According to the standard view, the so-called ‘Copenhageninterpretation’ of quantum mechanics originated in discussions between Bohr and Heisenberg in 1927, and was defended by Bohr in his classic debate with Einstein. Yet recent scholarship has shown Bohr’s views were never widely accepted, let alone properly understood, by his contemporaries, many of whom held divergent views of the ‘Copenhagen orthodoxy’. This paper examines how the ‘myth of the Copenhageninterpretation’ was constructed by situating it in (...) the context of Soviet Marxist critique of quantum mechanics in the 1950s and the response by physicists such as Heisenberg and Rosenfeld. (shrink)
The Copenhageninterpretation, which informs the textbook presentation of quantum mechanics, depends fundamentally on the notion of ontological wave-particle duality and a viewpoint called “complementarity.” In this paper, Bohr's own interpretation is traced in detail and is shown to be fundamentally different from and even opposed to the Copenhageninterpretation in virtually all its particulars. In particular, Bohr's interpretation avoids the ad hoc postulate of wave function ‘collapse' that is central to the Copenhagen (...)interpretation. The strengths and weakness of both interpretations are summarized. ‡I thank Edward Mackinnon, Henry Folse, and Greg Anderson for valuable comments on the penultimate draft. The final responsibility for the paper rests with the author. †To contact the author, please write to: Bhaktivedanta Institute, 2334 Stuart Street, Berkeley, CA; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. I have been unable to achieve a sharp formulation of Bohr's principle of complementarity despite much effort I have expended on it. (Einstein 1949, 674) While imagining that I understand the position of Einstein, as regards the EPR correlations, I have very little understanding of his principal opponent, Bohr. (Bell 1987, 155) Niels Bohr brain-washed a generation of physicists into believing that the problem had been solved fifty years ago. (Gell-Mann 1979, 29) Every sentence I say must be understood not as an affirmation, but as a question. (Niels Bohr, quoted in Jammer 1966, 175) Bohr's interpretation has never been fully clarified. It needs an interpretation itself, and only that will be its defense. (Weizsäcker 1971, 25). (shrink)
What is commonly known as the Copenhageninterpretation of quantum mechanics, regarded as representing a unitary Copenhagen point of view, differs significantly from Bohr's complementarity interpretation, which does not employ wave packet collapse in its account of measurement and does not accord the subjective observer any privileged role in measurement. It is argued that the Copenhageninterpretation is an invention of the mid‐1950s, for which Heisenberg is chiefly responsible, various other physicists and philosophers, including (...) Bohm, Feyerabend, Hanson, and Popper, having further promoted the invention in the service of their own philosophical agendas. (shrink)
The Copenhageninterpretation, which informs the textbook presentation of quantum mechanics, depends fundamentally on the notion of ontological wave-particle duality and a viewpoint called “complementarity”. In this paper, Bohr’s own interpretation is traced in detail and is shown to be fundamentally different from and even opposed to the Copenhageninterpretation in virtually all its particulars. In particular, Bohr’s interpretation avoids the ad hoc postulate of wave function ‘collapse’ that is central to the Copenhagen (...)interpretation. The strengths and weakness of both interpretations are summarized. (shrink)
Popper conceived an experiment whose analysis led to a result that he deemed absurd. Popper wrote that his reasoning was based on the Copenhageninterpretation and therefore invalidated it. Many authors who have examined Popper's analysis have found in it various technical flaws which are briefly summarized here. However, the aim of the present article is not technical. My concern is to redress logical flaws in Popper's argument: the terminology he uses is ambiguous, his analysis involves counterfactual hypotheses, (...) and it violates Bohr's complementarity principle. Therefore, the absurdity of Popper's result only confirms Bohr's approach. (shrink)
Within the past decade there has grown an acute and highly articulate group of critics of the orthodox interpretation of quantum theory,--the so-called "CopenhagenInterpretation." The writings of people like Bopp, Janossy, and particularly Bohm and Feyerabend, must be taken very seriously indeed. The future of some important discussions in the philosophy and the logic of science rests with these individuals. But they have, in their own writings, occasionally matched the inelegancies of Bohr and Heisenberg with as (...) many inelegancies of their own. The present paper is meant to present a quintet of considerations which may possibly lead to a reassessment of the issues between Bohr, Heisenberg, and their critics, especially Bohm and Feyerabend. (shrink)
This paper presents a new Symmetrical Interpretation (SI) of relativistic quantum mechanics which postulates: quantum mechanics is a theory about complete experiments, not particles; a complete experiment is maximally described by a complex transition amplitude density; and this transition amplitude density never collapses. This SI is compared to the CopenhagenInterpretation (CI) for the analysis of Einstein’s bubble experiment. This SI makes several experimentally testable predictions that differ from the CI, solves one part of the measurement problem, (...) resolves some inconsistencies of the CI, and gives intuitive explanations of some previously mysterious quantum effects. (shrink)
As the theory of the atom, quantum mechanics is perhaps the most successful theory in the history of science. It enables physicists, chemists, and technicians to calculate and predict the outcome of a vast number of experiments and to create new and advanced technology based on the insight into the behavior of atomic objects. But it is also a theory that challenges our imagination. It seems to violate some fundamental principles of classical physics, principles that eventually have become a part (...) of western common sense since the rise of the modern worldview in the Renaissance. So the aim of any metaphysical interpretation of quantum mechanics is to account for these violations. (shrink)
The statistical aspects of quantum explanation are intrinsic to quantum physics; individual quantum events are created in the interactions associated with observation and are not describable by predictive theory. The superposition principle shows the essential difference between quantum and non-quantum physics, and the principle is exemplified in the classic single-photon two-slit interference experiment. Recently Mandel and Pfleegor have done an experiment somewhat similar to the optical single-photon experiment but with two independently operated lasers; interference is obtained even with beam intensity (...) so small that only one photon is in the apparatus at a time. The result can be understood in terms of the superposition of states; or, in terms of the Uncertainty Principle, which is found to forbid the determination of which of the two lasers is the source of a given photon (if conditions for interference are to obtain). The Mandel-Pfleegor experiment gives a physical argument against the continuous localization of a photon that is assumed in the hidden variable theories and therefore gives further support for the generally accepted view that an observed entity (observed state) is created in the observation event. This aspect of quantum physics implies a subjectivism on the level of individual quantum-level occurrences, since there is in quantum theory no basis for asserting the existence of the event independently of observation of it. Extension of this subjectivism to large scale, non-quantum phenomena falls within the principles of quantum theory; counter considerations that argue against such an extension are noted. (shrink)
A growing number of commentators have, in recent years, noted the important affinities in the views of Immanuel Kant and Niels Bohr. While these commentators are correct, the picture they present of the connections between Bohr and Kant is painted in broad strokes; it is open to the criticism that these affinities are merely superficial. In this essay, I provide a closer, structural, analysis of both Bohr's and Kant's views that makes these connections more explicit. In particular, I demonstrate the (...) similarities between Bohr's argument, on the one hand, that neither the wave nor the particle description of atomic phenomena pick out an object in the ordinary sense of the word, and Kant's requirement, on the other hand, that both ‘mathematical’ (having to do with magnitude) and ‘dynamical’ (having to do with an object's interaction with other objects) principles must be applicable to appearances in order for us to determine them as objects of experience. I argue that Bohr's ‘complementarity interpretation’ of quantum mechanics, which views atomic objects as idealizations, and which licenses the repeal of the principle of causality for the domain of atomic physics, is perfectly compatible with, and indeed follows naturally from a broadly Kantian epistemological framework. (shrink)
Copenhageninterpretation of quantum mechanics deals with these problems is reviewed. A new interpretation of the formalism of quantum mechanics, the transactional interpretation, is presented. The basic element of this interpretation is the transaction describing a quantum event as an exchange of advanced and retarded waves, as implied by the work of Wheeler and Feynman, Dirac, and others. The transactional interpretation is explicitly nonlocal and thereby consistent with recent tests of the Bell inequality, yet (...) is relativistically invariant and fully causal. A detailed comparison of the transactional and Copenhagen interpretations is made in the context of well-known quantum-mechanical Gedankenexperimenre and "paradoxes." The transactional interpretation permits quantum-mechanical wave functions to be interpreted as real waves physically present in space rather than as "mathematical representations of knowledge" as in the Copenhageninterpretation. The transactional interpretation is shown to provide insight into the complex character of the quantum-mechanical state vector and the mechanism associated with its "collapse." It also leads in a natural way to justification of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle and the Born probability law (P = ii iij*), basic elements of the Copenhageninterpretation. (shrink)
We present an alternative to the Copenhageninterpretation of the formalism of nonrelativistic quantum mechanics. The basic difference is that the new interpretation is formulated in the language of epistemological realism. It involves a change in some basic physical concepts. Elementary particles are considered as extended objects and nonlocal effects are included. The role of the new concepts in the problems of measurement and of the Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen correlations is described. Experiments to distinguish the proposed interpretation from (...) the Copenhagen one are pointed out. (shrink)
This column is about experimental tests of the various interpretations of quantum mechanics. The question at issue is whether we can perform experiments that can show whether there is an "observer-created reality" as suggested by the CopenhagenInterpretation, or a peacock’s tail of rapidly branching alternate universes, as suggested by the Many-Worlds Interpretation, or forward-backward in time handshakes, as suggested by the Transactional Interpretation? Until recently, I would have said that this was an impossible task, but (...) a new experiment has changed my view, and I now believe that the Copenhagen and Many-Worlds Interpretations (at least as they are usually presented) have been falsified by experiment. (shrink)
The transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics is summarized and various points concerning the transactional interpretation and its relation to the Copenhageninterpretation are considered. Questions concerning mapping the transactional interpretation onto the Copenhageninterpretation, of advanced waves as solutions to proper wave equations, of collapse and the quantum formalism, and of the relation of quantum mechanical interpretations to experimental tests and results are discussed.
