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Mario Hubert
American University in Cairo
  1. The Ontology of Bohmian Mechanics.M. Esfeld, D. Lazarovici, Mario Hubert & D. Durr - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (4):773-796.
    The paper points out that the modern formulation of Bohm’s quantum theory known as Bohmian mechanics is committed only to particles’ positions and a law of motion. We explain how this view can avoid the open questions that the traditional view faces according to which Bohm’s theory is committed to a wave-function that is a physical entity over and above the particles, although it is defined on configuration space instead of three-dimensional space. We then enquire into the status of the (...)
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  2. The Wave-Function as a Multi-Field.Mario Hubert & Davide Romano - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (3):521-537.
    It is generally argued that if the wave-function in the de Broglie–Bohm theory is a physical field, it must be a field in configuration space. Nevertheless, it is possible to interpret the wave-function as a multi-field in three-dimensional space. This approach hasn’t received the attention yet it really deserves. The aim of this paper is threefold: first, we show that the wave-function is naturally and straightforwardly construed as a multi-field; second, we show why this interpretation is superior to other interpretations (...)
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  3. The Physics and Metaphysics of Primitive Stuff.Michael Esfeld, Dustin Lazarovici, Vincent Lam & Mario Hubert - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (1):133-61.
    The article sets out a primitive ontology of the natural world in terms of primitive stuff—that is, stuff that has as such no physical properties at all—but that is not a bare substratum either, being individuated by metrical relations. We focus on quantum physics and employ identity-based Bohmian mechanics to illustrate this view, but point out that it applies all over physics. Properties then enter into the picture exclusively through the role that they play for the dynamics of the primitive (...)
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  4. Understanding Physics: ‘What?’, ‘Why?’, and ‘How?’.Mario Hubert - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (3):1-36.
    I want to combine two hitherto largely independent research projects, scientific understanding and mechanistic explanations. Understanding is not only achieved by answering why-questions, that is, by providing scientific explanations, but also by answering what-questions, that is, by providing what I call scientific descriptions. Based on this distinction, I develop three forms of understanding: understanding-what, understanding-why, and understanding-how. I argue that understanding-how is a particularly deep form of understanding, because it is based on mechanistic explanations, which answer why something happens in (...)
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  5. Is the Statistical Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics ψ-Ontic or ψ-Epistemic?Mario Hubert - 2023 - Foundations of Physics 53 (16):1-23.
    The ontological models framework distinguishes ψ-ontic from ψ-epistemic wave- functions. It is, in general, quite straightforward to categorize the wave-function of a certain quantum theory. Nevertheless, there has been a debate about the ontological status of the wave-function in the statistical interpretation of quantum mechanics: is it ψ-epistemic and incomplete or ψ-ontic and complete? I will argue that the wave- function in this interpretation is best regarded as ψ-ontic and incomplete.
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  6. When Fields Are Not Degrees of Freedom.Vera Hartenstein & Mario Hubert - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (1):245-275.
    We show that in the Maxwell–Lorentz theory of classical electrodynamics most initial values for fields and particles lead to an ill-defined dynamics, as they exhibit singularities or discontinuities along light-cones. This phenomenon suggests that the Maxwell equations and the Lorentz force law ought rather to be read as a system of delay differential equations, that is, differential equations that relate a function and its derivatives at different times. This mathematical reformulation, however, leads to physical and philosophical consequences for the ontological (...)
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  7. Reviving Frequentism.Mario Hubert - 2021 - Synthese 199:5255–5584.
    Philosophers now seem to agree that frequentism is an untenable strategy to explain the meaning of probabilities. Nevertheless, I want to revive frequentism, and I will do so by grounding probabilities on typicality in the same way as the thermodynamic arrow of time can be grounded on typicality within statistical mechanics. This account, which I will call typicality frequentism, will evade the major criticisms raised against previous forms of frequentism. In this theory, probabilities arise within a physical theory from statistical (...)
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  8. How Quantum Mechanics Can Consistently Describe the Use of Itself.Dustin Lazarovici & Mario Hubert - 2019 - Scientific Reports 470 (9):1-8.
    We discuss the no-go theorem of Frauchiger and Renner based on an "extended Wigner's friend" thought experiment which is supposed to show that any single-world interpretation of quantum mechanics leads to inconsistent predictions if it is applicable on all scales. We show that no such inconsistency occurs if one considers a complete description of the physical situation. We then discuss implications of the thought experiment that have not been clearly addressed in the original paper, including a tension between relativity and (...)
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  9. The History of Moral Certainty as the Pre-History of Typicality.Mario Hubert - 2024 - Physics and the Nature of Reality: Essays in Memory of Detlef Dürr.
    This paper investigates the historical origin and ancestors of typicality, which is now a central concept in Boltzmannian Statistical Mechanics and Bohmian Mechanics. Although Ludwig Boltzmann did not use the word typicality, its main idea, namely, that something happens almost always or is valid for almost all cases, plays a crucial role for his explanation of how thermodynamic systems approach equilibrium. At the beginning of the 20th century, the focus on almost always or almost everywhere was fruitful for developing measure (...)
