Rutgers University - New Brunswick
Department of Philosophy
PhD, 2007
DeKalb, Illinois, United States of America
  •  2911
    This paper is a brief (and hopelessly incomplete) non-standard introduction to the philosophy of space and time. It is an introduction because I plan to give an overview of what I consider some of the main questions about space and time: Is space a substance over and above matter? How many dimensions does it have? Is space-time fundamental or emergent? Does time have a direction? Does time even exist? Nonetheless, this introduction is not standard because I conclude the discussion by presenting …Read more
  •  1426
    Primitive Ontology in a Nutshell
    International Journal of Quantum Foundations 1 (2): 107-122. 2015.
    The aim of this paper is to summarize a particular approach of doing metaphysics through physics - the primitive ontology approach. The idea is that any fundamental physical theory has a well-defined architecture, to the foundation of which there is the primitive ontology, which represents matter. According to the framework provided by this approach when applied to quantum mechanics, the wave function is not suitable to represent matter. Rather, the wave function has …Read more
  •  1396
    Decoherence and the classical limit of quantum mechanics
    Dissertation, University of Genova, Italy. 2002.
    In my dissertation (Rutgers, 2007) I developed the proposal that one can establish that material quantum objects behave classically just in case there is a “local plane wave” regime, which naturally corresponds to the suppression of all quantum interference.
  •  641
    For a long time it was believed that it was impossible to be realist about quantum mechanics. It took quite a while for the researchers in the foundations of physics, beginning with John Stuart Bell [Bell 1987], to convince others that such an alleged impossibility had no foundation. Nowadays there are several quantum theories that can be interpreted realistically, among which Bohmian mechanics, the GRW theory, and the many-worlds theory. The debate, though, is far from being over: in what respe…Read more
  •  593
    Quantum Mechanics and Paradigm Shifts
    Topoi 34 (2): 313-323. 2015.
    It has been argued that the transition from classical to quantum mechanics is an example of a Kuhnian scientific revolution, in which there is a shift from the simple, intuitive, straightforward classical paradigm, to the quantum, convoluted, counterintuitive, amazing new quantum paradigm. In this paper, after having clarified what these quantum paradigms are supposed to be, I analyze whether they constitute a radical departure from the classical paradigm. Contrary to what is commonly maintained…Read more
  •  390
    Primitive Ontology and the Classical World
    In R. Kastner, J. Jeknic-Dugic & G. Jaroszkiewicz (eds.), Quantum Structural Studies: Classical Emergence from the Quantum Level, World Scientific. pp. 175-199. 2016.
    In this paper I present the common structure of quantum theories with a primitive ontology, and discuss in what sense the classical world emerges from quantum theories as understood in this framework. In addition, I argue that the primitive ontology approach is better at answering this question than the rival wave function ontology approach or any other approach in which the classical world is nonreductively ‘emergent:’ even if the classical limit within this framework needs to be fully develope…Read more
  •  371
    On the Common Structure of Bohmian Mechanics and the Ghirardi–Rimini–Weber Theory Dedicated to GianCarlo Ghirardi on the occasion of his 70th birthday
    with Sheldon Goldstein, Roderich Tumulka, and Nino Zanghi
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (3). 2008.
    Bohmian mechanics and the Ghirardi-Rimini-Weber theory provide opposite resolutions of the quantum measurement problem: the former postulates additional variables (the particle positions) besides the wave function, whereas the latter implements spontaneous collapses of the wave function by a nonlinear and stochastic modification of Schrödinger's equation. Still, both theories, when understood appropriately, share the following structure: They are ultimately not about wave functions but about 'ma…Read more
  •  244
    In this paper (in Italian) we discuss how quantum theories can be thought of as having the same structure. If so, even the theories that appear to be about the wave function are incomplete, even if in a way which is very different from the one Einstein proposed.
  •  234
    What is quantum mechanics about? The most natural way to interpret quantum mechanics realistically as a theory about the world might seem to be what is called wave function ontology: the view according to which the wave function mathematically represents in a complete way fundamentally all there is in the world. Erwin Schroedinger was one of the first proponents of such a view, but he dismissed it after he realized it led to macroscopic superpositions (if the wave function evolves in time accord…Read more
  •  214
    On the Classical Limit of Quantum Mechanics
    with Nino Zanghi
    Foundations of Physics 10.1007/S10701-008-9259-4 39 (1): 20-32. 2008.
