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Is It Possible to Nominalize Quantum Mechanics?

Bueno, Otávio (2002) Is It Possible to Nominalize Quantum Mechanics? [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    Hartry Field [1980] has developed an interesting nominalization strategy for Newtonian gravitation theory -- a strategy that reformulates the theory without quantification over abstract entities. According to David Malament [1982], Field�s strategy cannot be extended to quantum mechanics (QM), and so it only has a limited scope. In a recent work, Mark Balaguer has responded to Malament�s challenge, by indicating how QM can be nominalized, and by �doing much of the work needed to provide the nominalization� (Balaguer [1998], 114). In this paper, I critically assess Balaguer�s proposal, and argue that it ultimately fails. Balaguer�s strategy is incompatible with a number of interpretations of QM, in particular with Bas van Fraassen�s version of the modal interpretation. And given that Balaguer�s strategy invokes physically real propensities, it is unclear whether it is even compatible with nominalism. I conclude that the nominalization of QM still remains a major problem for the nominalist.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Keywords: Quantum Mechanics, Realism/Anti-Realism, Mathematics, General Philosophy of Science, Classical Physics
    Conferences and Volumes: [2002] Philosophy of Science Assoc. 18th Biennial Mtg - PSA 2002: Contributed Papers (Milwaukee, WI; 2002) > PSA 2002 Contributed Papers
    Depositing User: Program Committee
    Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2003
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:11
    Item ID: 1057
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/1057

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