalism and relativism in the history of both physics and philosophy. In the second part, we will address some relational interpretations of quantum mechanics, namely, Bohr’s relational approach, the modal interpretation by Kochen, the perspectival modal version by Bene and Dieks and the relational interpretation by Rovelli. We will argue that all these interpretations ground their understanding of relations in epistemological terms. By taking into account the analysis on the first part of our work, we intend to highlight the fact that there is a different possibility for understanding quantum mechanics in relational terms which has not been yet considered within the foundational literature. This possibility is to consider relations in ontological terms. We will argue that such an understanding might be capable of providing a novel approach to the problem of representing what quantum mechanics is really talking about.



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Open Problems in Relational Quantum Mechanics.Federico Laudisa - 2019 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 50 (2):215-230.
Relational quantum entanglement beyond non-separable and contextual relativism.Christian de Ronde & César Massri - 2023 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 97 (C):68-78.

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