How Quantum Theory Helps Us Explain

Abstract
I offer an account of how the quantum theory we have helps us explain so much. The account depends on a pragmatist interpretation of the theory: this takes a quantum state to serve as a source of sound advice to physically situated agents on the content and appropriate degree of belief about matters concerning which they are currently inevitably ignorant. The general account of how to use quantum states and probabilities to explain otherwise puzzling regularities is then illustrated by showing how we can explain single-particle interference phenomena, the stability of matter, and interference of Bose–Einstein condensates. Finally, I note some open problems and relate this account to alternative approaches to explanation that emphasize the importance of causation, of unification, and of structure. 1 Introduction2 Two Requirements on Explanations in Physics3 What We Can use Quantum Theory to Explain4 The Function of Quantum States and Born Probabilities5 How These Functions Contribute to the Explanatory Task6 Example One: Single-Particle Interference7 Example Two: Explanation of the Stability of Matter8 Example Three: Bose Condensation9 Conclusion
Keywords quantum theory  scientific explanation  pragmatist interpretation
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive
External links
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles
    Richard Healey (1984). On Explaining Experiences of a Quantum World. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1984:56 - 69.
    Richard Healey (2012). Quantum Theory: A Pragmatist Approach. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (4):729-771.
    Michael Esfeld (1999). Quantum Holism and the Philosophy of Mind. Journal of Consciousness Studies 6 (1):23-38.
    Analytics

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index

    2011-08-12

    Total downloads

    179 ( #2,661 of 1,089,154 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    35 ( #2,271 of 1,089,154 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature


    Discussion
    Start a new thread
    Order:
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.