The physics and metaphysics of Tychistic Bohmian Mechanics

Patrick M. DUERR, Alexander EHMANN

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The paper takes up Bell's (1987) “Everett (?) theory” and develops it further. The resulting theory is about the system of all particles in the universe, each located in ordinary, 3-dimensional space. This many-particle system as a whole performs random jumps through 3N-dimensional configuration space – hence “Tychistic Bohmian Mechanics” (TBM). The distribution of its spontaneous localisations in configuration space is given by the Born Rule probability measure for the universal wavefunction. Contra Bell, the theory is argued to satisfy the minimal desiderata for a Bohmian theory within the Primitive Ontology framework (for which we offer a metaphysically more perspicuous formulation than is customary). TBM's formalism is that of ordinary Bohmian Mechanics (BM), without the postulate of continuous particle trajectories and their deterministic dynamics. This “rump formalism” receives, however, a different interpretation. We defend TBM as an empirically adequate and coherent quantum theory. Objections voiced by Bell and Maudlin are rebutted. The “for all practical purposes”-classical, Everettian worlds (i.e. quasi-classical histories) exist sequentially in TBM (rather than simultaneously, as in the Everett interpretation). In a temporally coarse-grained sense, they quasi-persist. By contrast, the individual particles themselves cease to persist.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-183
Number of pages16
JournalStudies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A
Early online date23 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Ernst Mach Grant worldwide, OeAD, Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF), AT

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s)


  • Bohmian mechanics
  • Underdetermination
  • Selective realism
  • Temporal solipsism
  • Many worlds
  • Bell's everett (?) theory
  • Primitive ontology


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