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Profile: Mauro Dorato (Università degli Studi Roma Tre)
  1. Grades of Individuality. A Pluralistic View of Identity in Quantum Mechanics and in the Sciences.Mauro Dorato & Matteo Morganti - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (3):591-610.
    This paper offers a critical assessment of the current state of the debate about the identity and individuality of material objects. Its main aim, in particular, is to show that, in a sense to be carefully specified, the opposition between the Leibnizian ‘reductionist’ tradition, based on discernibility, and the sort of ‘primitivism’ that denies that facts of identity and individuality must be analysable has become outdated. In particular, it is argued that—contrary to a widespread consensus—‘naturalised’ metaphysics supports both the acceptability (...)
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  2. GRW as an Ontology of Dispositions.Mauro Dorato & Michael Esfeld - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 41 (1):41-49.
    The paper argues that the formulation of quantum mechanics proposed by Ghirardi, Rimini and Weber (GRW) is a serious candidate for being a fundamental physical theory and explores its ontological commitments from this perspective. In particular, we propose to conceive of spatial superpositions of non-massless microsystems as dispositions or powers, more precisely propensities, to generate spontaneous localizations. We set out five reasons for this view, namely that (1) it provides for a clear sense in which quantum systems in entangled states (...)
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  3.  79
    Substantivalism, Relationism, and Structural Spacetime Realism.Mauro Dorato - 2000 - Foundations of Physics 30 (10):1605-1628.
    Debates about the ontological implications of the general theory of relativity have long oscillated between spacetime substantivalism and relationism. I evaluate such debates by claiming that we need a third option, which I refer to as “structural spacetime realism.” Such a tertium quid sides with the relationists in defending the relational nature of the spacetime structure, but joins the substantivalists in arguing that spacetime exists, at least in part, independently of particular physical objects and events, the degree of “independence” being (...)
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  4. Presentism/Eternalism and Endurantism/Perdurantism: Why the Unsubstantiality of the First Debate Implies That of the Second.Mauro Dorato - 2012 - Philosophia Naturalis 49 (1):25-41.
    The main claim that I want to defend in this paper is that the there are logical equivalences between eternalism and perdurantism on the one hand and presentism and endurantism on the other. By “logical equivalence” I mean that one position is entailed and entails the other. As a consequence of this equivalence, it becomes important to inquire into the question whether the dispute between endurantists and perdurantists is authentic, given that Savitt (2006) Dolev (2006) and Dorato (2006) have cast (...)
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  5. The Physical World as a Blob: Is OSR Really Realism? [REVIEW]Mauro Dorato - forthcoming - Metascience:1-9.
    In my review of Steven French's The structure of the world. Metaphysics & Representation. OUP, Oxford, 2014 I argue that the author is forced to navigate between the Scilla of Tegmark’s Pitagoreanism (2008) and the Carybdis of “blobobjectivism” (Horgan and Potrč 2008), namely the claim that the whole physical universe is a single concrete structurally complex but partless cosmos (a “blob”).
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  6. Holism and Structuralism in Classical and Quantum General Relativity.Mauro Dorato & Massimo Pauri - 2006 - In Dean Rickles, Steven French & Juha Saatsi (eds.), The Structural Foundations of Quantum Gravity. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 121-151.
    The main aim of our paper is to show that interpretative issues belonging to classical General Relativity (GR) might be preliminary to a deeper understanding of conceptual problems stemming from on-going attempts at constructing a quantum theory of gravity. Among such interpretative issues, we focus on the meaning of general covariance and the related question of the identity of points, by basing our investigation on the Hamiltonian formulation of GR. In particular, we argue that the adoption of a peculiar gauge-fixing (...)
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  7. Presentism and the Experience of Time.Mauro Dorato - 2015 - Topoi 34 (1):265-275.