This paper argues against the possibility of presenting a consistent version of the CopenhagenInterpretation of Quantum Physics, characterizing its founders' philosophical pronouncements including those on the realism-antirealism issue, as a contingent collection of local, often contradictory, moves in changing theoretical and sociopolitical circumstances. The paper analyzes the fundamental differences of opinion between Bohr and the mathematical physicists, Heisenberg and Born, concerning the foundational doctrine of the "indispensability of classical concepts", and their related disagreements on "quantum reality." The (...) paper concludes with an explanation of how the appearance of consensus was achieved despite fundamental disagreements among the proponents. The paper undermines the adequacy of the notion of a general conceptual framework to describe the philosophical endeavors of working scientists. (shrink)
In his 1939 Lectures, the prominent Soviet physicist L. I. Mandelstam proposed an interpretation of quantum mechanics that was understood in different ways. To assess Mandelstam's interpretation, we classify contemporary interpretations of quantum mechanics and compare his interpretation with others developed in the 1930s (the Copenhageninterpretation and the statistical interpretations proposed by K. R. Popper, H. Margenau, and E. C. Kemble). We conclude that Mandelstam's interpretation belongs to the family of minimal statistical interpretations (...) and has much in common with interpretations developed by American physicists. Mandelstam's characteristic message was his theory of indirect measurement, which influenced his discussion of the "reduction of the wave packet" and the Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen argument. This article also reconstructs what lay behind Mandelstam's interpretation of quantum mechanics. This was his operationalism, by virtue of which his interpretation resembled Kemble's, in which the statistical and Copenhagen views had been combined. Like Popper and Margenau, Mandelstam followed R. von Mises's empirical conception of probability. Mandelstam, like the other proponents of the statistical approach to quantum mechanics, was affected by the culture of macroscopic experimentation with its emphasis on statistical (collective) measurement. (shrink)
I describe a pedagogical scheme devised to teach efficiently to computer scientists just enough quantum mechanics to permit them to understand the theoretical developments of the last decade going under the name of ''quantum computation.'' I then note that my offbeat approach to quantum mechanics, designed to be maximally efficacious for this specific educational purpose, is nothing other than the Copenhageninterpretation.
In this companion to ‘Charity, Interpretation, and Belief’, McGinn broadens his attack on Davidson's principle of charity, arguing that charity is no more required for the ascription of notional beliefs (i.e. shared concepts) than it is for the ascription of relational beliefs. His argument takes the form of a reductio: if Davidson were right that about the inherently charitable nature of interpretation, then, McGinn argues, traditional sceptical worries (e.g. concerning the external world, other minds) would not even arise. (...) But that is absurd. In the concluding section, McGinn presents his preferred (Quinean) method of interpretation, according to which the ascription of beliefs and meanings proceeds only after the attribution of perceptual experiences. (shrink)
E. Schrödinger's ideas on interpreting quantum mechanics have been recently re-examined by historians and revived by philosophers of quantum mechanics. Such recent re-evaluations have focused on Schrödinger's retention of space–time continuity and his relinquishment of the corpuscularian understanding of microphysical systems. Several of these historical re-examinations claim that Schrödinger refrained from pursuing his 1926 wave-mechanical interpretation of quantum mechanics under pressure from the Copenhagen and Göttingen physicists, who misinterpreted his ideas in their dogmatic pursuit of the complementarity doctrine (...) and the principle of uncertainty. My analysis points to very different reasons for Schrödinger's decision and, accordingly, to a rather different understanding of the dialogue between Schrödinger and N. Bohr, who refuted Schrödinger's arguments. Bohr's critique of Schrödinger's arguments predominantly focused on the results of experiments on the scattering of electrons performed by Bothe and Geiger, and by Compton and Simon. Although he shared Schrödinger's rejection of full-blown classical entities, Bohr argued that these results demonstrated the corpuscular nature of atomic interactions. I argue that it was Schrödinger's agreement with Bohr's critique, not the dogmatic pressure, which led him to give up pursuing his interpretation for 7 yr. Bohr's critique reflected his deep understanding of Schrödinger's ideas and motivated, at least in part, his own pursuit of his complementarity principle. However, in 1935 Schrödinger revived and reformulated the wave-mechanical interpretation. The revival reflected N. F. Mott's novel wave-mechanical treatment of particle-like properties. R. Shankland's experiment, which demonstrated an apparent conflict with the results of Bothe–Geiger and Compton–Simon, may have been additional motivation for the revival. Subsequent measurements have proven the original experimental results accurate, and I argue that Schrödinger may have perceived even the reformulated wave-mechanical approach as too tenuous in light of Bohr's critique. (shrink)
This paper presents a general formal semantic scheme for the interpretation of quantum mechanics, in terms of which van Fraassen's Copenhagen and anti-Copenhagen variants of the modal interpretation are examined. The general character of the modal interpretation is motivated in a discussion of classical statistical mechanics, the distinction being made between statistical states and micro-states. The notion of a quasi-classical (micro) state is introduced in a discussion of the theorem of Gleason and Kochen and Specker. (...) It is shown that, according to the anti-Copenhagen variant, the class of micro-states coincides with a special class of quasi-classical states. The paper concludes with two general criticisms of the anti-Copenhagen variant. (shrink)
A recent article (Leeds and Healey 1996) argues that the modal interpretation (Copenhagen variant) of quantum mechanics does not do justice to immediately repeated non-disturbing measurements. This objection has been raised before, but the article presents it in a new, detailed, precise form. I show that the objection is mistaken.
