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How Humean is Bohumianism?

Bigaj, Tomasz and Vassallo, Antonio (2020) How Humean is Bohumianism? [Preprint]

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Abstract

An important part of the influential Humean doctrine in philosophy is the supervenience principle (sometimes referred to as the principle of separability). This principle asserts that the complete state of the world supervenes on the intrinsic properties of its most fundamental components and their spatiotemporal relations (the so-called Humean mosaic). There are well-known arguments in the literature purporting to show that in quantum mechanics the Humean supervenience principle is violated, due to the existence of entangled states. Recently, however, arguments have been presented to the effect that the supervenience principle can be defended in Bohmian mechanics. The key element of this strategy lies in the observation that according to Bohmian mechanics the fundamental facts about particles are facts about their spatial locations, and moreover, for any proper subsystem of the world its state may non-trivially depend on the spatial configuration of the rest of the universe. Thus quantum-mechanical states of subsystems do not represent their intrinsic properties but rather characterize their relations with the environment. In this paper we point out the worry that this Bohmian strategy --known as Bohumianism-- saves the letter but not the spirit of the Humean doctrine of supervenience, since it prima facie violates another seemingly important Humean principle, which we call Strong Supervenience and whose denial implies the existence of necessary connections among distinct individuals. We argue that the best defense for Bohumians is to question the fundamental existence of complex physical systems and their states by treating any reference to them as a convenient description of the underlying collection of Bohmian particles. We consider several pros and cons of this strategy.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Bigaj, Tomasz
Vassallo, Antonioantonio.vassallo1977@gmail.com0000-0002-1846-5362
Additional Information: Accepted for publication in Foundations of Physics.
Keywords: Humean supervenience; quantum entanglement; Bohmian mechanics; Bohumianism.
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Laws of Nature
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Antonio Vassallo
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2020 02:44
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2020 02:44
Item ID: 17475
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10701-020-00361-5
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Laws of Nature
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Date: 15 July 2020
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17475

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