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Non-seperability, Non-supervenience, and Quantum Ontology

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022


An argument to the effect that quantum mechanics commits us to the existence of non-supervenient relations, and therefore that we should admit such relations into our quantum ontology as fundamental entities, has been given by Teller and reformulated by French. This paper aims, first, to explicate and evaluate that argument; second, to extend its premises in order to assess its relevance for other interpretations of quantum mechanics; and, third, to clarify its implications for holism and individuation in quantum ontology.

Research Article
Copyright © The Philosophy of Science Association

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The material of this paper is derived from my Ph.D. dissertation, “Ontological Commitments and Theory Appraisal in the Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics” (University of Notre Dame, 1998). Financial support for this work was provided by the John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values and the Zahm Research Travel Fund, University of Notre Dame. Initial research for this paper was conducted while a Visiting Scholar in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge during the Lent term 1997. My thanks to Steven French, Michael Esfeld and Yuri Balashov for helpful and stimulating discussions concerning the subject of this paper. My thanks also to several anonymous referees of earlier drafts of this paper for their critical and insightful comments and suggestions for improving the paper.


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