Freud's account of dreams can be understood via interpretive patterns that span language and action, enabling an extension of common sense psychology that is potentially cogent, cumulative, and radical.
Now in a new edition, this volume updates Davidson's exceptional Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation (1984), which set out his enormously influential philosophy of language. The original volume remains a central point of reference, and a focus of controversy, with its impact extending into linguistic theory, philosophy of mind, and epistemology. Addressing a central question--what it is for words to mean what they do--and featuring a previously uncollected, additional essay, this work will appeal to a wide audience of philosophers, (...) linguists, and psychologists. (shrink)
I want to explore four different exercises of interpretation: (1) the interpretation of texts (or hermeneutics), (2) the interpretation of people (otherwise known as "attribution" psychology, or cognitive or intentional psychology), (3) the interpretation of other artifacts (which I shall call artifact hermeneutics), (4) the interpretation of organism design in evolutionary biology--the controversial interpretive activity known as adaptationism.
Argues that choice, as a form of interpretation, is completely intertwined with the development of both sexual orientation and sexual identity. Sexual orientation is not simply a given, or determined aspect of personality.
Jerry Fodor and Ernest Lepore have recently criticized Davidson's methodology of radical interpretation because of its apparent failure to reflect how actual interpretation is achieved. Responding to such complaints, Davidson claims that he is not interested in the empirical issues surrounding actual interpretation but instead focuses on the question of what conditions make interpretation possible. It is argued that this exchange between Fodor and Lepore on one side, and Davidson on the other, cannot be viewed simply (...) as a naturalist reaction to non-naturalist philosophical inquiry. Through a careful excavation of the hidden assumptions and commitments underlying this debate, we recognize a more serious disagreement over the intellectual obligations of naturalism; a position with a firm hold on current philosophical imaginations. In the process, we gain a new appreciation for how such commitments shape these naturalist positions, and recognize that any resolution to this specific debate will require careful attention to the divergent commitments that are its real source. (shrink)
McCarthy develops a theory of radical interpretation--the project of characterizing from scratch the language and attitudes of an agent or population--and applies it to the problems of indeterminacy of interpretation first described by Quine. The major theme in McCarthy's study is that a relatively modest set of interpretive principles, properly applied, can serve to resolve the major indeterminacies of interpretation.
Can there be a theory of law? -- Two views of the nature of the theory of law : a partial comparison -- On the nature of law -- The problem of authority : revisiting the service conception -- About morality and the nature of law -- Incorporation by law -- Reasoning with rules -- Why interpret? -- Interpretation without retrieval -- Intention in interpretation -- Interpretation : pluralism and innovation -- On the authority and interpretation (...) of constitutions : some preliminaries -- Postema on law's autonomy and public practical reasons : a critical comment. (shrink)
Interpreting the everyday -- Art interpretation : the central issues -- A theory of art interpretation : substantive claims -- A theory of art interpretation : conceptual and ontological claims -- Radical constructivism -- Moderate and historical constructivism -- Interpretation and construction in the law -- Relativism versus pluralism.
Davidson has claimed that to conclude that reference is inscrutable, one must assume that "If some theory of truth... is satisfactory in the light of all relevant evidence... then any theory that is generated from the first theory by a permutation will also be satisfactory in the light of all relevant evidence." However, given that theories of truth are not directly read off the world, but rather serve as parts of larger theories of behavior, this assumption is far from self-evident. (...) A proper understanding of the role truth theories play in theories of interpretation makes the inscrutability of reference much less wide-spread than Davidson suggests, and, as a result, the radical interpretation methodology is much less likely to saddle its defenders with counterintuitive cases of indeterminacy than is commonly supposed. (shrink)
I argue that the extant theories of self-deception face a counterexample which shows the essential role of instability in the face of attentive consciousness in characterising self-deception. I argue further that this poses a challenge to the interpretist approach to the mental. I consider two revisions of the interpretist approach which might be thought to deal with this challenge and outline why they are unsuccessful. The discussion reveals a more general difficulty for Interpretism. Principles of reasoning—in particular, the requirement of (...) total evidence—are given a weight in attentive consciousness which does not correspond to our reflective judgement of their weight. Successful interpretation does not involve ascribing beliefs and desires by reference to what a subject ought to believe and desire, contrary to what Interpretists suggest. (shrink)
Abstract -/- Inclusive nonindexical context-dependence occurs when the preferred interpretation of an utterance implies its lexically-derived meaning. It is argued that the corresponding processes of free or lexically mandated enrichment can be modeled as abductive inference. A form of abduction is implemented in Simple Type Theory on the basis of a notion of plausibility, which is in turn regarded a preference relation over possible worlds. Since a preordering of doxastic alternatives taken for itself only amounts to a relatively vacuous (...) ad hoc model, it needs to be combined with a rational way of learning from new evidence. Lexicographic upgrade is implemented as an example of how an agent might revise his plausibility ordering in light of new evidence. Various examples are given how this apparatus may be used to model the contextual resolution of context-dependent or semantically incomplete utterances. The described form of abduction is limited and merely serves as a proof of concept, but the idea in general has good potential as one among many ways to build a bridge between semantics and pragmatics since inclusive context-dependence is ubiquitous. (shrink)
This paper argues that ontic structural realism (OSR) faces a dilemma: either it remains on the general level of realism with respect to the structure of a given theory, but then it is, like epistemic structural realism, only a partial realism; or it is a complete realism, but then it has to answer the question how the structure of a given theory is implemented, instantiated or realized and thus has to argue for a particular interpretation of the theory in (...) question. This claim is illustrated by examining how OSR fares with respect to the three main candidates for an ontology of quantum mechanics, namely many worlds-type interpretations, collapse-type interpretations and hidden variable-type interpretations. The result is that OSR as such is not sufficient to answer the question of what the world is like if quantum mechanics is correct. (shrink)
This paper proposes a critical analysis of that interpretation of the Nāgārjunian doctrine of the two truths as summarized—by both Mark Siderits and Jay L. Garfield—in the formula: “the ultimate truth is that there is no ultimate truth”. This ‘semantic reading’ of Nāgārjuna’s theory, despite its importance as a criticism of the ‘metaphysical interpretations’, would in itself be defective and improbable. Indeed, firstly, semantic interpretation presents a formal defect: it fails to clearly and explicitly express that which it (...) contains logically; the previously mentioned formula must necessarily be completed by: “the conventional truth is that nothing is conventional truth”. Secondly, after having recognized what Siderits’ and Garfield’s analyses contain implicitly, other logical and philological defects in their position emerge: the existence of the ‘conventional’ would appear—despite the efforts of semantic interpreters to demonstrate quite the contrary—definitively inconceivable without the presupposition of something ‘real’; moreover, the number of verses in Nāgārjuna that are in opposition to the semantic interpretation (even if we grant semantic interpreters that these verses do not justify a metaphysical reconstruction of Nagarjuna’s doctrine) would seem too great and significant to be ignored. (shrink)
