What does it mean ‘to exist’ in physics?

Physical theories give us the best available information about what there exists. Although physics is not ontology, it can be ontologically interpreted. In the present study, I propose to interpret physical theories à la Quine, i.e. not to speculate about what really exists, but rather to identify what a given physical theory presupposes that exists. I briefly suggest how Quine’s program should by adapted to this goal. To put the idea to the test, I apply it to the famous Hartle–Hawking model of the quantum creation of the universe from nothing, and try to discover what kind of nothingness the model presupposes. I also make some remarks concerning ontological commitments of the method of physics itself.
Keywords Hartle-Hawking quantum creation model  existence  nothingness in physics  ontology in the sense of Quine  ontology of physics
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