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Platonic Wholes and Quantum Ontology

Translated by Katarzyna Kretkowska


Marek Woszczek

The subject of the book is a reconsideration of the internalistic model of composition of the Platonic type, more radical than traditional, post-Aristotelian externalistic compositionism, and its application in the field of the ontology of quantum theory. At the centre of quantum ontology is nonseparability. Quantum wholes are atemporal wholes governed by internalistic logic and they are primitive, global physical entities, requiring an extreme relativization of the fundamental notions of mechanics. That ensures quantum theory to be fully consistent with the relativistic causal structure, without any spacelike nonlocality and time asymmetry, and makes the quantum blockworld ontology inevitable. It seems that the more internally relativized physics is, the more Platonic it becomes.
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Composition has doubtlessly been one of the intensely discussed problems in the whole history of metaphysics, but the development of fundamental physics has placed it in a completely novel light. Niels Bohr, when developing his refined interpretation of the newly formulated quantum mechanics in the 1920’s, placed the category of ‘the indivisible wholeness of the quantum phenomenon’ at the very centre of the physical theory and thus triggered off another round of disputes within the philosophy of nature, which – though that might seem a bit surprising – have recently been more and more intensely pervading the foundations of physics in the context of quantum cosmology. The next round of speculation was set off by the more or less independent reflections of Heisenberg and Pauli, who strove to find a place for their own accounts of quantum holism in the shadow of Bohr’s influential semi-positivistic statements. But then, in the 1960’s, John Bell [1987a] opened new perspectives for the discussion of ‘quantum nonlocality’ and quantum entangled states, and Y. Aharonov, P. Bergmann and J. Lebowitz [1964] (later also [Aharonov, Vaidman, 1990] and [Aharonov et al., 2009]) disclosed a time-symmetrized structure of quantum theory with a timelike entanglement, relational states and a deep connection to the Kochen–Specker [1967] theoretical result, causing quantum mechanics to be even more astounding to metaphysicians (which, probably, was later stimulated by David Bohm’s daring ontological ideas subtly indebted to ‘Copenhagen’ holism). Quantum wholes became even more non-classical than in the pre-Bell era, the latter not...

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