Partant de l'idée énoncée par le philosophe Charles Taylor, selon laquelle les êtres humains sont « des animaux capables d'auto-interprétation », cet article vise à comprendre le rôle constitutif de l'auto-interprétation dans la connaissance de soi. Une conception satisfaisante de l'auto-interprétation devrait à la fois rendre compte de l'autorité de la connaissance de soi en première personne et satisfaire les exigences du réalisme ordinaire. Si la version constitutiviste de l'auto-interprétation semble incompatible avec de telles exigences, c'est parce qu'elle considère ce (...) pouvoir constituant comme le privilège du sujet de modeler ses états mentaux au gré de sa volonté. Pour autant, il est possible de conserver un rôle constitutif à l'auto-interprétation en évitant toute implication volontariste et en maintenant une certaine indépendance des contenus mentaux du sujet envers lui-même. C'est ce que proposent les philosophes américains Richard Moran et David Finkelstein, le premier, en redéfinissant l'activité d'auto-interprétation en termes de croyance impliquant l'adhésion du sujet à ses attitudes mentales. Considérant le sujet en tant qu'agent responsable de ses attitudes, Moran défend une conception cognitive et engagée de l'interprétation, un point de vue pratique du sujet sur lui-même. La délibération fournit ainsi les raisons d'adopter une croyance, un désir, une émotion,... raisons qui justifient en même temps l'auto-interprétation. Moins attaché à la valeur cognitive de l'auto-interprétation, Finkelstein développe également une conception pratique de la connaissance de soi, fondée sur la fonction expressive des auto-attributions et où l'auto-interprétation a valeur de contexte de cela même qu'elle interprète. (shrink)
In this comment I consider Jack Balkin’s general argument for his method of constitutional interpretation – the question of why interpret (the United States Constitution) in this way (as presented in his book Living Originalism). I contrast this question with the way in which the conclusion of this argument should be implemented with regard to specific clauses – the question of how to interpret (the United States Constitution). While the former question is concerned with the general form of the (...) argument, the latter is concerned with a substantiation of one premise in the argument. (shrink)
This book is the companion to Difference and Disavowal: The Trauma of Eros (Stanford University Press, 2000), which dealt with the psychoanalytic clinical problem of resistance to interpretation. The key to this resistance is the unconscious registration and repudiation (disavowal) of the reality of difference. The surprising generality of this resistance intersects with Nietzsche's, Heidegger's, and Derrida's understanding of how and why difference is in general the “unthought of metaphysics.” All three see metaphysics engaged with a “registration and repudiation (...) of difference,” and all three rethink interpretation in relation to this question. The synthesis of these theories of interpretation and difference provides the philosophical foundations for a new thinking of how interpretation functions, and is a critical intersection of deconstruction and psychoanalysis. (shrink)
L’auteure présente ici un exemple des liens associant l’interprétation et la traduction, celui de la comédie ancienne d’Aristophane. Dans une première partie, elle expose les problèmes généraux de la traduction, quelques-unes de ses théories et certains des obstacles qu’elle rencontre de manière permanente, avant de se concentrer progressivement sur les problèmes théoriques et pratiques particuliers que l’on rencontre en traduisant une comédie grecque ancienne, et la difficulté à proposer une méthode permanente. Dans une seconde partie, l’auteure expose des cas concrets (...) de ces problèmes, en abordant la question de la traduction des noms propres « parlants » : elle présente plusieurs exemples de solutions proposées pour traduire ces noms, avec leurs intérêts et leurs limites dans chaque cas, et avec leurs présupposés théoriques. L’auteure conclut sur la nécessité de traduire ces noms de comédie au cas par cas, en se fondant sur la priorité donnée par M. de Launay à la traduction des « articulations de sens ». (shrink)
Introduction: dimensions of inquiry -- Speaker intent and convention; linguistic meaning and pragmatics; Vagueness and indeterminacy: three topics in the philosophy of language -- Literary interpretation, performance art, and related subjects -- Religious interpretation -- General theories of interpretation -- Starting from the bottom: informal instructions -- The law of agency -- Wills -- Contracts -- Judicial alterations of textual provisions: Cy Pres and relatives -- Conclusion and a comparison.
The main objective of the paper is to propose a frequentist interpretation of probability in the context of model-based induction, anchored on the Strong Law of Large Numbers (SLLN) and justifiable on empirical grounds. It is argued that the prevailing views in philosophy of science concerning induction and the frequentist interpretation of probability are unduly influenced by enumerative induction, and the von Mises rendering, both of which are at odds with frequentist model-based induction that dominates current practice. The (...) differences between the two perspectives are brought out with a view to defend the model-based frequentist interpretation of probability against certain well-known charges, including [i] the circularity of its definition, [ii] its inability to assign ‘single event’ probabilities, and [iii] its reliance on ‘random samples’. It is argued that charges [i]–[ii] stem from misidentifying the frequentist ‘long-run’ with the von Mises collective. In contrast, the defining characteristic of the long-run metaphor associated with model-based induction is neither its temporal nor its physical dimension, but its repeatability (in principle); an attribute that renders it operational in practice. It is also argued that the notion of a statistical model can easily accommodate non-IID samples, rendering charge [iii] simply misinformed. (shrink)
The transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics, following the time-symmetric formulation of electrodynamics, uses retarded and advanced solutions of the Schrödinger equation and its complex conjugate to understand quantum phenomena by means of transactions. A transaction occurs between an emitter and a specific absorber when the emitter has received advanced waves from all possible absorbers. Advanced causation always raises the specter of paradoxes, and it must be addressed carefully. In particular, different devices involving contingent absorbers or various types of interaction-free (...) measurements have been proposed as threatening the original version of the transactional interpretation. These proposals will be analyzed by examining in each case the configuration of absorbers and, in the special case of the so-called quantum liar experiment, by carefully following the development of retarded and advanced waves through the Mach-Zehnder interferometer. We will show that there is no need to resort to the hierarchy of transactions that some have proposed, and will argue that the transactional interpretation is consistent with the block-universe picture of time. (shrink)
Introduction: dimensions of inquiry -- Speaker intent and convention; linguistic meaning and pragmatics; Vagueness and indeterminacy: three topics in the philosophy of language -- Literary interpretation, performance art, and related subjects -- Religious interpretation -- General theories of interpretation -- Starting from the bottom: informal instructions -- The law of agency -- Wills -- Contracts -- Judicial alterations of textual provisions: Cy Pres and relatives -- Conclusion and a comparison.