    Contrary to the widespread belief, the problem of the emergence of classical mechanics from quantum mechanics is still open. In spite of many results on the ¯h → 0 asymptotics, it is not yet clear how to explain within standard quantum mechanics the classical motion of macroscopic bodies. In this paper we shall analyze special cases of classical behavior in the framework of a precise formulation of quantum mechanics, Bohmian mechanics, which contains in its own structure the possibility of descr…Read more
  •  210
    In this paper I investigate, within the framework of realistic interpretations of the wave function in nonrelativistic quantum mechanics, the mathematical and physical nature of the wave function. I argue against the view that mathematically the wave function is a two-component scalar field on configuration space. First, I review how this view makes quantum mechanics non- Galilei invariant and yields the wrong classical limit. Moreover, I argue that interpreting the wave function as a ray, in ag…Read more
  •  193
    Predictions and Primitive Ontology in Quantum Foundations: A Study of Examples
    with Sheldon Goldstein, Roderich Tumulka, and Nino Zanghi
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (2): 323-352. 2014.
    A major disagreement between different views about the foundations of quantum mechanics concerns whether for a theory to be intelligible as a fundamental physical theory it must involve a ‘primitive ontology’ (PO), i.e. variables describing the distribution of matter in four-dimensional space–time. In this article, we illustrate the value of having a PO. We do so by focusing on the role that the PO plays for extracting predictions from a given theory and discuss valid and invalid derivations of …Read more
  •  193
    Book Review of: "Everywhere and Everywhen: Adventures in Physics and Philosophy" by Nick Huggett
  •  183
    Questa è la breve storia , forse un poco romanzata, del gatto che, se non forse il più citato, è di sicuro il più bistrattato della storia della fisica e della filosofia: il gatto di Schrödinger.
  •  175
    La meccanica quantistica è una delle più grandi conquiste intellettuali del xx secolo. Le sue leggiregolano il mondo atomico e subatomico e si riverberano su una miriade di fenomeni del mondomacroscopico, dalla formazione dei cristalli alla superconduttività, dalle proprietà dei fluidi a bassatemperatura agli spettri di emissione di una candela che brucia o di una supernova che esplode, daimeccanismi di combustione della fornace solare ai principi di base delle nanotecnologie. Non c’èquasi nulla …Read more
  •  163
    Maxwell's Paradox: The Metaphysics of Classical Electrodynamics and its Time Reversal Invariance
    Analytica: an electronic, open-access journal for philosophy of science 1 1-19. 2015.
    In this paper, I argue that the recent discussion on the time - reversal invariance of classical electrodynamics (see (Albert 2000: ch.1), (Arntzenius 2004), (Earman 2002), (Malament 2004),(Horwich 1987: ch.3)) can be best understood assuming that the disagreement among the various authors is actually a disagreement about the metaphysics of classical electrodynamics. If so, the controversy will not be resolved until we have established which alternative is the most natural. It turns out that we …Read more
  •  152
    Many Worlds and Schrodinger's First Quantum Theory
    with Sheldon Goldstein, Roderich Tumulka, and Nino Zanghi
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (1): 1-27. 2011.
