Realism, the interpretation of quantum theory, and idealism

Confused ideas about the weirdness of quantum mechanics have sometimes been blamed for the spread of anti-realist positions in philosophy. In this seminar, I shall re-examine the relation between realism and quantum theory. My goal is to argue that one can remain a realist in a reasonably familiar sense, while adopting a theory which amounts to a form of idealism. After sketching the abstract mathematical structure of quantum theory, I will introduce realism and consider some of its problems and some counter-arguments. Next I will look at why quantum theory needs an interpretation and at some of the features common to many proposed interpretations. Then I will discuss some of the gaps in decoherence theory, when it is considered as an interpretation of quantum theory, and I will end with a sketch of my own realist version of idealism in which the fundamental entities are structures which define minds, and the fundamental laws govern the stochastic developments of those structures.
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