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Scientific Realism without the Wave-Function: An Example of Naturalized Quantum Metaphysics

Allori, Valia (2019) Scientific Realism without the Wave-Function: An Example of Naturalized Quantum Metaphysics. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Scientific realism is the view that our best scientific theories can be regarded as (approximately) true. This
is connected with the view that science, physics in particular, and metaphysics could (and should) inform
one another: on the one hand, science tells us what the world is like, and on the other hand, metaphysical
principles allow us to select between the various possible theories which are underdetermined by the data. Nonetheless, quantum mechanics has always been regarded as, at best, puzzling, if not contradictory. As such, it has been considered for a long time at odds with scientific realism, and thus a naturalized quantum metaphysics was deemed impossible. Luckily, now we have many quantum theories compatible with a realist interpretation. However, scientific realists assumed that the wavefunction, regarded as the principal ingredient of quantum theories, had to represent a physical entity, and
because of this they struggled with quantum superpositions. In this paper I discuss a particular approach which makes quantum mechanics compatible with scientific realism without doing that. In this approach,
the wave-function does not represent matter which is instead represented by some spatio-temporal entity
dubbed the primitive ontology: point-particles, continuous matter fields, space-time events. I argue how
within this framework one develops a distinctive theory-construction schema, which allows to perform a
more informed theory evaluation by analyzing the various ingredients of the approach and their interrelations.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Allori, Valiavallori@niu.edu
Keywords: quantum mechanics; wave function realism; primitive ontology
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Theory Change
Depositing User: Dr Valia Allori
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2019 14:56
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2019 14:56
Item ID: 15819
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Theory Change
Date: 2019
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15819

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