The Journal of Philosophy

Volume 120, Issue 8, August 2023

William M. R. Simpson
Pages 401-420

Small Worlds with Cosmic Powers

The wave function of quantum mechanics can be understood in terms of the dispositional role it plays in the dynamics of a distribution of matter in three-dimensional space (or four-dimensional spacetime). There is more than one way, however, of specifying its dispositional role. This paper considers Suárez’s theory of ‘Bohmian dispositionalism’, in which the particles are endowed with their own ‘Bohmian dispositions’, and Simpson’s theory of ‘Cosmic Hylomorphism’, in which the particle configuration comprises a hylomorphic substance which has an intrinsic power. I argue that Bohmian dispositionalism fails to capture intuitively correct counterfactuals about what would happen in Small Worlds which have only a small number of particles, but that this problem is avoided by Cosmic Hylomorphism, in which the cosmic power manifests a teleological process.