Physicalism, Matter and Relations Under Scrutiny: An Interpretation of Their Impossibility With The Assistance of Quantum Field Theory (Poster)
Organização:  European Philosophy of Science Association
Kolarac People's University Building, Belgrado
22 / 09 / 2023

If we understand physicalism as the claim that “everything that exists is something physical” (Esfeld, 1999) and, moreover, that current physics is devoted to explain the nature of what exists, then we are faced with a problem: physics tends to conceive things in relational terms, stressing their functions rather than their essence. This is an issue that leaves room for a natural question: what is the nature of matter and things that we conceive as related? Moreover, what are these relations about? We have not yet found an adequate answer to these questions. This paper will address these problems by questioning the relational character of some interpretations of quantum holism (Ismael and Schaffer, 2016; Esfeld 1999). I argue that relations, even if taken as the most fundamental thing of one whole (such as in quantum field theories), bear certain impossibilities under a physicalistic view. Their conception as basic along with the things they relate, and this entanglement as the ultimate character of matter, clashes against the specification of the latter. I’ll offer an alternative, based on avoiding relations and discarding physicalism as the privileged method to conceive reality.

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