    Presentists have typically argued that the Block View is incapable of explaining our experience of time. In this paper I argue that the phenomenology of our experience of time is, on the contrary, against presentism. My argument is based on a dilemma: presentists must either assume that the metaphysical present has no temporal extension, or that it is temporally extended. The former horn leads to phenomenological problems. The latter renders presentism metaphysically incoherent, unless one posits a discrete present that, however, (...)
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  8. Laws of Nature and the Reality of the Wave Function.Mauro Dorato - 2015 - Synthese 192 (10):3179-3201.
    In this paper I review three different positions on the wave function, namely: nomological realism, dispositionalism, and configuration space realism by regarding as essential their capacity to account for the world of our experience. I conclude that the first two positions are committed to regard the wave function as an abstract entity. The third position will be shown to be a merely speculative attempt to derive a primitive ontology from a reified mathematical space. Without entering any discussion about nominalism, I (...)
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  9. Mathematical Biology and the Existence of Biological Laws.Mauro Dorato - 2012 - In D. Dieks, S. Hartmann, T. Uebel & M. Weber (eds.), Probabilities, Laws and Structure. Springer.
    An influential position in the philosophy of biology claims that there are no biological laws, since any apparently biological generalization is either too accidental, fact-like or contingent to be named a law, or is simply reducible to physical laws that regulate electrical and chemical interactions taking place between merely physical systems. In the following I will stress a neglected aspect of the debate that emerges directly from the growing importance of mathematical models of biological phenomena. My main aim is to (...)
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  10. Ph.D.Mauro Dorato - 1993 - In Stanely Tweyman (ed.), Studies in early modern philosophy. Caravan Books Delmar. pp. 127-156.
    In this paper I sketch the evolution of the main theories of the relationship between time and motion from Descartes to Newton, by defending an hypothesis that traces back Newton’s realism about time to Barrow’s “metric realism”, which Newton developed as the claim that measuring a magnitude X implies that X exists independently of our measures.
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  11.  54
    Epistemic and Nonepistemic Values in Science.Mauro Dorato - 2004 - In Peter K. Machamer & Gereon Wolters (eds.), Science, Values, and Objectivity. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 52--77.
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  12.  91
    The Irrelevance of the Presentist/Eternalist Debate for the Ontology of Minkowski Spacetime.Mauro Dorato - unknown
    In this paper I argue that the debate between the so-called “presentists” – according to whom only the present is real – and the “eternalists”, according to whom past present and future are equally real, has no ontological significance. In particular, once we carefully distinguish between a tensed and a tenseless sense of existence, it is difficult to find a single ontological claim on which the two parties could disagree. Since the choice of using a tense or a tenseless language (...)
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  13. On Becoming, Cosmic Time and Rotating Universes.Mauro Dorato - 2002 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 50:253-.
    In the literature on the compatibility between the time of our experience and the time of physics, the special theory of relativity has enjoyed central stage. By bringing into the discussion the general theory of relativity, I suggest a new analysis of the misunderstood notion of becoming, developed from hints in Gödel’s published and unpublished arguments for the ideality of time. I claim that recent endorsements of such arguments, based on Gödel’s own “rotating” solution to Einstein’s field equation, fail: once (...)
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  14.  70
    Scientific Explanation and Scientific Structuralism.Mauro Dorato & Laura Felline - 2011 - In Alisa Bokulich & Peter Bokulich (eds.), Scientific Structuralism, Boston Studies in the Philosophy of science. Springer. pp. 161--176.
    In this paper we argue that quantum mechanics provides a genuine kind of structural explanations of quantum phenomena. Since structural explanations only rely on the formal properties of the theory, they have the advantage of being independent of interpretative questions. As such, they can be used to claim that, even in the current absence of one agreed-upon interpretation, quantum mechanics is capable of providing satisfactory explanations of physical phenomena. While our proposal clearly cannot be taken to solve all interpretive issues (...)
