King's College London

Research portal

Observability, Visualizability and the Question of Metaphysical Neutrality

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1046-1062
JournalFOUNDATIONS OF PHYSICS
Volume45
Issue number9
DOIs
PublishedSep 2015

King's Authors

Abstract

Theories in fundamental physics are unlikely to be ontologically neutral, yet they may nonetheless fail to offer decisive empirical support for or against particular metaphysical positions. I illustrate this point by close examination of a particular objection raised by Wolfgang Pauli against Hermann Weyl. The exchange reveals that both parties to the dispute appeal to broader epistemological principles to defend their preferred metaphysical starting points. I suggest that this should make us hesitant to assume that in deriving metaphysical conclusions from physical theories we place our metaphysical theories on a purely empirical foundation. The metaphysics within a particular physical theory may well be the result of a priori assumptions in the background, not particular empirical findings.

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454