Authors
Abstract
Radical ontic structural realism (ROSR) asserts an ontological commitment to ‘free-standing’ physical structures understood solely in terms of fundamental relations, without any recourse to relata that stand in these relations. Bain ([2013], pp.1621–35) has recently defended ROSR against the common charge of incoherence by arguing that a reformulation of fundamental physical theories in category-theoretic terms (rather than the usual set-theoretic ones) offers a coherent and precise articulation of the commitments accepted by ROSR. In this essay, we argue that category theory does not offer a more hospitable environment to ROSR than set theory. We also show that the application of category-theoretic tools to topological quantum field theory and to algebraic generalizations of general relativity do not warrant the claim that these theories describe ‘object-free’ structures. We conclude that category theory offers little if any comfort to ROSR. 1 Introduction: Ridding Structures of Objects2 The Set-theoretic Peril for Radical Ontic Structural Realism3 Bain’s Categorial Strategy to Save Radical Ontic Structural Realism4 Throwing out the Relations with the Relata5 Categorial and Set-theoretical Structures6 Radical Suggestions from Topological Quantum Field Theory?7 Sheaves of Einstein Algebras as Radical Structures?8 Conclusions.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2013, 2014, 2015
DOI 10.1093/bjps/axt053
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 62,481
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized.James Ladyman & Don Ross - 2007 - In James Ladyman, Don Ross, David Spurrett & John Collier (eds.), Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized. Oxford University Press.
Emergent Spacetime and Empirical (in) Coherence.Nick Huggett & Christian Wüthrich - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (3):276-285.

View all 34 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Structure of Causal Sets.Christian Wüthrich - 2012 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 43 (2):223-241.
Realism and its Representational Vehicles.Steven French - 2017 - Synthese 194 (9):3311-3326.
Categorical Generalization and Physical Structuralism: Figure 1.Raymond Lal & Nicholas Teh - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (1).
Entities Without Intrinsic Physical Identity.Vincent Lam - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (5):1157-1171.

View all 15 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Do Objects Depend on Structures?Johanna Wolff - 2012 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (3):607-625.
The Modal Nature of Structures in Ontic Structural Realism.Michael Esfeld - 2009 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (2):179 – 194.
Structures and Structural Realism.Décio Krause - 2003 - Logic Journal of the IGPL 13 (1):113-126.
Ontic Structural Realism as a Metaphysics of Objects.Michael Esfeld & Vincent Lam - 2011 - In Alisa Bokulich & Peter Bokulich (eds.), Scientific Structuralism. Springer Science+Business Media. pp. 143-159.
Ontic Structural Realism and the Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.Michael Esfeld - 2013 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 3 (1):19-32.
Points, Particles, and Structural Realism.Oliver Pooley - 2005 - In Dean Rickles, Steven French & Juha T. Saatsi (eds.), The Structural Foundations of Quantum Gravity. Oxford University Press. pp. 83--120.
Structuralism and Information.Otávio Bueno - 2010 - Metaphilosophy 41 (3):365-379.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2013-07-09

Total views
178 ( #58,392 of 2,446,293 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #231,958 of 2,446,293 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes