Does an Adequate Physical Theory Demand a Primitive Ontology?

Philosophy of Science 80 (3):454-474 (2013)

Abstract

Configuration space representations have utility in physics but are not generally taken to have ontological significance. We examine one salient reason to think configuration space representations fail to be relevant in determining the fundamental ontology of a physical theory. This is based on a claim due to several authors that fundamental theories must have primitive ontologies. This claim would,if correct, have broad ramifications for how to read metaphysics from physical theory. We survey ways of understanding the argument for a primitive ontology in order to assess the case against configuration space realism.

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Alyssa Ney
University of California, Davis

References found in this work

Emergent Spacetime and Empirical (in) Coherence.Nick Huggett & Christian Wüthrich - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (3):276-285.
Elementary Quantum Metaphysics.David Albert - 1996 - In J. T. Cushing, Arthur Fine & Sheldon Goldstein (eds.), Bohmian Mechanics and Quantum theory: An Appraisal. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 277-284.
Quantum States for Primitive Ontologists: A Case Study.Gordon Belot - 2012 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (1):67-83.
Quantum Mechanics on Spacetime I: Spacetime State Realism.David Wallace & Christopher Gordon Timpson - 2010 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (4):697-727.

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