Interest in interpretation has emerged in recent years as one of the main intellectual paradigms of legal scholarship. This collection of new essays in law and interpretation provides the reader with an overview of this important topic, written by some of the most distinguished scholars in the field. The book begins with interpretation as a general method of legal theorizing, and thus provides critical assessment of the recent "interpretative turn" in jurisprudence. Further chapters include essays on the (...) nature of interpretation, its objectivity, the possible determinacy of legal standards, and their nature. Concluding with a series of articles on the role of legislative intent in the interpretation of statutes, this work offers new and refreshing insights into this old controversy. (shrink)
It is argued that the so-called minimal statistical interpretation of quantum mechanics does not completely resolve the measurement problem in that this view is unable to show that quantjum mechanics can dispense with classical physics when it comes to a treatment of the measuring interaction. It is suggested that the view that quantum mechanics applies to individual systems should not be too hastily abandoned, in that this view gives perhaps the best hope of leading to a version of quantum (...) mechanics which does provide a complete solution to the measurement problem. (shrink)
http://dx.doi.org/10.5007/1808-1711.2008v12n2p155 Bas van Fraassen advocates a “Copenhagen variant” of the modal interpretation of quantum mechanics. However, he believes that the Copenhagen approach to measurement is not fully satisfactory, since it seems to rule out the possibility of providing a physical account of the observation process. This was also what John Wheeler had in mind when, in the mid-1950’s, he sponsored the “relative state” formulation proposed by his student Hugh Everett. Wheeler, who considered himself an orthodox Bohrian, tried (...) to convince Bohr to accept the improvement of the Copenhagen approach represented in his eyes by Everett’s proposal. This attempt gave rise to a lively debate, which has been only recently documented, and which provides an interesting framework for the appraisal of van Fraassen’s own programme. (shrink)
Donald Davidson argues that his interpretivist approach to meaning shows that accounting for the intentionality and objectivity of thought does not require an appeal, as John McDowell has urged it does, to a specifically rational relation between mind and world. Moreover, Davidson claims that the idea of such a relation is unintelligible. This paper takes issue with these claims. It shows, first, that interpretivism, contra Davidson's express view, does not depend essentially upon an appeal to a causal relation between events (...) in the world and speakers' beliefs. Second, it shows that interpretivism essentially, if implicitly, depends upon interpreters' appealing to facts taken in in perception, and that such facts are suited to provide a rational connection between mind and world. The paper then argues that none of Davidson's legitimate epistemological arguments tell against the idea that experience, in the form of the propositional contents of perception, can play a role in doxastic economy. Finally, it argues that granting experience such a role is consistent with Davidson's coherentist slogan that nothing can count as a reason for holding a belief except another belief. (shrink)
'Interpretational' accounts of meaning are frequently treated as incompatible with accounts stressing language's 'social' character. However, this paper argues that one can reconcile interpretational and social accounts by distinguishing "methodological" from "ascriptional" individualism. While methodological individualism requires only that the meaning of one's terms ultimately be grounded in facts about oneself, ascriptional individualism requires that the meaning of one's terms be independent of how others use theirs. Interpretational accounts are committed only to methodological individualism, while arguments for languages social character (...) are best understood as attacks on ascriptional individualism. As a result, one can recognize language's social character and still be an interpretationalist. (shrink)
A Philosopher Looks at Quantum Mechanics’ (Putnam ) explained why the interpretation of quantum mechanics is a philosophical problem in detail, but with only the necessary minimum of technicalities, in the hope of making the difficulties intelligible to as wide an audience as possible. When I wrote it, I had not seen Bell (), nor (of course) had I seen Ghirardi et al. (). And I did not discuss the ‘Many Worlds’ interpretation. For all these reasons, I have (...) decided to make a similar attempt forty years later, taking account of additional interpretations and of our knowledge concerning non-locality. (The Quantum Logical interpretation proposed in Putnam  is not considered in the present paper, however, because Putnam [1994b] concluded that it was unworkable.) Rather than advocate a particular interpretation, this paper classifies the possible kinds of interpretation, subject only to the constraints of a very broadly construed scientific realism. Section 7 does, however, argue that two sorts of interpretation—ones according to which a ‘collapse’ is brought about by the measurement (e.g. the traditional ‘Copenhagen’ interpretation), and the Many Worlds interpretation or interpretations—should be ruled out. The concluding section suggests some possible morals of a cosmological character. Background Scientific realism is the premise of my discussion What ‘quantum mechanics’ says—and some problems Other interpretations of quantum mechanics The problem of Einstein's bed Classification of the possible kinds of interpretation Which interpretations I think we can rule out The ‘moral’ of this discussion. (shrink)
It is shown that the superposed wave function of a measuring device, in each branch of which there is a definite measurement result, does not correspond to many mutually unobservable but equally real worlds, as the superposed wave function can be observed in our world by protective measurement.
In this paper my purpose is to examine whether the case of inconsistent believers can offer a reason to object to theories of belief ascription that rely on a rationality constraint. I shall first illustrate how the possibility of inconsistent believers might be a challenge for the rationality constraint and then assess Davidson's influential reply to that challenge.
Probabilities may be subjective or objective; we are concerned with both kinds of probability, and the relationship between them. The fundamental theory of objective probability is quantum mechanics: it is argued that neither Bohr's Copenhageninterpretation, nor the pilot-wave theory, nor stochastic state-reduction theories, give a satisfactory answer to the question of what objective probabilities are in quantum mechanics, or why they should satisfy the Born rule; nor do they give any reason why subjective probabilities should track objective (...) ones. But it is shown that if probability only arises with decoherence, then they must be given by the Born rule. That further, on the Everett interpretation, we have a clear statement of what probabilities are, in terms of purely categorical physical properties; and finally, along lines laid out by Deutsch and Wallace, that there is a clear basis in the axioms of decision theory as to why subjective probabilities should track these objective ones. These results hinge critically on the absence of hidden-variables or any other mechanism (such as state-reduction) from the physical interpretation of the theory. The account of probability has traditionally been considered the principal weakness of the Everett interpretation; on the contrary it emerges as one of its principal strengths. (shrink)
In this essay I examine various aspects of the nearcentury-long debate concerning the conceptualfoundations of quantum mechanics and the problems ithas posed for physicists and philosophers fromEinstein to the present. Most crucial here is theissue of realism and the question whether quantumtheory is compatible with any kind of realist orcausal-explanatory account which goes beyond theempirical-predictive data. This was Einstein's chiefconcern in the famous series of exchanges with NielsBohr when he refused to accept the truth orcompleteness of a doctrine (orthodox QM) (...) which ruledsuch questions to be strictly inadmissible. I discussthe later history of quantum-theoretical debate withparticular reference to the issue of nonlocality,i.e., the phenomenon of superluminal(faster-than-light) interaction betweenwidely-separated particles. Then I show how thestandard `Copenhagen' interpretation of QM hasinfluenced current anti-realist orontological-relativist approaches to philosophy ofscience. Indeed, there are clear signs that somephilosophers have retreated from a realist positionvery largely in response to just these problems. So itis important to ask exactly why – on what scientificor philosophical grounds – any preferred alternative(causal-realist) construal should have been ruled outas a matter of orthodox QM wisdom. Moreconstructively, my paper presents various arguments infavour of one such alternative, the `hidden-variables'theory developed since the early 1950s by David Bohmand consistently marginalised by proponents of theCopenhagen doctrine. (shrink)
