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Summary Bohmian mechanics is an alternative to quantum mechanics that is popular amongst philosophers of physics. In the non-relativistic n-particle domain, it is empirically equivalent to quantum mechanics despite being fully deterministic. The ontology of the theory includes a specification of 'local beables' - for example, corpuscles with precise positions - along with a guidance equation, with the structure of the quantum state, which determines the evolution of the beables. Recent work has extended the Bohmian treatment to quantum field theories.
Key works The approach is often called 'de Broglie-Bohm theory' after the early contribution of Louis deBroglie to the 1927 Solvay conference. It was rediscovered and set out in detail by David Bohm (Bohm 1952). It was again rediscovered, and ably championed within the foundations of physics community, by Bell 2004
Introductions Tumulka et al 2009
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  1. The Issue of Retrodiction in Bohm's Theory.Y. Aharonov & D. Albert - 1987 - In Basil J. Hiley & D. Peat (eds.), Quantum Implications: Essays in Honour of David Bohm. Methuen. pp. 223.
  2. Elementary Quantum Metaphysics.David Albert - 1996 - In J. T. Cushing, Arthur Fine & Sheldon Goldstein (eds.), Bohmian Mechanics and Quantum theory: An Appraisal. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 277-284.
    Once upon a time, the twentieth-century investigations of the behaviors of sub-atomic particles were thought to have established that there can be no such thing as an objective, observer-independent, scientifically realist, empirically adequate picture of the physical world.
  3. The Quantum Mechanics of Self–Measurement.David Z. Albert - 1990 - In W. Zurek (ed.), Complexity, Entropy, and the Physics of Information. Addison-Wesley. pp. 8--471.
  4. Symposiums Papers: Two No-Collapse Interpretations of Quantum Theory.David Albert & Barry Loewer - 1989 - Noûs 23 (2):169-186.
  5. On the Common Structure of Bohmian Mechanics and the Ghirardi–Rimini–Weber Theory: Dedicated to Giancarlo Ghirardi on the Occasion of His 70th Birthday.Valia Allori, Sheldon Goldstein, Roderich Tumulka & and Nino Zanghì - 2008 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (3):353-389.
    Bohmian mechanics and the Ghirardi–Rimini–Weber theory provide opposite resolutions of the quantum measurement problem: the former postulates additional variables (the particle positions) besides the wave function, whereas the latter implements spontaneous collapses of the wave function by a nonlinear and stochastic modification of Schrödinger's equation. Still, both theories, when understood appropriately, share the following structure: They are ultimately not about wave functions but about ‘matter’ moving in space, represented by either particle trajectories, fields on space-time, or a discrete set of (...)
  6. Scientific Realism and Primitive Ontology.Valia Allori - manuscript
    In this paper I wish to connect the recent debate in the philosophy of quantum mechanics concerning the nature of the wave-function to the historical debate in the philosophy of science regarding the tenability of scientific realism. Being realist about quantum mechanics is particularly challenging when focusing on the wave-function. According to the wave-function ontology approach, the wave-function is a concrete physical entity. In contrast, according to an alternative viewpoint, namely the primitive ontology approach, the wave-function does not represent physical (...)
  7. Primitive Ontology and the Classical World.Valia Allori - 2016 - In R. Kastner, J. Jeknic-Dugic & G. Jaroszkiewicz (eds.), Quantum Structural Studies: Classical Emergence from the Quantum Level. World Scientific. pp. 175-199.
    In this paper I present the common structure of quantum theories with a primitive ontology, and discuss in what sense the classical world emerges from quantum theories as understood in this framework. In addition, I argue that the primitive ontology approach is better at answering this question than the rival wave function ontology approach or any other approach in which the classical world is nonreductively ‘emergent:’ even if the classical limit within this framework needs to be fully developed, the difficulties (...)
  8. Primitive Ontology in a Nutshell.Valia Allori - 2015 - International Journal of Quantum Foundations 1 (2):107-122.
    The aim of this paper is to summarize a particular approach of doing metaphysics through physics - the primitive ontology approach. The idea is that any fundamental physical theory has a well-defined architecture, to the foundation of which there is the primitive ontology, which represents matter. According to the framework provided by this approach when applied to quantum mechanics, the wave function is not suitable to represent matter. Rather, the wave function has a nomological character, given that its role in (...)
