Quantum mechanics, emergence, and fundamentality

Peter Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Quantum mechanics arguably provides the best evidence we have for strong emergence. Entangled pairs of particles apparently have properties that fail to supervene on the properties of the particles taken individually. But at the same time, quantum mechanics is a terrible place to look for evidence of strong emergence: the interpretation of the theory is so contested that drawing any metaphysical conclusions from it is risky at best. I run through the standard argument for strong emergence based on entanglement, and show how it rests on shaky assumptions concerning the ontology of the quantum world. In particular, I consider two objections: that the argument involves Bell’s theorem, whose premises are often rejected, and that the argument rests on a contested account of parts and wholes. I respond to both objections, showing that, with some important caveats, the argument for emergence based on quantum mechanics remains intact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-75
Number of pages23
JournalPhilosophica
Volume92
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Quantum Mechanics
Fundamentality
Particle
Bell's Theorem
Metaphysical
Entanglement
Ontology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy

Cite this

Quantum mechanics, emergence, and fundamentality. / Lewis, Peter.

In: Philosophica, Vol. 92, No. 2, 01.01.2017, p. 53-75.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Lewis, P 2017, 'Quantum mechanics, emergence, and fundamentality', Philosophica, vol. 92, no. 2, pp. 53-75.
Lewis, Peter. / Quantum mechanics, emergence, and fundamentality. In: Philosophica. 2017 ; Vol. 92, No. 2. pp. 53-75.
@article{1858e31524794396bbea72a80b68010f,
title = "Quantum mechanics, emergence, and fundamentality",
abstract = "Quantum mechanics arguably provides the best evidence we have for strong emergence. Entangled pairs of particles apparently have properties that fail to supervene on the properties of the particles taken individually. But at the same time, quantum mechanics is a terrible place to look for evidence of strong emergence: the interpretation of the theory is so contested that drawing any metaphysical conclusions from it is risky at best. I run through the standard argument for strong emergence based on entanglement, and show how it rests on shaky assumptions concerning the ontology of the quantum world. In particular, I consider two objections: that the argument involves Bell’s theorem, whose premises are often rejected, and that the argument rests on a contested account of parts and wholes. I respond to both objections, showing that, with some important caveats, the argument for emergence based on quantum mechanics remains intact.",
author = "Peter Lewis",
year = "2017",
month = "1",
day = "1",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "92",
pages = "53--75",
journal = "Philosophica",
issn = "0379-8402",
publisher = "Rijksuniversiteit",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Quantum mechanics, emergence, and fundamentality

AU - Lewis, Peter

PY - 2017/1/1

Y1 - 2017/1/1

N2 - Quantum mechanics arguably provides the best evidence we have for strong emergence. Entangled pairs of particles apparently have properties that fail to supervene on the properties of the particles taken individually. But at the same time, quantum mechanics is a terrible place to look for evidence of strong emergence: the interpretation of the theory is so contested that drawing any metaphysical conclusions from it is risky at best. I run through the standard argument for strong emergence based on entanglement, and show how it rests on shaky assumptions concerning the ontology of the quantum world. In particular, I consider two objections: that the argument involves Bell’s theorem, whose premises are often rejected, and that the argument rests on a contested account of parts and wholes. I respond to both objections, showing that, with some important caveats, the argument for emergence based on quantum mechanics remains intact.

AB - Quantum mechanics arguably provides the best evidence we have for strong emergence. Entangled pairs of particles apparently have properties that fail to supervene on the properties of the particles taken individually. But at the same time, quantum mechanics is a terrible place to look for evidence of strong emergence: the interpretation of the theory is so contested that drawing any metaphysical conclusions from it is risky at best. I run through the standard argument for strong emergence based on entanglement, and show how it rests on shaky assumptions concerning the ontology of the quantum world. In particular, I consider two objections: that the argument involves Bell’s theorem, whose premises are often rejected, and that the argument rests on a contested account of parts and wholes. I respond to both objections, showing that, with some important caveats, the argument for emergence based on quantum mechanics remains intact.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85041965945&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85041965945&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85041965945

VL - 92

SP - 53

EP - 75

JO - Philosophica

JF - Philosophica

SN - 0379-8402

IS - 2

ER -