Orthodox Copenhagen quantum theory renounces the quest to understand the reality in which we are imbedded, and settles for practical rules that describe connections between our observations. Many physicist have believed that this renunciation of the attempt describe nature herself was premature, and John von Neumann, in a major work, reformulated quantum theory as a theory of the evolving objective universe. In the course of his work he converted to a benefit what had appeared to be a severe deficiency (...) of the Copenhageninterpretation, namely its introduction into physical theory of the human observers. He used this subjective element of quantum theory to achieve a significant advance on the main problem in philosophy, which is to understand the relationship between mind and matter. That problem had been tied closely to physical theory by the works of Newton and Descartes. The present work examines the major problems that have appeared to block the development of von Neumann’s theory into a fully satisfactory theory of Nature, and proposes solutions to these problems. (shrink)
Discussions of the interpretation of quantum theory are at present obstructed by (1) the increasing axiomania in physics and philosophy which replaces fundamental problems by problems of formulation within a certain preconceived calculus, and (2) the decreasing (since 1927) philosophical interest and sophistication both of professional physicists and of professional philosophers which results in the replacement of subtle positions by crude ones and of dialectical arguments by dogmatic ones. More especially, such discussions are obstructed by the ignorance of both (...) opponents, and also defenders of the Copenhagen point of view, as regards the arguments which once were used in its defence. The publication of Bunge's Quantum Theory and Reality and especially of Popper's contribution to it are taken as an occasion for the restatement of Bohr's position and for the refutation of some quite popular, but surprisingly naive and uninformed objections against it. Bohr's position is distinguished both from the position of Heisenberg and from the vulgarized versions which have become part of the so-called "CopenhagenInterpretation" and whose inarticulateness has been a boon for all those critics who prefer easy victories to a rational debate. Einstein's main counterargument is discussed, and Bohr's refutation restated. The philosophical background and earlier forms of Bohr's views are stated also. Considering that these views are more detailed, better adapted to the facts of the microdomain than any existing alternative it follows that fundamental discussion must first return to them. Their uniqueness is not asserted, however. Here the author still maintains that a hundred shabby flowers are preferable to a single blossom, however exquisite. But a hundred shabby flowers plus an exquisite blossom are more desirable still. (shrink)
In this essay, I offer a critical evaluation of Hilary Putnam's writings on epistemology and philosophy of science, in particular his engagement with interpretative problems in quantum mechanics. I trace the development of his thinking from the late 1960s when he adopted a strong causal-realist position on issues of meaning, reference, and truth, via the "internal realist" approach of his middle-period writings, to the various forms of pragmatist, naturalized, or "commonsense" epistemology proposed in his latest books. My contention is that (...) Putnam's retreat from a full-fledged realist outlook has been prompted in large part by his belief that it cannot possibly be reconciled with the implications of quantum mechanics for our understanding of processes and events in the subatomic domain. However, I suggest, this response should be seen as premature given the range of as-yet unresolved problems with quantum mechanics on the orthodox (Copenhagen) interpretation and also the existence of an alternative account - David Bohm's hidden-variables theory - which perfectly matches the established predictive-observational results while providing a credible realist ontology. I also examine Putnam's case for adopting a nonstandard (three-valued) "quantum logic" in relation to the thinking of other philosophers - Michael Dummett among them - who have espoused a more global or doctrinaire version of anti-realism. I conclude that Putnam's early (causal-realist) position is by no means untenable in light of the various arguments that he now takes as counting decisively against it. (shrink)
Friedman and Putnam have argued (Friedman and Putnam 1978) that the quantum logical interpretation of quantum mechanics gives us an explanation of interference that the Copenhageninterpretation cannot supply without invoking an additional ad hoc principle, the projection postulate. I show that it is possible to define a notion of equivalence of experimental arrangements relative to a pure state φ , or (correspondingly) equivalence of Boolean subalgebras in the partial Boolean algebra of projection operators of a system, (...) which plays a role in the Copenhagen explanation of interference analogous to the role played by the material equivalence, given φ , of certain propositions in the Friedman-Putnam quantum logical analysis. I also show that the quantum logical interpretation and the Copenhageninterpretation are equally capable of avoiding the paradoxical conclusion of the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen argument (Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen 1935). Thus, neither interference phenomena nor the correlations between separated systems provide a test case for distinguishing between the relative acceptability of the Copenhageninterpretation and the quantum logical interpretation as explanations of quantum effects. (shrink)
The 2nd International Congress for the Unity of Science was held in Copenhagen from the 21st June to the 26th June 1936. Among the Danish participants was Jørgen Jørgensen, professor of philosophy at the University of Copenhagen and the leading figure of logical positivism in Denmark, and Niels Bohr, the famous physicist, the father of the atomic theory, and the originator of the CopenhagenInterpretation of quantum mechanics. In fact, the event took place in Bohr’s honorary (...) mansion at Carlsberg. Jørgensen was the main organizer of the event in close collaboration with Otto Neurath. The latter had already been in Copenhagen twice, and the second time he had had a chance to meet and discuss with Bohr on epistemological issues. Again in 1936 he and Jørgensen had discussions with Bohr at a time which presented a very important period in Bohr’s thinking because the year before he had been confronted with the EPR-paradox. This final confrontation with Einstein gave Bohr a reason to change parts of his arguments. During this period of time Jørgensen seems to have supported Bohr’s CopenhagenInterpretation whole-heartedly. The purpose of the present talk is to present both Bohr’s and Jørgensen’s philosophy in an attempt of showing to what extent Bohr’s view, as it sometimes has been claimed, is an example of positivistic philosophy within physics. (shrink)
Based on some of Kent Bach's work and Mount (2008), I point out certain shortcomings of parameter-based semantic two-dimensionalism for the modeling of indexicals and suggest to model context dependence on the basis of the assumptions of indidivual speakers, their rich background knowledge, and defeasible reasoning in a broadly-conceived Stalnakerian framework.
The interpretation of quantum mechanics has always been a pain in the backside of scientific realism. Throughout its history, various anti-realist doctrines have dominated, associated with such luminaries as Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, and referred to collectively as ‘the Copenhageninterpretation’. The voice of realist dissent was thus marginalized, but never silenced. In recent years, renewed interest has attached to the possibility of a realist interpretation of quantum theory. Christopher Norris’ book is an effort in (...) this tradition. (shrink)
Philosophers of mind have long been interested in the relation between two ideas: that causality plays an essential role in our understanding of the mental; and that we can gain an understanding of belief and desire by considering the ascription of attitudes to people on the basis of what they say and do. Many have thought that those ideas are incompatible. William Child argues that there is in fact no tension between them, and that we should accept both. He shows (...) how we can have a causal understanding of the mental without having to see attitudes and experiences as internal, causally interacting entities and he defends this view against influential objections. The book offers detailed discussions of many of Donald Davidson's contributions to the philosophy of mind, and also considers the work of Dennett, Anscombe, McDowell, and Rorty, among others. Issues discussed include: the nature of intentional phenomena; causal explanation; the character of visual experience; psychological explanation; and the causal relevance of mental properties. (shrink)
The central problem in the interpretation of the quantum theory is how to understand the superposition of the eigenstates of an observable. To a considerable extent scientific practice here, especially as codified in versions of Bohr's Copenhageninterpretation, follows an interpretive principle that I have elsewhere called the Rule of Silence (Ref.1). That rule admonishes us not to talk about the values of an observable unless the state of the system is an eigenstate, or a mixture of (...) eigenstates, of the observable in question. With regard to the rule of silence, as in other matters bearing on the interpretation of the quantum theory, Einstein was one of the first to realize that there can be difficulties. They appear as soon as we look at something like an explosion; i.e., the interaction between a micro and a macrosystem that involves the amplification of a microphenomenon to macroscopic scale (Ref.2). John Bell describes the difficulty over the rule of silence this way. (shrink)
