Abstract

The article sets out a primitive ontology of the natural world in terms of primitive stuff—that is, stuff that has as such no physical properties at all—but that is not a bare substratum either, being individuated by metrical relations. We focus on quantum physics and employ identity-based Bohmian mechanics to illustrate this view, but point out that it applies all over physics. Properties then enter into the picture exclusively through the role that they play for the dynamics of the primitive stuff. We show that such properties can be local (classical mechanics), as well as holistic (quantum mechanics), and discuss two metaphysical options to conceive them, namely, Humeanism and modal realism in the guise of dispositionalism.

  • 1Introduction

  • 2Primitive Ontology: Primitive Stuff

  • 3The Physics of Matter as Primitive Stuff

  • 4The Humean Best System Analysis of the Dynamical Variables

  • 5Modal Realism about the Dynamical Variables

  • 6Conclusion

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