Axiomathes 25 (1):133-143 (2015)

João Cordovil
Universidade de Lisboa
Traditionally, Physics has been dominated by the image of objects, that is, by the atomistic metaphysics of absolutely intrinsic properties of qualitatively unchangeable individual entities. The first major challenge to this metaphysics inside physics comes with quantum mechanics, specifically with the well-known phenomenon known as ‘quantum entanglement’. From quantum entanglement it seems that we can conclude that: quantum objects are not independent entities; wholes have an ontological priority over their parts. However, it is arguable that is too risky to infer such conclusions directly from quantum mechanics. If epistemological consequences of quantum mechanics are inescapable, is seems unwise to take any direct ontological consequences from it. After all, quantum mechanics does not refer to the states of physical entities before measurements, but it is just a theory that allows us to calculate the possible outcomes from any given measurement. Still, this does not mean that, indirectly, quantum mechanics does not give some account of quantum reality that deeply challenges traditional objects metaphysics, namely, through the simple existence of the measurement problem; and through the experimental violations of Bell inequality. Even challenged, the object picture in physics can thus prevail. But we must also not forget that on the last decades, Quantum Physics has being evolved beyond the direct scope of quantum mechanics. I will try to argue that in at least some contemporary approaches in Quantum Physics we can see that there is a movement pointing towards a relational ontological view, according to which the ontological primacy is not to be given to individual entities, as self-sufficient elements with their own intrinsic and immutable identities—as in traditional object’s metaphysics—but to some sort of relational structures. I argue that although this relational metaphysics is still to be developed, it will have to be able to account for both the relational and object natures of quantum entities.
Keywords Contemporary quantum physics  Entanglement  Metaphysics of physics  Ontology  Relational metaphysics
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10516-014-9259-2
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: 72,577
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Philosophical Papers Vol. II.David K. Lewis (ed.) - 1986 - Oxford University Press.
Quantum Entanglement, Bohmian Mechanics, and Humean Supervenience.Elizabeth Miller - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (3):567-583.

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Logical Anomalies of Quantum Objects. A Survey.G. Peruzzi - 1990 - Foundations of Physics 20 (3):337-352.
Relational EPR.Matteo Smerlak & Carlo Rovelli - 2007 - Foundations of Physics 37 (3):427-445.
Rovelli’s World.Bas C. van Fraassen - 2010 - Foundations of Physics 40 (4):390-417.
Physics and Metaphysics: New Realities.Sevalnikov A. - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 43:193-198.
Intrinsic Properties of Quantum Systems.P. Hájíček & J. Tolar - 2009 - Foundations of Physics 39 (5):411-432.


Added to PP index

Total views
42 ( #273,866 of 2,533,585 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #390,861 of 2,533,585 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes