Quantum metametaphysics

Synthese 199 (3-4):1-25 (2021)
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Abstract

Say that metaphysical indeterminacy occurs just when there is a fact such that neither it nor its negation obtains. The aim of this work is to shed light on the issue of whether orthodox quantum mechanics provides any evidence of metaphysical indeterminacy by discussing the logical, semantic, and broadly methodological presuppositions of the debate. I argue that the dispute amounts to a verbal disagreement between classical and quantum logicians, given Eli Hirsch’s account of substantivity; but that it need not be so if Ted Sider’s naturalness-based account of substantivity is adopted instead. Given the latter approach, can anything be said in order to tip the balance of the dispute either way? Some prima facie reasonable constraints on naturalness entail that the classicist is right, and the quantum world is therefore determinate. Nevertheless, there are reasons for weakening those constraints, to the effect that the dispute remains very much open. Finally, I discuss alternative accounts of metaphysical indeterminacy, and argue that they are unsuitable for framing the quantum indeterminacy debate.

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Alessandro Torza
National Autonomous University of Mexico

References found in this work

Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Blackwell.
New Work for a Theory of Universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
Vagueness.Timothy Williamson - 1994 - London and New York: Routledge.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.

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