Predictions and Primitive Ontology in Quantum Foundations: A Study of Examples

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The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science-forthcoming

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Allori, Valia; Goldstein, Sheldon; tumulka, roderich; Zanghi, Nino
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article description
A major disagreement between different views about the foundations of quantum mechanics concerns whether for a theory to be intelligible as a fundamental physical theory it must involve a “primitive ontology” (PO), i.e., variables describing the distribution of matter in 4-dimensional space-time. In this paper, we illustrate the value of having a PO. We do so by focusing on the role that the PO plays for extracting predictions from a given theory and discuss valid and invalid derivations of predictions. To this end, we investigate a number of examples based on toy models built from the elements of familiar interpretations of quantum theory.