The primitive ontology of quantum physics: guidelines for an assessment of the proposals

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Esfeld, Michael
preprint description
The paper seeks to make progress from stating primitive ontology theories of quantum physics – notably Bohmian mechanics, the GRW matter density theory and the GRW flash theory – to assessing these theories. Four criteria are set out: (a) internal coherence; (b) empirical adequacy; (c) relationship to other theories; (d) explanatory value. The paper argues that the stock objections against these theories do not withstand scrutiny. Its focus then is on their explanatory value: they pursue different strategies to ground the textbook formalism of quantum mechanics, and they develop different explanations of quantum non-locality. In conclusion, it is argued that Bohmian mechanics offers a better prospect for making quantum non-locality intelligible than the GRW matter density theory and the GRW flash theory.