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Primitive Ontology and the Structure of Fundamental Physical Theories

Allori, Valia (2012) Primitive Ontology and the Structure of Fundamental Physical Theories. [Preprint]


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For a long time, it was believed that it was impossible to be realist about quantum mechanics. It took quite a while for the researchers in the foundations of physics, beginning with John Stuart Bell (1987), to convince others that such an alleged impossibility had no foundation. These days there are several quantum theories that can be interpreted in a realist fashion, among which Bohmian mechanics, the Ghirardi-Rimini-Weber (GRW) theory, and the many-worlds theory.
The debate, though, is far from being over. In what respect should we be realist regarding these theories? At least two different proposals have been made: on one hand, some insist on a direct ontological interpretation of the wave function as representing physical bodies, on the other hand are those who claim that quantum mechanics is not really about the wave function.
In this chapter I will present and discuss one proposal of the latter kind that focuses on the notion of primitive ontology.

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Item Type: Preprint
Additional Information: Forthcoming in: D. Albert, A. Ney (eds.), “The Wave Function,” Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Keywords: Quantum theories; primitive ontology; wave function ontology; symmetry properties.
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Structure of Theories
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Depositing User: Dr Valia Allori
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2012 03:29
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2012 03:29
Item ID: 9342

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