SOPhiA 2022

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Trope-Ontological Interpretation of Quantum Field Theory - A Case Study of Inductive Metaphysics
(Philosophy of Science, English)

Could tropes occur independently of their "things" or are they co-instantiated with "nomological necessity"? Can they at least temporarily detach themselves from a _bundle_? Keith Campbell argues for an empirical possibility of detachment: "The way concrete particularity dissolves in the subatomic world ... suggests that disassociated tropes are not just possibilities but are actually to be encountered at our world." (Campbell 1981, p. 128). Schaffer ( 2003) also argues that properties can indeed be thought independently of their "carriers" and that, for example, the idea of "free mass" - that is, a property independent of a thing - is, if not visually imaginable, at least logically thinkable. Furthermore in quantum field theory (QFT), Kuhlmann (2012) suggested to interpret particles as bundles of tropes. These metaphysicians lack, so fare, an empirical foundation for a trope ontological approach.

In the framework of inductive metaphysics (IM) empirical data and findings derived from empirical data are part of an essential basis for theory formation (Engelhard et al. 2021).

I argue that metaphysical beliefs in general should not be grounded on conceptual and a priori grounds alone. Empirical sources should play an important role in metaphysics and metaphysical theories should be justified a posteriori, based on inductive (or abductive) inferences from empirical data, embedded in a science-like methodology.

Trope ontology is a metaphysical theory, of a more general nature than a scientific theory. It is a metatheory, and thus falls within the subject matter of inductive metaphysic. If one wants to justify trope ontology of QFT in the sense of the IM programme (and not merely _purely metaphysically_), it must be shown that a _bundle understanding_ of particles can be justified by empirical data. Therefore a metaphysical discussion of the "Chesire Cat Effect" and the performed experiments, which shows that one can indeed separate a particle's properties in a matter-wave interferometer (Denkmayr et. al. 2014), is relevant for trope theoretical interpretation of quantum particles.

Chair: Wojciech Grabon
Time: 11:20-11:50, 09. September 2022 (Friday)
Location: SR 1.004

Nina Nicolin 
(Heinrich-Heine-University,, Germany)

Testability and Meaning deco