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A Puzzle for the Field Ontologists

Gao, Shan (2020) A Puzzle for the Field Ontologists. Foundations of Physics.

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Abstract

It has been widely thought that the wave function describes a real, physical field in a realist interpretation of quantum mechanics. In this paper, I present a new analysis of the field ontology for the wave function. First, I argue that the non-existence of self-interactions for a quantum system such as an electron poses a puzzle for the field ontologists. If the wave function represents a physical field, then it seems odd that there are (electromagnetic and gravitational) interactions between the fields of two electrons but no interactions between two parts of the field of an electron. Next, I argue that the three solutions a field ontologist may provide are not fully satisfactory. Finally, I propose a solution of this puzzle that leads to a particle ontological interpretation of the wave function.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Gao, Shansgao7319@uni.sydney.edu.au
Keywords: Quantum mechanics; Wave function; Field ontology; Self-interactions; Particle ontology
Subjects: General Issues > Determinism/Indeterminism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Prof. Shan Gao
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2020 00:20
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2020 00:20
Item ID: 18347
Journal or Publication Title: Foundations of Physics
Publisher: Springer Nature
Official URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10701-0...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10701-020-00390-0
Subjects: General Issues > Determinism/Indeterminism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Date: 31 October 2020
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18347

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