Q0 Why this FAQ? Q1 Who believes in many-worlds? Q2 What is many-worlds? Q3 What are the alternatives to many-worlds? Q4 What is a "world"? Q5 What is a measurement? Q6 Why do worlds split? What is decoherence? Q7 When do worlds split? Q8 When does Schrodinger's cat split? Q9 What is sum-over-histories? Q10 What is many-histories? What is the environment basis? Q11 How many worlds are there? Q12 Is many-worlds a local theory? Q13 Is many-worlds a deterministic theory? Q14 (...) Is many-worlds a relativistic theory? What about quantum field theory? What about quantum gravity? Q15 Where are the other worlds? Q16 Is many-worlds (just) an interpretation? Q17 Why don't worlds fuse, as well as split? Do splitting worlds imply irreversible physics? Q18 What retrodictions does many-worlds make? Q19 Do worlds differentiate or split? Q20 What is many-minds? Q21 Does many-worlds violate Ockham's Razor? Q22 Does many-worlds violate conservation of energy? Q23 How do probabilities emerge within many-worlds? Q24 Does many-worlds allow free-will? Q25 Why am I in this world and not another? Why does the universe appear random? Q26 Can wavefunctions collapse? Q27 Is physics linear? Could we ever communicate with the other worlds? Why do I only ever experience one world? Why am I not aware of the world (and myself) splitting? Q28 Can we determine what other worlds there are? Is the form of the Universal Wavefunction knowable? Q29 Who was Everett? Q30 What are the problems with quantum theory? Q31 What is the Copenhageninterpretation? Q32 Does the EPR experiment prohibit locality? What about Bell's Inequality? Q33 Is Everett's relative state formulation the same as many-worlds? Q34 What is a relative state? Q35 Was Everett a "splitter"? Q36 What unique predictions does many-worlds make? Q37 Could we detect other Everett-worlds? Q38 Why quantum gravity? Q39 Is linearity exact? (shrink)
A recent rethinking of the early history of Quantum Mechanics deemed the late 1920s agreement on the equivalence of Matrix Mechanics and Wave Mechanics, prompted by Schrödinger's 1926 proof, a myth. Schrödinger supposedly failed to prove isomorphism, or even a weaker equivalence (“Schrödinger-equivalence”) of the mathematical structures of the two theories; developments in the early 1930s, especially the work of mathematician von Neumann provided sound proof of mathematical equivalence. The alleged agreement about the CopenhagenInterpretation, predicated to a (...) large extent on this equivalence, was deemed a myth as well. In response, I argue that Schrödinger's proof concerned primarily a domain-specific ontological equivalence, rather than the isomorphism or a weaker mathematical equivalence. It stemmed initially from the agreement of the eigenvalues of Wave Mechanics and energy-states of Bohr's Model that was discovered and published by Schrödinger in his first and second communications of 1926. Schrödinger demonstrated in this proof that the laws of motion arrived at by the method of Matrix Mechanics are satisfied by assigning the auxiliary role to eigenfunctions in the derivation of matrices (while he only outlined the reversed derivation of eigenfunctions from Matrix Mechanics, which was necessary for the proof of both isomorphism and Schrödinger-equivalence of the two theories). This result was intended to demonstrate the domain-specific ontological equivalence of Matrix Mechanics and Wave Mechanics, with respect to the domain of Bohr's atom. And although the mathematical equivalence of the theories did not seem out of the reach of existing theories and methods, Schrödinger never intended to fully explore such a possibility in his proof paper. In a further development of Quantum Mechanics, Bohr's complementarity and CopenhagenInterpretation captured a more substantial convergence of the subsequently revised (in light of the experimental results) Wave and Matrix Mechanics. I argue that both the equivalence and CopenhagenInterpretation can be deemed myths if one predicates the philosophical and historical analysis on a narrow model of physical theory which disregards its historical context, and focuses exclusively on its formal aspects and the exploration of the logical models supposedly implicit in it. (shrink)
The central and most recalcitrant problem for environmental ethics is the problem of constructing an adequate theory of intrinsic value for nonhuman natural entities and for nature as a whole. In part one, I retrospectively survey the problem, review certain classical approaches to it, and recommend one as an adequate, albeit only partial, solution. In part two, I show that the classical theory of inherent value for nonhuman entities and nature as a whole outlined in part one is inconsistent with (...) a contemporary scientific world view because it assumes the validity of the classical Cartesian partition between subject and object which has been overturned by quantum theory. Based upon the minimalistic CopenhagenInterpretation of quantum theory, I then develop a theory of inherent value which does not repose upon the obsolete subject/object and ancillary fact/value dichotomies. In part three, I suggest that a more speculative metaphysical interpretation of quantum theory--one involving the notion ofreal internal relations anda holistic picture of nature-permits a principle of “axiological complementary,” a theory of “intrinsic”-as opposed to “inherent”-value in nature as a simple extension of ego. (shrink)
Although there is a complete consensus among working physicists with respect to the practical and operational meanings of quantum states, and also a rather loosely formulated general philosophic view called the Copenhageninterpretation, a great deal of confusion and divergence of opinions exist as to the details of the measurement process and its effects upon quantum states. This paper reviews the current expositions of the measurement problem, limiting itself for lack of space primarily to the writings of physicists; (...) it calls attention to inconsistencies and proposes resolutions. Except for a summary of the properties of statistical matrices which are needed in Part II, the first part is non-mathematical and deals largely with two kinds of probability, reducible and irreducible probabilities, which need to be distinguished for a proper understanding of the measurement act. (shrink)
A recent rethinking of the early history of Quantum Mechanics deemed the late 1920s agreement on the equivalence of Matrix Mechanics and Wave Mechanics, prompted by Schrödinger’s 1926 proof, a myth. Schrödinger supposedly failed to achieve the goal of proving isomorphism of the mathematical structures of the two theories, while only later developments in the early 1930s, especially the work of mathematician John von Neumman (1932) provided sound proof of equivalence. The alleged agreement about the CopenhagenInterpretation, predicated (...) to a large extent on this equivalence, was deemed a myth as well. If such analysis is correct, it provides considerable evidence that, in its critical moments, the foundations of scientific practice might not live up to the minimal standards of rigor, as such standards are established in the practice of logic, mathematics, and mathematical physics, thereby prompting one to question the rationality of the practice of physics. In response, I argue that Schrödinger’s proof concerned primarily a domain-specific ontological equivalence, rather than the isomorphism. It stemmed initially from the agreement of the eigenvalues of Wave Mechanics and energy-states of Bohr’s Model that was discovered and published by Schrödinger in his First and Second Communications of 1926. Schrödinger demonstrated in this proof that the laws of motion arrived at by the method of Matrix Mechanics could be derived successfully from eigenfunctions as well (while he only outlined the reversed derivation of eigenfunctions from Matrix Mechanics, which was necessary for the proof of isomorphism of the two theories). This result was intended to demonstrate the domain-specific ontological equivalence of Matrix Mechanics and Wave Mechanics, with respect to the domain of Bohr’s atom. And although the full-fledged mathematico-logical equivalence of the theories did not seem out of the reach of existing theories and methods, Schrödinger never intended to fully explore such a possibility in his proof paper. In a further development of Quantum Mechanics, Bohr’s complementarity and CopenhagenInterpretation captured a more substantial convergence of the subsequently revised (in light of the experimental results) Wave and Matrix Mechanics. I argue that both the equivalence and CopenhagenInterpretation can be deemed myths if one predicates the philosophical and historical analysis on a narrow model of physical theory which disregards its historical context, and focuses exclusively on its formal aspects and the exploration of the logical models supposedly implicit in it. (shrink)
In this paper, I try to explain the philosophical problems that Niels Bohr felt had been exposed by the discovery of the "quantum of action," and by the emergence of the quantum theory that arose in large part as a result of his efforts. I won't have space to make the case adequately here, but my own view is that we have not yet fully digested the message brought to us by Bohr's "CopenhagenInterpretation" of Quantum Mechanics, and (...) I suspect that it will finally prove to be every bit as revolutionary as Bohr thought it was. (shrink)
Formulating my comments I have had difficulties of three kinds. First, I am not at all sure that I have understood Davidson correctly at every point. Secondly, not being aware of how far I may take for granted that Davidson and I share what may be called the same background ...
