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Fundamental physical theories: mathematical structures grounded on a primitive ontology

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Title
Fundamental physical theories: mathematical structures grounded on a primitive ontology
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Mathematical structures grounded on a primitive ontology
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Allori
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Valia
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Valia Allori
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Maudlin
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Tim
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Tim Maudlin
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Arntzenius
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Frank
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Frank Arntzenius
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Barry Loewer
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Goldstein
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Sheldon
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Sheldon Goldstein
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David
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David Z Albert
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Rutgers University
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Graduate School - New Brunswick
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theses
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2007
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2007
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English
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electronic
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xii, 188 pages
Abstract
In my dissertation I analyze the structure of fundamental physical theories. I start with an analysis of what an adequate primitive ontology is, discussing the measurement problem in quantum mechanics and theirs solutions. It is commonly said that these theories have little in common. I argue instead that the moral of the measurement problem is that the wave function cannot represent physical objects and a common structure between these solutions
can be recognized: each of them is about a clear three-dimensional primitive ontology that evolves according to a law determined by the wave function. The primitive ontology is what matter is made of while the wave function tells the matter how to move. One might think that what is important in the notion of primitive ontology is their three-dimensionality. If so, in a theory like classical electrodynamics electromagnetic fields would be part of the primitive ontology.
I argue that, reflecting on what the purpose of a fundamental physical theory is, namely to explain the behavior of objects in three--dimensional space, one can recognize that a fundamental physical theory has a particular architecture. If so, electromagnetic fields play a different role in the theory than the particles and therefore should be considered, like the wave function, as part of the law.
Therefore, we can characterize the general structure of a fundamental physical theory as a mathematical structure grounded on a primitive ontology.
I explore this idea to better understand theories like classical mechanics and relativity, emphasizing that primitive ontology is crucial in the process of building new theories, being fundamental in identifying the symmetries.
Finally, I analyze what it means to explain the word around us in terms of the notion of primitive ontology in the case of regularities of statistical character. Here is where the notion of typicality comes into play: we have explained a phenomenon if the typical histories of the primitive ontology give rise to the statistical regularities we observe.
Note (type = degree)
Ph.D.
Note (type = bibliography)
Includes bibliographical references (p. 177-186).
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Topic
Philosophy
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Physics--Philosophy
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Graduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
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rucore10001600001
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http://hdl.rutgers.edu/1782.2/rucore10001600001.ETD.15778
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ETD_253
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Identifier (type = doi)
doi:10.7282/T3PK0GKK
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Valia Allori
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Rutgers University. Graduate School - New Brunswick
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I hereby grant to the Rutgers University Libraries and to my school the non-exclusive right to archive, reproduce and distribute my thesis or dissertation, in whole or in part, and/or my abstract, in whole or in part, in and from an electronic format, subject to the release date subsequently stipulated in this submittal form and approved by my school. I represent and stipulate that the thesis or dissertation and its abstract are my original work, that they do not infringe or violate any rights of others, and that I make these grants as the sole owner of the rights to my thesis or dissertation and its abstract. I represent that I have obtained written permissions, when necessary, from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis or dissertation and will supply copies of such upon request by my school. I acknowledge that RU ETD and my school will not distribute my thesis or dissertation or its abstract if, in their reasonable judgment, they believe all such rights have not been secured. I acknowledge that I retain ownership rights to the copyright of my work. I also retain the right to use all or part of this thesis or dissertation in future works, such as articles or books.
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