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  10. Absorbing the Arrow of Electromagnetic Radiation.Mario Hubert & Charles T. Sebens - 2023 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 99 (C):10-27.
    We argue that the asymmetry between diverging and converging electromagnetic waves is just one of many asymmetries in observed phenomena that can be explained by a past hypothesis and statistical postulate (together assigning probabilities to different states of matter and field in the early universe). The arrow of electromagnetic radiation is thus absorbed into a broader account of temporal asymmetries in nature. We give an accessible introduction to the problem of explaining the arrow of radiation and compare our preferred strategy (...)
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  11. Towards Ideal Understanding.Mario Hubert & Federica Isabella Malfatti - 2023 - Ergo 10 (22):578-611.
    What does it take to understand a phenomenon ideally, or to the highest conceivable extent? In this paper, we answer this question by arguing for five necessary conditions for ideal understanding: (i) representational accuracy, (ii) intelligibility, (iii) truth, (iv) reasonable endorsement, and (v) fitting. Even if one disagrees that there is some form of ideal understanding, these five conditions can be regarded as sufficient conditions for a particularly deep level of understanding. We then argue that grasping, novel predictions, and transparency (...)
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  12. How Philosophy May Help to Deal with Disagreement.Mario Hubert - 2023 - Everyday Lifestyle Blog of the American Philosophical Association.
    Philosophy is sometimes perceived as an abstract and nerdy discipline dealing with problems of its own creation in an isolated chamber of the Ivory Tower. And there is some truth to this view. But philosophy can help us deal with common problems, such as the disagreements we have in our everyday lives.
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  13. Quantity of Matter or Intrinsic Property: Why Mass Cannot Be Both.Mario Hubert - 2016 - In Laura Felline, Antonio Ledda, F. Paoli & Emanuele Rossanese (eds.), New Developments in Logic and Philosophy of Science. London: College Publications. pp. 267–77.
    I analyze the meaning of mass in Newtonian mechanics. First, I explain the notion of primitive ontology, which was originally introduced in the philosophy of quantum mechanics. Then I examine the two common interpretations of mass: mass as a measure of the quantity of matter and mass as a dynamical property. I claim that the former is ill-defined, and the latter is only plausible with respect to a metaphysical interpretation of laws of nature. I explore the following options for the (...)
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  14. What If Light Doesn't Exist?Mario Hubert - 2022 - The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    This is the BJPS Short Read version of the article When Fields Are Not Degrees of Freedom. In our article, Vera Hartenstein and I show that the world of classical electromagnetism might differ radically from the one we see in physics textbooks and experience day-to-day. First, light may not exist; second, the laws of electromagnetism are either incomplete or completely different; and, third, the mathematics needed to make exact calculations with these novel laws is in early development and not part (...)
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  15. Anchoring Causal Connections in Physical Concepts.Roland Poellinger & Mario Hubert - 2014 - In Maria Clara Galavotti, Dennis Dieks, W. J. Gonzalez, Stephan Hartmann, Thomas Uebel & Marcel Weber (eds.), New Directions in the Philosophy of Science. pp. 501-509.
    In their paper "How Fundamental Physics represents Causality", Andreas Bartels and Daniel Wohlfarth maintain that there is place for causality in General Relativity. Their argument contains two steps: First they show that there are time-asymmetric models in General Relativity, then they claim to derive that two events are causally connected if and only if there is a time-asymmetric energy flow from one event to the other. In our comment we first give a short summary of their paper followed by a (...)
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  16. Review of Alyssa Ney’s 
The World in the Wave Function: A Metaphysics for Quantum Physics[REVIEW]Mario Hubert - 2022 - Philosophy of Science 89 (4):864-875.
    There is not much of a consensus on almost anything about quantum mechanics. I take it, however, that the minimum consensus is that "although quantum mechanics is empirically successful, quantum mechanics is hard to understand." Quantum mechanics, in the way it is presented in most textbooks, does indeed not provide a clear picture of reality that would make it a theory to be understood. In her new book, "The World in the Wave Function: A Metaphysics for Quantum Physics," Alyssa Ney (...)
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  17. The Meaning of the Wave Function: In Search of the Ontology of Quantum Mechanics. [REVIEW]Mario Hubert - 2017 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (00):00-00.
    What is the meaning of the wave-function? After almost 100 years since the inception of quantum mechanics, is it still possible to say something new on what the wave-function is supposed to be? Yes, it is. And Shan Gao managed to do so with his newest book. Here we learn what contemporary physicists and philosophers think about the wave-function; we learn about the de Broglie-Bohm theory, the GRW collapse theory, the gravity-induced collapse theory by Roger Penrose, and the famous PBR (...)
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