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  15.  44
    Bohr’s Relational Holism and the Classical-Quantum Interaction.Mauro Dorato - manuscript
    In this paper I present and critically discuss the main strategies that Bohr used and could have used to fend off the charge that his interpretation does not provide a clear-cut distinction between the classical and the quantum domain. In particular, in the first part of the paper I reassess the main arguments used by Bohr to advocate the indispensability of a classical framework to refer to quantum phenomena. In this respect, by using a distinction coming from an apparently unrelated (...)
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  16.  13
    Rovelli’s Relational Quantum Mechanics, Anti-Monism and Quantum Becoming.Mauro Dorato - unknown
    In this paper I present and defend Rovelli's relation quantum mechanics from some foreseeable objections, so as to clarify its philosophical implications vis a vis rival interpretations. In particular I will ask whether RQM presupposes a hidden recourse to both a duality of evolutions and of ontology. I then concentrate on the pluralistic, antimonistic metaphysical consequences of the theory, due to the impossibility of assigning a state to the quantum universe. Finally, in the last section I note interesting consequences of (...)
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  17.  85
    Realism and Instrumentalism About the Wave Function. How Should We Choose?Mauro Dorato & Federico Laudisa - forthcoming - In Shao Gan (ed.), Protective Measurements and Quantum Reality: Toward a New Understanding of Quantum Mechanics. Cambridge University Press.
    The main claim of the paper is that one can be ‘realist’ (in some sense) about quantum mechanics without requiring any form of realism about the wave function. We begin by discussing various forms of realism about the wave function, namely Albert’s configuration-space realism, Dürr Zanghi and Goldstein’s nomological realism about Ψ, Esfeld’s dispositional reading of Ψ Pusey Barrett and Rudolph’s realism about the quantum state. By discussing the articulation of these four positions, and their interrelation, we conclude that instrumentalism (...)
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  18.  88
    Properties and Dispositions: Some Metaphysical Remarks on Quantum Ontology.Mauro Dorato - unknown
    After some suggestions about how to clarify the confused metaphysical distinctions between dispositional and non-dispositional or categorical properties, I review some of the main interpretations of QM in order to show that – with the relevant exception of Bohm’s minimalist interpretation – quantum ontology is irreducibly dispositional. Such an irreducible character of dispositions must be explained differently in different interpretations, but the reducibility of the contextual properties in the case of Bohmian mechanics is guaranteed by the fact that the positions (...)
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  19.  35
    Relativity Theory Between Structural and Dynamical Explanations.Mauro Dorato - 2007 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 21 (1):95 – 102.
    (2007). Relativity Theory between Structural and Dynamical Explanations. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science: Vol. 21, No. 1, pp. 95-102.
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  20. The Naturalness of the Naturalistic Fallacy and the Ethics of Nanotechnology.Mauro Dorato - 2015 - In The Role of Technology in Science: Philosophical Perspectives. Springer Verlag.
    In the first part of this paper, I try to clear the ground from frequent misconceptions about the relationship between fact and value by examining some uses of the adjective “natural” in ethical controversies. Such uses bear evidence to our “natural” tendency to regard nature (considered in a descriptive sense, as the complex of physical and biological regularities) as the source of ethical norms. I then try to account for the origin of this tendency by offering three related explanations, the (...)
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  21.  20
    The Alexandroff Present and Minkowski Spacetime: Why It Cannot Do What It has Been Asked to Do1.Mauro Dorato - 2011 - In Dennis Dieks, Wenceslao Gonzalo, Thomas Uebel, Stephan Hartmann & Marcel Weber (eds.), Explanation, Prediction, and Confirmation. Springer. pp. 379--394.
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  22.  89
    Events and the Ontology of Quantum Mechanics.Mauro Dorato - 2015 - Topoi 34 (2):369-378.
