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Conference Paper: The complex interplay between the ontological status of the wavefunction and the motion of the particles in the De BroglieBohm Theory
Title  The complex interplay between the ontological status of the wavefunction and the motion of the particles in the De BroglieBohm Theory 

Authors  
Issue Date  2016 
Citation  The 4th International Summer School in Philosophy of Physics, Saig, Germany, 1823 July 2016. How to Cite? 
Abstract  This contribution aims to show the complex interplay between the ontological status of the wavefunction and the kinematics and dynamics of the particles within the guidance view of the de BroglieBohm theory. In particular, it deals with two formulations of the theory. The former, which goes under the name of Bohmian mechanics, puts the particles in a Galilean spacetime and considers the wavefunction as a nomological entity; the latter, which is normally known as the pilotwave theory, puts the particles in an Aristotelian spacetime and regards the wavefunction as a physical field. On one hand, I will show that the difference of the ontological status of the wavefunction is due to a difference in how the theory is formulated. On the other hand, I will show that in both cases the dynamics and kinematics of the particles are determined by a prior ontological commitment concerning the wavefunction. My talk will open with a brief summary of Bohmian Mechanics and its nomological view in connection with the dispositional view. After that, I will claim that, given the Galilean spacetime and the law of motion for the particles, the natural choice is to attribute a nomological status to the wavefunction. I will argue, however, that this is true only if we adopt a certain argument according to which we derive the dynamics from the kinematics. I will also point out that the nomological status of the wavefunction was already presupposed before building the guiding law of motion. My last consideration will be that, given the nomological status of the wavefunction, the kinematics of the theory becomes ambiguous. In particular, we need a clarification of the meaning of ‘natural state’, otherwise we have two possible natural motions for Bohmian Mechanics, which are either uniform velocity or the velocity given by the wavefunction through the law of motion. This last inertial motion, however, would on one hand endorse a dispositional interpretation of the wavefunction, on the other hand, it would imply the abandonment of perhaps Galilean spacetime and certainly Newtonian mechanics. In the second part of my talk, I will investigate the ontological status of the wavefunction in the Pilotwave theory. I will show that on one hand the realist interpretation of the wavefunction is a necessary commitment once we hold true the dynamics and the kinematics of the particles, and in particular once we hold true that we derive the kinematics from the dynamics. I will however point out that this derivation is straightforward if and only if we first assume that the wavefunction represents a physical field. I will draw a twofold conclusion, which is useful for any theory. On one hand it is methodologically wrong to decide on the ontological status of the wavefunction regardless of the structure of the theory. On the other hand, it is sometimes naïve to say that we should not read off the ontology from the formalism, since the formalism may be determined by a certain ontological choice. 
Description  Student Presentations 
Persistent Identifier  http://hdl.handle.net/10722/233693 
DC Field  Value  Language 

dc.contributor.author  Matarese, V   
dc.date.accessioned  20160920T05:38:30Z   
dc.date.available  20160920T05:38:30Z   
dc.date.issued  2016   
dc.identifier.citation  The 4th International Summer School in Philosophy of Physics, Saig, Germany, 1823 July 2016.   
dc.identifier.uri  http://hdl.handle.net/10722/233693   
dc.description  Student Presentations   
dc.description.abstract  This contribution aims to show the complex interplay between the ontological status of the wavefunction and the kinematics and dynamics of the particles within the guidance view of the de BroglieBohm theory. In particular, it deals with two formulations of the theory. The former, which goes under the name of Bohmian mechanics, puts the particles in a Galilean spacetime and considers the wavefunction as a nomological entity; the latter, which is normally known as the pilotwave theory, puts the particles in an Aristotelian spacetime and regards the wavefunction as a physical field. On one hand, I will show that the difference of the ontological status of the wavefunction is due to a difference in how the theory is formulated. On the other hand, I will show that in both cases the dynamics and kinematics of the particles are determined by a prior ontological commitment concerning the wavefunction. My talk will open with a brief summary of Bohmian Mechanics and its nomological view in connection with the dispositional view. After that, I will claim that, given the Galilean spacetime and the law of motion for the particles, the natural choice is to attribute a nomological status to the wavefunction. I will argue, however, that this is true only if we adopt a certain argument according to which we derive the dynamics from the kinematics. I will also point out that the nomological status of the wavefunction was already presupposed before building the guiding law of motion. My last consideration will be that, given the nomological status of the wavefunction, the kinematics of the theory becomes ambiguous. In particular, we need a clarification of the meaning of ‘natural state’, otherwise we have two possible natural motions for Bohmian Mechanics, which are either uniform velocity or the velocity given by the wavefunction through the law of motion. This last inertial motion, however, would on one hand endorse a dispositional interpretation of the wavefunction, on the other hand, it would imply the abandonment of perhaps Galilean spacetime and certainly Newtonian mechanics. In the second part of my talk, I will investigate the ontological status of the wavefunction in the Pilotwave theory. I will show that on one hand the realist interpretation of the wavefunction is a necessary commitment once we hold true the dynamics and the kinematics of the particles, and in particular once we hold true that we derive the kinematics from the dynamics. I will however point out that this derivation is straightforward if and only if we first assume that the wavefunction represents a physical field. I will draw a twofold conclusion, which is useful for any theory. On one hand it is methodologically wrong to decide on the ontological status of the wavefunction regardless of the structure of the theory. On the other hand, it is sometimes naïve to say that we should not read off the ontology from the formalism, since the formalism may be determined by a certain ontological choice.   
dc.language  eng   
dc.relation.ispartof  4th International Summer School in Philosophy of Physics   
dc.title  The complex interplay between the ontological status of the wavefunction and the motion of the particles in the De BroglieBohm Theory   
dc.type  Conference_Paper   
dc.identifier.hkuros  266082   