In a recent paper, Michael Friedman and Hilary Putnam argued that the Luders rule is ad hoc from the point of view of the Copenhageninterpretation but that it receives a natural explanation within realist quantum logic as a probability conditionalization rule. Geoffrey Hellman maintains that quantum logic cannot give a non-circular explanation of the rule, while Jeffrey Bub argues that the rule is not ad hoc within the Copenhageninterpretation. As I see it, all four (...) are wrong. Given that there is to be a projection postulate, there are at least two natural arguments which the Copenhagen advocate can offer on behalf of the Luders rule, contrary to Friedman and Putnam. However, the argument which Bub offers is not a good one. At the same time, contrary to Hellman, quantum logic really does provide an explanation of the Luders rule, and one which is superior to that of the Copenhagen account, since it provides an understanding of why there should be a projection postulate at all. (shrink)
The centerpiece of Jeffrey Bub's book Interpreting the Quantum World is a theorem (Bub and Clifton 1996) which correlates each member of a large class of no-collapse interpretations with some 'privileged observable'. In particular, the Bub-Clifton theorem determines the unique maximal sublattice L(R,e) of propositions such that (a) elements of L(R,e) can be simultaneously determinate in state e, (b) L(R,e) contains the spectral projections of the privileged observable R, and (c) L(R,e) is picked out by R and e alone. In (...) this paper, we explore the issue of maximal determinate sets of observables using the tools provided by the algebraic approach to quantum theory; and we call the resulting algebras of determinate observables, "maximal *beable* subalgebras". The capstone of our exploration is a generalized version of Bub and Clifton's theorem that applies to arbitrary (i.e., both mixed and pure) quantum states, to Hilbert spaces of arbitrary (i.e., both finite and infinite) dimension, and to arbitrary observables (including those with a continuous spectrum). Moreover, in the special case covered by the original Bub-Clifton theorem, our theorem reproduces their result under strictly weaker assumptions. This added level of generality permits us to treat several topics that were beyond the reach of the original Bub-Clifton result. In particular: (a) We show explicitly that a (non-dynamical) version of the Bohm theory can be obtained by granting privileged status to the position observable. (b) We show that Clifton's (1995) characterization of the Kochen-Dieks modal interpretation is a corollary of our theorem in the special case when the density operator is taken as the privileged observable. (c) We show that the 'uniqueness' demonstrated by Bub and Clifton is only guaranteed in certain special cases -- viz., when the quantum state is pure, or if the privileged observable is compatible with the density operator. We also use our results to articulate a solid mathematical foundation for certain tenets of the orthodox Copenhageninterpretation of quantum theory. For example, the uncertainty principle asserts that there are strict limits on the precision with which we can know, simultaneously, the position and momentum of a quantum-mechanical particle. However, the Copenhageninterpretation of this fact is not simply that a precision momentum measurement necessarily and uncontrollably disturbs the value of position, and vice-versa; but that position and momentum can never in reality be thought of as simultaneously determinate. We provide warrant for this stronger 'indeterminacy principle' by showing that there is no quantum state that assigns a sharp value to both position and momentum; and, a fortiori, that it is mathematically impossible to construct a beable algebra that contains both the position observable and the momentum observable. We also prove a generalized version of the Bub-Clifton theorem that applies to "singular" states (i.e., states that arise from non-countably-additive probability measures, such as Dirac delta functions). This result allows us to provide a mathematically rigorous reconstruction of Bohr's response to the original EPR argument -- which makes use of a singular state. In particular, we show that if the position of the first particle is privileged (e.g., as Bohr would do in a position measuring context), the position of the second particle acquires a definite value by virtue of lying in the corresponding maximal beable subalgebra. But then (by the indeterminacy principle) the momentum of the second particle is not a beable; and EPR's argument for the simultaneous reality of both position and momentum is undercut. (shrink)
This paper investigates the kind of empiricism combined with an operationalist perspective that, in the first decades of our Century, gave rise to a turning point in theoretical physics and in probability theory. While quantum mechanics was taking shape, the classical (Laplacian) interpretation of probability gave way to two divergent perspectives: frequentism and subjectivism. Frequentism gained wide acceptance among theoretical physicists. Subjectivism, on the other hand, was never held to be a serious candidate for application to physical theories, despite (...) the fact that its philosophical back-ground strongly resembles that underlying quantum mechanics, at least according to the Copenhageninterpretation. The reasons for this are explored. (shrink)
In this book, Mara Beller, a historian and philosopher of science, undertakes to examine why and how the elusive Copenhageninterpretation came to acquire the status it has. The book appears under the series ‘Science and Its Conceptual Foundations’. The first part traces in seven chapters the early major developmental phases of QT such as matrix theory, Born’s probabilistic interpretation, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and Bohr’s complementarity framework. Although the historical and scientific details are authentic, the author’s presentation (...) in this part is clearly motivated toward making the reader accept the premises that she intends to argue for in the second part over eight chapters. (shrink)
The relationship between classical and quantum theory is of central importance to the philosophy of physics, and any interpretation of quantum mechanics has to clarify it. Our discussion of this relationship is partly historical and conceptual, but mostly technical and mathematically rigorous, including over 500 references. For example, we sketch how certain intuitive ideas of the founders of quantum theory have fared in the light of current mathematical knowledge. One such idea that has certainly stood the test of time (...) is Heisenberg's `quantum-theoretical Umdeutung (reinterpretation) of classical observables', which lies at the basis of quantization theory. Similarly, Bohr's correspondence principle (in somewhat revised form) and Schroedinger's wave packets (or coherent states) continue to be of great importance in understanding classical behaviour from quantum mechanics. On the other hand, no consensus has been reached on the CopenhagenInterpretation, but in view of the parodies of it one typically finds in the literature we describe it in detail. On the assumption that quantum mechanics is universal and complete, we discuss three ways in which classical physics has so far been believed to emerge from quantum physics, namely in the limit h -> 0 of small Planck's constant (in a finite system), in the limit N goes to infinity of a large system with $N$ degrees of freedom (at fixed h), and through decoherence and consistent histories. The first limit is closely related to modern quantization theory and microlocal analysis, whereas the second involves methods of C*-algebras and the concepts of superselection sectors and macroscopic observables. In these limits, the classical world does not emerge as a sharply defined objective reality, but rather as an approximate appearance relative to certain ``classical" states and observables. Decoherence subsequently clarifies the role of such states, in that they are ``einselected", i.e. robust against coupling to the environment. Furthermore, the nature of classical observables is elucidated by the fact that they typically define (approximately) consistent sets of histories. This combination of ideas and techniques does not quite resolve the measurement problem, but it does make the point that classicality results from the elimination of certain states and observables from quantum theory. Thus the classical world is not created by observation (as Heisenberg once claimed), but rather by the lack of it. (shrink)
Quantum physics is believed to be the fundamental theory underlying our understanding of the physical universe. However, it is based on concepts and principles that have always been difficult to understand and controversial in their interpretation. This book aims to explain these issues using a minimum of technical language and mathematics. After a brief introduction to the ideas of quantum physics, the problems of interpretation are identified and explained. The rest of the book surveys, describes and criticises a (...) range of suggestions that have been made with the aim of resolving these problems; these include the traditional, or 'Copenhagen' interpretation, the possible role of the conscious mind in measurement, and the postulate of parallel universes. This new edition has been revised throughout to take into account developments in this field over the past fifteen years, including the idea of 'consistent histories' to which a completely new chapter is devoted. (shrink)
David Bohm, Emeritus Professor of Theoretical Physics at Birkbeck College of the University of London and Fellow of the Royal Society, died of a heart attack on October 29, 1992 at the age of 74. Professor Bohm had been one of the world’s leading authorities on quantum theory and its interpretation for more than four decades. His contributions have been critical to all aspects of the ﬁeld. He also made seminal contributions to plasma physics. His name appears prominently in (...) the modern physics literature, through the Aharonov- Bohm eﬀect , the Bohm-EPR experiment , the Bohm-Pines collective description of particle interactions (random phase approximation), Bohm diﬀusion and the Bohm causal interpretation of quantum mechanics, also sometimes called the de Broglie-Bohm pilot wave theory. David Bohm was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania on December 20, 1917. A student of J. Robert Oppenheimer, Bohm received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1943. In 1950 he completed the ﬁrst of his six books, Quantum Theory, which became the deﬁnitive exposition of the orthodox (Copenhagen) interpretation of quantum mechanics. Here Bohm presented his reformulation of the paradox of Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen. It is this Bohm version of EPR which has provided the basis for the enormous expansion of research on the foundations of quantum theory, focusing on nonlocality and the possible incompleteness of the quantum description (the question of “hidden variables”), which has occurred during the past several decades. (shrink)