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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and the sort of ‘primitivism’ that denies that facts of identity and individuality must be analysable has become outdated.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. 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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  4. 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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  5.  26
    GRW as an Ontology of Dispositions.Mauro Dorato & Michael Esfeld - 2009 - 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 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 it provides for a clear sense in which quantum systems in entangled states possess properties (...)
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  6. On Becoming, Cosmic Time and Rotating Universes.Mauro Dorato - 2002 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 50:253-276.
    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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  7. 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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  8.  66
    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.
    The literature on the compatibility between the time of our experience--characterized by passage or becoming--and time as is represented within spacetime theories has been affected by a persistent failure to get a clear grasp of the notion of becoming, both in its relation to an ontology of events tt"spreadtt" in a four-dimensional manifold, and in relation to temporally asymmetric physical processes.In the first part of my paper I try to remedy this situation by offering what I consider a clear and (...)
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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. 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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  11.  46
    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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  12.  35
    The Nature of Representation in Feynman Diagrams.Mauro Dorato & Emanuele Rossanese - 2018 - Perspectives on Science 26 (4):443-458.
    After a brief presentation of Feynman diagrams, we criticizise the idea that Feynman diagrams can be considered to be pictures or depictions of actual physical processes. We then show that the best interpretation of the role they play in quantum field theory and quantum electrodynamics is captured by Hughes' Denotation, Deduction and Interpretation theory of models, where “models” are to be interpreted as inferential, non-representational devices constructed in given social contexts by the community of physicists.
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  13.  23
    Review of Simon Prosser’s Experiencing Time. [REVIEW]Mauro Dorato - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 4 (4):807-813.
    After reviewing the highly valuable contents of the book, I sketch two arguments in favor of the view that the passage of time is not, as the author claims, a mere byproduct of our experience. The first criticism involves the meaning of causation. The second Prosser's explanation of why it seems to us that time really passes, appealing to the distinction between endurantism and perdurantism. By suggesting the possibility that this distinction is not metaphysically genuine, I question the soundness of (...)
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  14. Realism and Instrumentalism About the Wave Function. How Should We Choose?Mauro Dorato & Federico Laudisa - 2014 - 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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  15. 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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  16. 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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  17.  88
    Scientific Explanation and Scientific Structuralism.Mauro Dorato & Laura Felline - 2009 - 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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  18.  98
    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.
  19.  21
    Do Dispositions and Propensities Have a Role in the Ontology of Quantum Mechanics? Some Critical Remarks.Mauro Dorato - unknown - Synthese Library.
    In order to tackle the question posed by the title – notoriously answered in the positive, among others, by Heisenberg, Margenau, Popper and Redhead – I first discuss some attempts at distinguishing dispositional from non-dispositional properties, and then relate the distinction to the formalism of quantum mechanics. Since any answer to the question titling the paper must be interpretation-dependent, I review some of the main interpretations of quantum mechanics in order to argue that the ontology of theories regarding “wave collapse” (...)
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  20.  74
    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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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23.  21
    The phenomenology and cognitive neuroscience of experienced temporality.Mauro Dorato & Marc Wittmann - 2020 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 19 (4):747-771.
    We discuss the three dominant models of the phenomenological literature pertaining to temporal consciousness, namely the cinematic, the retentional, and the extensional model. This is first done by presenting the distinction between acts and contents of consciousness and the assumptions underlying the different models concerning both the extendedness and duration of these two components. Secondly, we elaborate on the consequences related to whether a perspective of direct or indirect realism about temporal perceptions is assumed. Finally, we review some relevant findings (...)
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  24. Absolute Becoming, Relational Becoming, and the Arrow of Time.Mauro Dorato - unknown - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics.
    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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  25. 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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  26. 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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  27.  29
    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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  28.  60
    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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  29.  57
    Relativity Theory Between Structural and Dynamical Explanations.Mauro Dorato - 2006 - 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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  30.  41
    Physics and Metaphysics: Interaction or Autonomy?Mauro Dorato - 2010 - Humana Mente 4 (13).
