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A quantum ontology based on a relational notion of space

Thomas Filk Related
Physics 27/10/2017

Many so-called mysteries of quantum theory are related to our notions of “local” and “locality” in space. In most cases these notions are based on Newton’s ideas of space as a kind of “vessel” or “stage”, where matter “is at” a particular point. This view still holds in relativity (where events “happen at” a particular point). However, in the philosophy of science also alternative views of space (and time) have been proposed. Notably Descartes and Leibniz argued in favor of a relational space, in which the location of an object is not defined by “where it is” but “to which other entities it is related to”. Many mysteries of quantum mechanics (non-locality, summation over paths, the double-slit experiment, etc.) are more intuitive when viewed in this way.

In my talk I will sketch how this view might be extended to an ontology. Such an ontology (different from Bohmian mechanics) would support Bohm’s idea of “it is possible” and simultaneously show that Bohmian mechanics is not the only ontology which could reproduce the observed phenomenology and what is described by standard quantum theory.