    In the first part of the paper I argue that an ontology of events is precise, flexible and general enough so as to cover the three main alternative formulations of quantum mechanics as well as theories advocating an antirealistic view of the wave function. Since these formulations advocate a primitive ontology of entities living in four-dimensional spacetime, they are good candidates to connect that quantum image with the manifest image of the world. However, to the extent that some form of (...)
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  23. Absolute Becoming, Relational Becoming, and the Arrow of Time.Mauro Dorato - unknown
    My first and main claim is that physics cannot provide empirical evidence for the objectivity of absolute becoming, for the simple reason that it must presuppose it, at least to the extent that classical spacetime theories presuppose an ontology of events. However, the fact that a theory of absolute becoming must be situated in the a priori realm of metaphysics does not make becoming completely irrelevant for physics, since my second claim will consist in showing that relational becoming, once appropriately (...)
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  24.  96
    Dynamical Versus Structural Explanations in Scientific Revolutions.Mauro Dorato - 2017 - Synthese 194 (7):2307-2327.
    By briefly reviewing three well-known scientific revolutions in fundamental physics (the discovery of inertia, of special relativity and of general relativity), I claim that problems that were supposed to be crying for a dynamical explanation in the old paradigm ended up receiving a structural explanation in the new one. This claim is meant to give more substance to Kuhn’s view that revolutions are accompanied by a shift in what needs to be explained, while suggesting at the same time the existence (...)
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  25. How to Combine and Not to Combine Physics and Metaphysics.Mauro Dorato - forthcoming - In Dennis Dieks & Vassili Karakostas (eds.), Proceedings of the EPSA 2011.
    In this paper I will argue that if physics is to become a coherent metaphysics of nature it needs an “interpretation”. As I understand it, an interpretation of a physical theory amounts to offering (1) a precise formulation of its ontological claims and (2) a clear account of how such claims are related to the world of our experience. Notably, metaphysics enters importantly in both tasks: in (1), because interpreting our best physical theories requires going beyond a merely instrumentalist view (...)
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  26. Why Are (Most) Laws of Nature Mathematical?Mauro Dorato - 2005 - In Jan Faye, Paul Needham, Uwe Scheffler & Max Urchs (eds.), Nature's Principles. Springer. pp. 55--75.
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  27. TRUTH, LAWS AND THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE.Mauro Dorato - 2011 - Manuscrito 34 (1):185-204.
    In this paper I analyze the difficult question of the truth of mature scientific theories by tackling the problem of the truth of laws. After introducing the main philosophical positions in the field of scientific realism, I discuss and then counter the two main arguments against realism, namely the pessimistic metainduction and the abstract and idealized character of scientific laws. I conclude by defending the view that well-confirmed physical theories are true only relatively to certain values of the variables that (...)
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  28.  2
    GRW as an Ontology of Dispositions.Mauro Dorato & Michael Esfeld - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 41 (1):41-49.
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  29. Determinism, Chance, and Freedom.Mauro Dorato - 2002 - In Harald Atmanspacher & Robert C. Bishop (eds.), Between Chance and Choice: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Determinism. Thorverton UK: Imprint Academic. pp. 321--38.
    After a brief but necessary characterization of the notion of determinism, I discuss and critically evaluate four views on the relationship between determinism and free will by taking into account both (i) what matters most to us in terms of a free will worth-wanting and (ii) which capacities can be legitimately attributed to human beings without contradicting what we currently know from natural sciences. The main point of the paper is to argue that the libertarian faces a dilemma: on the (...)
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  30. Structural Explanations in Minkowski Spacetime: Which Account of Models?Mauro Dorato & Laura Felline - 2010 - In V. Petkov (ed.), Space, Time, and Spacetime. Springer. pp. 193-207.
    In this paper we argue that structural explanations are an effective way of explaining well known relativistic phenomena like length contraction and time dilation, and then try to understand how this can be possible by looking at the literature on scientific models. In particular, we ask whether and how a model like that provided by Minkowski spacetime can be said to represent the physical world, in such a way that it can successfully explain physical phenomena structurally. We conclude by claiming (...)
