Particles and Laws of Nature in Classical and Quantum Physics


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PhD thesis: a PhD thesis.
Particles and Laws of Nature in Classical and Quantum Physics
Hubert Mario
Esfeld Michael
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Université de Lausanne, Faculté des lettres
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I combine the idea of a primitive ontology with the metaphysics of laws of nature. In so doing, I examine the theoretical entities that are postulated in Newtonian mechanics, classical electrodynamics, and the de Broglie–Bohm quantum theory. I argue that the existence of mass, forces, fields, and the wave-function depends on the status of laws. The three major theories on laws of nature I treat are Humeanism, dispositionalism, and primitivism about laws. I point out that properties are notoriously ignored in debates on primitive ontologies. In fact, I show that properties, both intrinsic and relational, aren’t needed in physics; therefore, I replace the primitive ontology with a primitive stuff ontology, whose elements have no properties.
Recently, a debate has started on the ontological status of forces in classical mechanics; I criticize the major positions and present my own idea that focuses on the status of laws of nature. Another hot topic is the status of the wave-function. Here, I develop a new interpretation in the framework of Humeanism that crucially differs from that advocated by David Albert and Barry Loewer, in that our world is not an illusion of a reality in configuration space. In addition, I propose a hitherto unconsidered way in which the wave–function can be construed as a holistic disposition.
particles, laws of nature, primitive ontology, local beables, fields, wave-function, classical physics, quantum physics
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13/01/2017 18:32
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29/10/2020 12:49
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