    Schrödinger’s first proposal for the interpretation of quantum mechanics was based on a postulate relating the wave function on configuration space to charge density in physical space. Schrödinger apparently later thought that his proposal was empirically wrong. We argue here that this is not the case, at least for a very similar proposal with charge density replaced by mass density. We argue that when analyzed carefully, this theory is seen to be an empirically adequate many-worlds theory and n…Read more
  •  148
    Scientific realism is the view that our best scientific theories can be regarded as (approximately) true. This is connected with the view that science, physics in particular, and metaphysics could (and should) inform one another: on the one hand, science tells us what the world is like, and on the other hand, metaphysical principles allow us to select between the various possible theories which are underdetermined by the data. Nonetheless, quantum mechanics has always been regarded as, at best, …Read more
  •  129
    In this paper I wish to connect the recent debate in the philosophy of quantum mechanics concerning the nature of the wave function to the historical debate in the philosophy of science regarding the tenability of scientific realism. Being realist about quantum mechanics is particularly challenging when focusing on the wave function. According to the wave function ontology approach, the wave function is a concrete physical entity. In contrast, according to an alternative viewpoint, namely the pr…Read more
  •  126
    In this paper, I argue that Conway and Kochen’s Free Will Theorem (1,2) to the conclusion that quantum mechanics and relativity entail freedom for the particles, does not change the situation in favor of a libertarian position as they would like. In fact, the theorem more or less implicitly assumes that people are free, and thus it begs the question. Moreover, it does not prove neither that if people are free, so are particles, nor that the property people possess when they are said to be free i…Read more
  •  117
    What is Bohmian Mechanics
    with Nino Zanghi
    International Journal of Theoretical Physics 43 1743-1755. 2004.
    Bohmian mechanics is a quantum theory with a clear ontology. To make clear what we mean by this, we shall proceed by recalling first what are the problems of quantum mechanics. We shall then briefly sketch the basics of Bohmian mechanics and indicate how Bohmian mechanics solves these problems and clarifies the status and the role of of the quantum formalism.
  •  110
    Quantum mechanics has always been regarded as, at best, puzzling, if not contradictory. The aim of the paper is to explore a particular approach to fundamental physical theories, the one based on the notion of primitive ontology. This approach, when applied to quantum mechanics, makes it a paradox-free theory
  •  94
    From No-signaling to Spontaneous Localization Theories
    International Journal of Quantum Foundations 5 1-10. 2019.
    GianCarlo Ghirardi passed away on June 1st, 201. He would have turned 83 on October 28, 2018. He was without any doubt one of the most prominent theoretical physicists working on the foundation and the philosophy of quantum mechanics. In this paper I review some of his achievements and underline how his research influenced the philosophy of physics community.
  •  94
    Seven Steps Toward the Classical World
    with Detlef Duerr, Nino Zanghi, and Sheldon Goldstein
    Journal of Optics B 4. 2002.
    Classical physics is about real objects, like apples falling from trees, whose motion is governed by Newtonian laws. In standard quantum mechanics only the wave function or the results of measurements exist, and to answer the question of how the classical world can be part of the quantum world is a rather formidable task. However, this is not the case for Bohmian mechanics, which, like classical mechanics, is a theory about real objects. In Bohmian terms, the problem of the classical limit becom…Read more
  •  85
    Quantum Theory: A Philosopher’s Overview (review)
    International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (3): 330-333. 2010.
    Book Review of "Quantum Mechanics- a Philosopher's Overview," by Salvator Cannavo.
  •  67
    Response to authors "The Road to Maxwell's Demon"
    International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 29 (1): 94-98. 2015.
    I recently reviewed Hemmo and Shenker's book "The Road to Maxwell's Demon" and the authors subsequently replied to my criticism. Here is my response to them.
  •  62
    Book review of: "The Road to Maxwell's Demon: Conceptual Foundations of Statistical Mechanics" by M. Hemmo and O. Shenker (review)
    International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (4): 453-456. 2013.
    Book review of Meir Hemmo and Orly Shenker's book "The Road to Maxwell's Demon: Conceptual Foundations of Statistical Mechanics.".
  •  50
    Quantum mechanics, time and ontology
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 66 145-154. 2019.
    Against what is commonly accepted in many contexts, it has been recently suggested that both deterministic and indeterministic quantum theories are not time‐reversal invariant, and thus time is handed in a quantum world. In this paper, I analyze these arguments and evaluate possible reactions to them. In the context of deterministic theories, first I show that this conclusion depends on the controversial assumption that the wave‐function is a physically real scalar field in configuration space. …Read more
  •  42
    Book Review of "The Kantian legacy in nineteenth-century science" by M. Friedman and A. Nordmann (review)
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 47 (3). 2009.
    Book review of "The Kantian legacy in the Nineteenth -Century Science,'' M. Friedman, and A. Nordmann.