    In this paper it is argued that if physics is to become a coherent metaphysics of nature, it needs an interpretation, namely (i) a clear formulation of its ontological/metaphysical claims and (ii) and a precise understanding of how such claims are related to the world of our experience, which is the most important reservoir of traditional, merely aprioristic metaphysical speculations. Such speculations − especially if conducted in full autonomy from physics, or imposed upon it “from the outside” − risk to (...)
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  31.  54
    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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  32. The Metaphysics of Laws: Dispositionalism Vs. Primitivism.Mauro Dorato & Michael Esfeld - 2014 - 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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  33.  25
    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.
  34. 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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  35. The Physical World as a Blob: Is OSR Really Realism?: Steven French: The Structure of the World: Metaphysics and Representation. Oxford: OUP, 2014, 416pp, ₤50.00 HB.Mauro Dorato - 2016 - Metascience 25 (2):173-181.
    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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  36. Bohr’s Relational Holism and the Classical-Quantum Interaction.Mauro Dorato - 2016
    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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  37.  67
    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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  38.  37
    Becoming and the Arrow of Causation.Mauro Dorato - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (3):534.
    The conceptual relation between objective becoming and the direction of time is explored by discussing an ontologically asymmetric notion of causation. It is claimed that such a notion, in terms of which Stein defined objective becoming in Minkowski spacetime, has either a purely metaphysical status or is reducible to physical concepts. In the former case, it is adequate for Stein's purpose but irrelevant to physical theories. In the latter, the causal asymmetry can be related to irreversible physical processes only in (...)
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  39. How to Combine and Not to Combine Physics and Metaphysics.Mauro Dorato - 2012 - 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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  40. 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.
  41.  20
    How to Combine and Not to Combine Physics and Metaphysics.Mauro Dorato - 2012
    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 a precise formulation of its ontological claims and a clear account of how such claims are related to the world of our experience. Notably, metaphysics enters importantly in both tasks: in, because interpreting our best physical theories requires going beyond a merely instrumentalist view of science and (...)
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  42.  27
    The Natural Ambiguity of the Notion of "Natural", and How to Overcome It.Mauro Dorato - 2012 - Epistemologia 35:71-87.
    In this paper I will explore the ramification ofthe distinction between fact and values in order to show that human values enter in various ways in both science and technologies without violating Humes factlvalue distinction. Among the nanotechnologies, I will discuss the case study provided by the use of microchips implanted under our skin: though they do not obviously overcome the limits of the natura! laws , their application might in principie jeopardize our ethical principles in a way that is (...)
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  43.  3
    The World of the Worms and the Quest for Reality.Mauro Dorato & Galileo - 1988 - Dialectica 42 (3):171-182.
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  44.  3
    Review. [REVIEW]Mauro Dorato - 1998 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49 (2):338-347.
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  45. Leggi di natura: Analisi storico-critica di un concetto.Giovanni Boniolo & Mauro Dorato (eds.) - 2001 - McGraw-Hill.
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  46. Aspetti epistemologici del concetto di tempo.Mauro Dorato - 1995 - Nuova Civiltà Delle Macchine 13 (1/2):99-111.
    In questo saggio analizzo alcuni problemi sollevati dalla concezione analitia del tempo.
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  47.  12
    A New Role For Philosophy In Scientific Revolutions.Mauro Dorato - 2008 - Metascience 17 (1):61-64.
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  48. Between Chance and Choice: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Determinism.Mauro Dorato - 2002 - Thorverton UK: Imprint Academic.
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  49. Che Cos'è Il Tempo?: Einstein, Gödel E l'Esperienza Comune.Mauro Dorato - 2013 - Carocci.
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  50. Cosa C'entra l'Anima Con Gli Atomi?: Introduzione Alla Filosofia Della Scienza.Mauro Dorato - 2007 - Laterza.
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