Bohmian Dispositions

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Synthese, ISSN: 0039-7857, Vol: 192, Issue: 10, Page: 3203-3228

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Suárez, Mauricio
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This paper argues for a broadly dispositionalist approach to the ontology of Bohmian mechanics. It first distinguishes the ‘minimal’ and the ‘causal’ versions of Bohm’s Theory, and then briefly reviews some of the claims advanced on behalf of the ‘causal’ version by its proponents. A number of ontological or interpretive accounts of the wave function in Bohmian mechanics are then addressed in detail, including i) configuration space, ii) multi-field, iii) nomological, and iv) dispositional approaches. The main objection to each account is reviewed, namely i) the ‘problem of perception’, ii) the ‘problem of communication’, iii) the ‘problem of temporal laws’, and iv) the ‘problem of under-determination’. It is then shown that a version of dispositionalism overcomes the under-determination problem while providing neat solutions to the other three problems. A pragmatic argument is thus furnished for the use of dispositions in the interpretation of the theory more generally. The paper ends in a more speculative note by suggesting ways in which a dispositionalist interpretation of the wave function is in addition able to shed light upon some of the claims of the proponents of the causal version of Bohmian mechanics.