From ontic structural realism to metaphysical coherentism

  • Matteo MorgantiEmail author
Paper in Philosophy of the Natural Sciences


The present paper argues that the typical structuralist claims according to which invariances, symmetries and the like are fundamental – especially in physics – should not be understood in terms of physical relations being fundamental. Rather, they should be understood in terms of ‘metaphysical coherentism’ - the idea that object-like parts of reality exhibit symmetric relations of ontological dependence. The view is developed in some detail, in particular by showing that i) symmetric ontological dependence does not necessarily lead to uninformative metaphysical explanations, and ii) metaphysical coherentism strikes the best balance between the requirements of naturalism and those of theoretical consistency – especially in view of the difficulties that structuralists seem to have in accounting for all state-independent properties of particles in relational terms. On this basis, the coherentist picture is applied to the interpretation of the quantum domain, and contrasted with extant varieties of structuralism, of both the eliminative and the non-eliminative sort, and holism.


Structuralism Ontic structural realism Objects Relations Coherentism Ontological dependence Symmetric dependence Quantum mechanics Entanglement 


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Filosofia, Comunicazione e SpettacoloUniversità di Roma TRERomeItaly

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