Functionalising the wavefunction

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 96:141-153 (2022)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Functionalism is the view that being x is to play the role of x. This paper defends a functionalist account of three-dimensional entities in the context of Wave Function Realism (WFR), that can explain in detail how we can recover three-dimensional entities out of the wavefunction. In particular, the essay advocates for a novel version of WFR in terms of a functional reductionist approach in the style of David Lewis. This account entails reduction of the upper entities to the bottom ones, when the latter behave appropriately. As applied to WFR, it shows how the wavefunction can turn out to be identical to three-dimensional objects, provided certain conditions. The first major goal of the paper is thus to put forward an improved and more rigorous version of WFR, which dissolves several extant issues about the theory, and can serve as a starting point for future literature on the topic. Moreover, the second major goal of the article is to take WFR as a case study to demonstrate the pros of functional reductionism, especially in the form defended here, thereby helping to bring this view back in the philosophy of science debate. The positive upshots of this paper suggest a possible application of functional reductionism also to other contexts.

Similar books and articles

Life in Configuration Space.Peter J. Lewis - 2004 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (4):713-729.
Wave-Functionalism.Valia Allori - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):12271-12293.
Does Gravity Induce Wavefunction Collapse? An Examination of Penrose's Conjecture.Shan Gao - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (2):148-151.
The Structure of a Quantum World.Jill North - 2013 - In Alyssa Ney & David Albert (eds.), The Wave Function: Essays on the Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics. Oxford University Press. pp. 184-202.
Losing Your Marbles in Wavefunction Collapse Theories.Rob Clifton & Bradley Monton - 1999 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 50 (4):697 - 717.

Analytics

Added to PP
2022-11-02

Downloads
49 (#237,125)

6 months
49 (#19,886)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Lorenzo Lorenzetti
University of Bristol

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Psychophysical and Theoretical Identifications.David K. Lewis - 1972 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 50 (3):249-258.
How to Define Theoretical Terms.David Lewis - 1970 - Journal of Philosophy 67 (13):427-446.
Realism About the Wave Function.Eddy Keming Chen - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (7).
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 26 references / Add more references