Foundations of Science 23 (4):705-717 (2018)

Cristian Soto
University of Chile
Federico Benitez
University of Lausanne
We argue that the distinction between framework and interaction theories should be taken carefully into consideration when dealing with the philosophical implications of fundamental theories in physics. In particular, conclusions concerning the nature of reality can only be consistently derived from assessing the ontological and epistemic purport of both types of theories. We put forward an epistemic form of realism regarding framework theories, such as Quantum Field Theory. The latter, indeed, informs us about the general properties of quantum fields, laying the groundwork for interaction theories. Yet, concerning interaction theories, we recommend a robust form of ontological realism regarding the entities whose existence is assumed by these theories. As an application, we refer to the case of the Standard Model, so long as it has proved to successfully inform us about the nature of various sorts of fundamental particles making up reality. In short, although we acknowledge that both framework and interaction theories partake in shaping our science-based view of reality, and that neither would do by itself the work we expect them to accomplish together, our proposal for a coherent ontology of fundamental entities advances a compromise between two forms of realism about theories in each case.
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DOI 10.1007/s10699-018-9548-0
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What is Structural Realism?James Ladyman - 1998 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 29 (3):409-424.
Bohmian Mechanics.Sheldon Goldstein - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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