Dispositions, relational properties and the quantum world

In Maximilien Kistler (ed.), Dispositions and Causal Powers, Routledge, 2017,. London: Routledge. pp. pp.249-270. (2017)
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Abstract

In this paper I examine the role of dispositional properties in the most frequently discussed interpretations of non-relativistic quantum mechanics. After offering some motivation for this project, I briefly characterize the distinction between non-dispositional and dispositional properties in the context of quantum mechanics by suggesting a necessary condition for dispositionality – namely contextuality – and, consequently, a sufficient condition for non-dispositionality, namely non-contextuality. Having made sure that the distinction is conceptually sound, I then analyze the plausibility of the widespread, monistic ontological thesis about the reducibility of dispositional properties to categorical properties in the context of the philosophy of quantum mechanics. I conclude that with the exception of Bohmian mechanics, the other “minimally realist” views of quantum mechanics require essential dispositions, i.e., dispositions of a non-reducible kind. Interestingly, seen behind the lenses of dispositionalism, Bohr’s and Bohm’s interpretations of quantum mechanics are much closer than it is usually recognized, a fact that could teach us something about the way the quantum world is.

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Mauro Dorato
Università degli Studi Roma Tre

Citations of this work

GRW as an ontology of dispositions.Mauro Dorato & Michael Esfeld - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 41 (1):41-49.
GRW as an ontology of dispositions.Mauro Dorato & Michael Esfeld - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 41 (1):41-49.
A Refined Propensity Account for GRW Theory.Lorenzo Lorenzetti - 2021 - Foundations of Physics 51 (2):1-20.

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References found in this work

The philosophy of quantum mechanics.Max Jammer - 1974 - New York,: Wiley. Edited by Max Jammer.
Explanation and scientific understanding.Michael Friedman - 1974 - Journal of Philosophy 71 (1):5-19.
Dispositions.Stephen Mumford - 1998 - Oxford, GB: Clarendon Press.

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