A critique of Ontological Pluralism: the case for Quantum Mechanics

PDF ()

Cómo citar

Vila Pérez, J. (2016). A critique of Ontological Pluralism: the case for Quantum Mechanics. Revista Colombiana De Filosofía De La Ciencia, 15(31). https://doi.org/10.18270/rcfc.v15i31.1276


Scientifically speaking, quantum mechanics (QM) is the most successful theory ever made. Philosophically speaking, however, it is the most controversial theory. Its basic principles seem to contravene our deepest intuitions about reality, which are reflected in the metaphysical commitments of classical mechanics (CM). The aim of this paper is twofold. First, I argue that QM implies an ontological challenge, and not merely an “ontic” one, as it has been traditionally interpreted in the analytic tradition. Second, I suggest that positions known as “ontological pluralism” exhibit an internal weakness due to its unwarranted compromise to a representational view of scientific theories.

PDF ()


Beller, M. Quantum Dialogue: The Making of Revolution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999.

Bohm, David. Quantum Theory. New York: Prentice-Hall, 1952.

Bohr, N. “Causality and Complementarity”. Philosophy of Science 4 (1937): 289-298.

_____. Atomic Theory and the Description of Nature. Londres: Cambridge, 1934.

Born, M. The Born-Einstein Letters. Trad. Irene Born. Londres: MacMillan, 1971.

Bokulich, A. “Open or Closed? Dirac, Heisenberg, and the Relation between

Classical and Quantum Mechanics”. Studies in History and Philosophy of

Modern Physics 35 (2004): 377-396.

Chang, Hasok. Is Water H₂o?: Evidence, Realism and Pluralism. Dordrecht:

Springer, 2012.

Cartwright, N. “Fundamentalism vs. the Patchwork of Laws”, in M. Soteriou,

(ed) Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society. Oxford: Blackwell. Reprinted

in D. Papineau, (ed) The Philosophy of Science. Maidenhead, Berkshire:

Open University Press. 1994.

Cushing, J. T. Quantum Mechanics. Historical Contingency and the Copenhagen

Interpretation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994.

_____. “Quantum Theory and Explanatory Discourse: Endgame for Understanding?”

Philosophy of Science 58 (1991): 337-358.

Davidson, D. “On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme”. Proceedings and

Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 47 (1973/1974): 5-20.

Eller, Jack D. Introducing Anthropology of Religion: Culture to the Ultimate.

New York: Routledge, 2007.

Feyerabend, Paul K. Against Method: Outline of an Anarchist Theory of

Knowledge. London: NLB, 1978.

Fodor, J. “Special Sciences or: The Disunity of Science as a Working

Hypothesis”. Synthese 28 (1974): 97-115.

French, S. & Krause, D. Identity in Physics: A Historical, Philosophical, and

Formal Analysis. EE. UU.: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Giere, R. N. Science without Laws. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999.

Goodman, N. “Works, Words, Worlds”. Erkenntnis 9 (1975): 57-73.

Grossman, N. “Metaphysical Implications of Quantum Theory”. Synthese, 35

(1977): 79-97

Heelan, P. “Heisenberg and Radical Theoretic Change”. Zeitschrift für allgemeine

Wissenschaftstheorie 6 (1975): 113-138.

_____. Quantum Mechanics and Objectivity. Netherlands: The Hague, 1969

Heisenberg, W. Physics and Philosophy. Nueva York: Harper & Brothers, 1958.

Howard, D. “Who Invented the ‘Copenhagen Interpretation’? A Study in

Mythology”. Philosophy of Science 71 (2004): 669-682

Karakostas, V. “Realism and Objectivism in Quantum Mechanics”. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 43 (2012): 45-65.

Kellert, Stephen H. ; Longino, Helen E. & Waters, C. Kenneth (eds.) Scientific Pluralism. Univ of Minnesota Press. 2006.

Kitcher, P. “1953 and all that: A Tale of Two Sciences”. Philosophical Review 93 (1984): 335-373.

Krause, D. “Remarks on Quantum Ontology”. Synthese 125 (2000): 155-167.

Kuhn, T. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962.

Lombardi, O. & Narvaja, M. “Sobre la naturaleza posible de las entidades cuánticas”. Epistemología e Historia de la Ciencia 15 (2009): 320-326.

Lombardi, O. & Pérez Ransanz, A. “Lenguaje, ontología y relaciones interteóricas: en favor de un genuino pluralismo ontológico”. ARBOR. Ciencia, Pensamiento y Cultura 187 (2011): 43-52.

Lombardi, O. “Mecánica cuántica: ontología, lenguaje y racionalidad”. Racionalidad en Ciencia y Tecnología. Nuevas Perspectivas Iberoamericanas. Comp. A. R. Perez Ransanz y A. Velasco Gomez. México: UNAM, 2011.

Longino, H. The Fate of Knowledge. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2002.

Lowe, E. J. More Kinds of Being: A Further Study of Individuation, Identity, and the Logic of Sortal Terms. USA: Wiley/Blackwell, 2009.

Lukasiewicz, J. & Wedin, V. “On the Principle of Contradiction in Aristotle”. The Review of Metaphysics 24 (1971): 485-509.

Mill, John S. On Liberty. Raleigh, N.C: Alex Catalogue, 1990.

Nagel, Ernest. The Structure of Science: Problems in the Logic of Scientific Explanation. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1961.

Price, Huw. "Agency and Causal Asymmetry." Mind. 101.403 (1992): 501-520.

Prigogine, I. & Stengers, I. Order out of Chaos. Londres: Flamingo, 1984.

Pringe, H. “La filosofía trascendental y la interpretación de Bohr de la teoría cuántica”. Scientiæ studia 10 (2012): 179-194.

Putnam, H. Philosophical Paper. Vol. 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975.

Quine, W.V. “On What There Is”. “Speaking of Objects”. Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 31 (1956/1957): 5-22.

_____. Review of Metaphysics 2 (1948/1949): 21-38.

Redhead, M. L. G. & Teller, P. “Quantum physics and the identity of indiscernibles”.

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 43 (1992):201-218.

Richardson, R. “The Many Unities of Science: Politics, Semantics, and Ontology”.

Scientific Pluralism. Comp. S. H Kellert, E. Longino & K. Waters.

EE. UU. Minessota University Press, 2006.

Rosenberg, A. “How is Biological Explanation Possible?” British Society of the

Philosophy of Science 52 (2001): 735-760.

Sklar, L. “The reduction (?) of thermodynamics to statistical mechanics”.

Philosophical Studies 95 (1999): 187-202.

Scerri, E., Mcintyre, L. “The Case for the Philosophy of Chemistry”. Synthese

(1997): 213-232.

Taylor, C., “Ontology”. Philosophy 34/129 (1959): 125-141.

Worrall, J., “Structural Realism: The Best of Both Worlds?” Dialectica 43

(1989): 99-124.


La descarga de datos todavía no está disponible.