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  31.  72
    The Metaphysics of Laws: Dispositionalism Vs. Primitivism.Mauro Dorato & Michael Esfeld - forthcoming - In T. Bigaj & C. Wutrich (eds.), Metaphysics and Science. Poznan Studies.
    The paper compares dispositionalism about laws of nature with primitivism. It argues that while the distinction between these two positions can be drawn in a clear-cut manner in classical mechanics, it is less clear in quantum mechanics, due to quantum non-locality. Nonetheless, the paper points out advantages for dispositionalism in comparison to primitivism also in the area of quantum mechanics, and of contemporary physics in general.
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  32.  52
    Is Structural Spacetime Realism Relationism in Disguise? The Supererogatory Nature of the Substantivalism/Relationism Debate.Mauro Dorato - unknown
    The paper defends two claims; Viewed from the perspective of the substantivalism/relationism debate, structural spacetime realism is a form of relationism; However, if we managed to reinforce Rynasiewicz’s point that the general theory of relativity makes the substantivalism/relationism dispute “outdated”, the re-elaboration of Stein ’s 1967 version of structural spacetime realism to be proposed here proves to be a good, antimetaphysical solution to the problem of the ontological status of spacetime.
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  33. GRW as an Ontology of Dispositions.Mauro Dorato & Michael Esfeld - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 41 (1):41-49.
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  34.  31
    Absolute Becoming, Relational Becoming and the Arrow of Time: Some Non-Conventional Remarks on the Relationship Between Physics and Metaphysics.Mauro Dorato - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 37 (3):559-576.
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  35. Should We Represent the Present in Minkowski Spacetime?Mauro Dorato - unknown
    In recent times, there have been notable attempts to introduce an objective present in Minkowski spacetime, a structure that, however, should also be capable to explain some aspects of our experience of time. I claim that the “interactive present” introduced by Arthur and Savitt for such purposes is inadequate, since it turns out to be neither a physically relevant property nor a good explanans of our temporal experience. In its conclusive part, and after having proposed a more adequate model for (...)
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  36.  37
    Kant, Goedel and Relativity.Mauro Dorato - unknown
    Since the onset of logical positivism, the general wisdom of the philosophy of science has it that the kantian philosophy of (space and) time has been superseded by the theory of relativity, in the same sense in which the latter has replaced Newton’s theory of absolute space and time. On the wake of Cassirer and Gödel, in this paper I raise doubts on this commonplace by suggesting some conditions that are necessary to defend the ideality of time in the sense (...)
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  37.  19
    Dispositions, Relational Properties and the Quantum World.Mauro Dorato - unknown
    In this paper I examine the role of dispositional properties in the most frequently discussed interpretations of non-relativistic quantum mechanics. After offering some motivation for this project, I briefly characterize the distinction between non-dispositional and dispositional properties in the context of quantum mechanics by suggesting a necessary condition for dispositionality – namely contextuality – and, consequently, a sufficient condition for non-dispositionality, namely non-contextuality. Having made sure that the distinction is conceptually sound, I then analyze the plausibility of the widespread, monistic (...)
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  38.  36
    La Natura Delle Cose: Introduzione Ai Fondamenti E Alla Filosofia Della Fisica.Valia Allori, Mauro Dorato, Federico Laudisa & Nino Zanghi (eds.) - 2005 - Carocci.
    The year 2005 has been named the World Year of Physics in recognition of the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein's "Miracle Year," in which he published four landmark papers which had deep and great influence on the last and the current century: quantum theory, general relativity, and statistical mechanics. Despite the enormous importance that Einstein’s discoveries played in these theories, most physicists adopt a version of quantum theory which is incompatible with the idea that motivated Einstein in the first place. (...)
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  39.  32
    On Becoming, Relativity, and Nonseparability.Mauro Dorato - 1996 - Philosophy of Science 63 (4):585-604.
