Ontic structural realism and the interpretation of quantum mechanics

European Journal for Philosophy of Science 3 (1):19-32 (2013)
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Abstract

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. This claim is illustrated by examining how OSR fares with respect to the three main candidates for an ontology of quantum mechanics, namely many worlds-type interpretations, collapse-type interpretations and hidden variable-type interpretations. The result is that OSR as such is not sufficient to answer the question of what the world is like if quantum mechanics is correct

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Michael Esfeld
University of Lausanne

Citations of this work

Laws of Nature as Constraints.Emily Adlam - 2022 - Foundations of Physics 52 (1):1-41.
Operational Theories as Structural Realism.Emily Adlam - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 94:99-111.
Metaphysics of Science as Naturalized Metaphysics.Michael Esfeld - 2018 - In Anouk Barberousse, Denis Bonnay & Mikael Cozic (eds.), The philosophy of science. A companion. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press. pp. 142-170.

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