    In a reply to Nicholas Maxwell, Stein has proved that Minkowski spacetime can leave room for the kind of indeterminateness required both by certain interpretations of quantum mechanics and by objective becoming. By examining the consequences of outcome dependence in Bell-type experiments for the co-determinateness of spacelike-related events, I argue that the only becoming relation that is compatible with both causal and noncausal readings of the quantum correlations is the universal relation. This result might also undermine interpretations of quantum mechanics (...)
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  40.  4
    Absolute Becoming, Relational Becoming and the Arrow of Time: Some Non-Conventional Remarks on the Relationship Between Physics and Metaphysics.Mauro Dorato - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 37 (3):559-576.
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  41.  32
    Time, Relativity, and the Spatiality of Mental Events.Mauro Dorato - 1999 - In Maria Luisa Dalla Chiara (ed.), Language, Quantum, Music. pp. 197--207.
  42.  11
    Time and Reality: Spacetime Physics and the Objectivity of Temporal Becoming.Mauro Dorato & Craig Callender - 1997 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (1):117-120.
  43.  82
    Putnam on Time and Special Relativity: A Long Journey From Ontology to Ethics.Mauro Dorato - 2008 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 4 (2):51-70.
    1.: In this paper I discuss Putnam’s view on time and the special theory of relativity. I first locate Putnam’s philosophical approach within a more general framework, essentially making reference to Sellar’s distinction between the scientific image and the manifest image of the world. I then reconstruct Putnam’s argument in favour of the reality of the future and the determinateness of truth-value for future tense sentences by showing that it is based on three premises that generate a contradiction. In the (...)
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  44. Absolute Becoming, Relational Becoming and the Arrow of Time: Some Non-Conventional Remarks on the Relationship Between Physics and Metaphysics.Mauro Dorato - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 37 (3):559-576.
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  45.  65
    Peirce's “Method of Tenacity” and the “Method of Science”: The Consistency of Pragmatism and Naturalism.Mauro Dorato - unknown
    In 1877 Peirce distinguished four different methods of “fixating our beliefs”, among which I here concentrate on what could be called the “method of tenacity” and the “method of science”. I then use these distinctions to argue that despite their apparent conflict, pragmatism, relying on the method of tenacity, and naturalism, relying on the method of science, can and should coexist, both in science and in metaphysics.
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  46.  7
    The Physical World as a Blob: Is OSR Really Realism?Mauro Dorato - 2016 - Metascience 25 (2):173-181.
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  47.  62
    On Various Senses of “Conventional” and Their Interrelation in the Philosophy of Physics: Simultaneity as a Case Study.Mauro Dorato - 2010 - In Thomas Uebel, Stephan Hartmann, Wenceslao Gonzalez, Marcel Weber, Dennis Dieks & Friedrich Stadler (eds.), The Present Situation in the Philosophy of Science. Springer. pp. 335--349.
    My aim in this note is to disambiguate various senses of ‘conventional’ that in the philosophy of physics have been frequently conflated. As a case study, I will refer to the well-known issue of the conventionality of simultaneity in the special theory of relativity, since it is particularly in this context that the above mentioned confusion is present.
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  48.  23
    A New Perspective on Objectivity and Conventionalism.Antigone M. Nounou, Mauro Dorato, Sebastian Lutz, Stephan Hartmann, Talal A. Debs & Michael L. G. Redhead - 2010 - Metascience 19 (1):3-27.
  49.  16
    Tempo della mente e tempo della materia. La natura del presente e la teoria della relatività.Mauro Dorato - 2007 - Quaestio 7 (1):489-503.
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  50.  48
    Philosophy of Physics Between Objectivism and Conventionalism.Mauro Dorato - unknown
    The paper is a review of Talal Debs and Michael Redhead's 2007 book, Objectivity, Invariance, and Convention, Harvard, Harvard University Press.
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