  9. On the Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics.Valia Allori - 2013 - In Soazig Lebihan (ed.), Precis de la Philosophie de la Physique. Vuibert.
    What is quantum mechanics about? The most natural way to interpret quantum mechanics realistically as a theory about the world might seem to be what is called wave function ontology: the view according to which the wave function mathematically represents in a complete way fundamentally all there is in the world. Erwin Schroedinger was one of the first proponents of such a view, but he dismissed it after he realized it led to macroscopic superpositions (if the wave function evolves in (...)
  10. Primitive Ontology and the Structure of Fundamental Physical Theories.Valia Allori - 2013 - In Alyssa Ney & David Z. Albert (eds.), The Wave Function: Essays in the Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics. Oxford University Press.
    For a long time it was believed that it was impossible to be realist about quantum mechanics. It took quite a while for the researchers in the foundations of physics, beginning with John Stuart Bell [Bell 1987], to convince others that such an alleged impossibility had no foundation. Nowadays there are several quantum theories that can be interpreted realistically, among which Bohmian mechanics, the GRW theory, and the many-worlds theory. The debate, though, is far from being over: in what respect (...)
  11. La storia del gatto che era sia vivo che morto.Valia Allori - 2009 - In Enrico Giannetto (ed.), Da Archimede a Majorana: la fisica nel suo divenire. Guaraldi. pp. 273-283.
    Questa è la breve storia , forse un poco romanzata, del gatto che, se non forse il più citato, è di sicuro il più bistrattato della storia della fisica e della filosofia: il gatto di Schrödinger.
  12. Fundamental Physical Theories: Mathematical Structures Grounded on a Primitive Ontology.Valia Allori - 2007 - Dissertation, Rutgers
    In my dissertation I analyze the structure of fundamental physical theories. I start with an analysis of what an adequate primitive ontology is, discussing the measurement problem in quantum mechanics and theirs solutions. It is commonly said that these theories have little in common. I argue instead that the moral of the measurement problem is that the wave function cannot represent physical objects and a common structure between these solutions can be recognized: each of them is about a clear three-dimensional (...)
  13. Decoherence and the Classical Limit of Quantum Mechanics.Valia Allori - 2002 - Dissertation, University of Genova, Italy
    In my dissertation (Rutgers, 2007) I developed the proposal that one can establish that material quantum objects behave classically just in case there is a “local plane wave” regime, which naturally corresponds to the suppression of all quantum interference.
  14. Seven Steps Toward the Classical World.Valia Allori, Detlef Duerr, Nino Zanghi & Sheldon Goldstein - 2002 - Journal of Optics B 4:482–488.
    Classical physics is about real objects, like apples falling from trees, whose motion is governed by Newtonian laws. In standard quantum mechanics only the wave function or the results of measurements exist, and to answer the question of how the classical world can be part of the quantum world is a rather formidable task. However, this is not the case for Bohmian mechanics, which, like classical mechanics, is a theory about real objects. In Bohmian terms, the problem of the classical (...)
  15. On the Common Structure of Bohmian Mechanics and the Ghirardi-Rimini-Weber Theory.Valia Allori, Sheldon Goldstein, Roderich Tumulka & Nino Zanghi - 2008 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (3):353 - 389.
    Bohmian mechanics and the Ghirardi-Rimini-Weber theory provide opposite resolutions of the quantum measurement problem: the former postulates additional variables (the particle positions) besides the wave function, whereas the latter implements spontaneous collapses of the wave function by a nonlinear and stochastic modification of Schrödinger's equation. Still, both theories, when understood appropriately, share the following structure: They are ultimately not about wave functions but about 'matter' moving in space, represented by either particle trajectories, fields on space-time, or a discrete set of (...)
  16. On the Common Structure of Bohmian Mechanics and the Ghirardi–Rimini–Weber Theory Dedicated to GianCarlo Ghirardi on the Occasion of His 70th Birthday.Valia Allori, Sheldon Goldstein, Roderich Tumulka & Nino Zanghì - 2008 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (3):353-389.
    Bohmian mechanics and the Ghirardi–Rimini–Weber theory provide opposite resolutions of the quantum measurement problem: the former postulates additional variables besides the wave function, whereas the latter implements spontaneous collapses of the wave function by a nonlinear and stochastic modification of Schrödinger's equation. Still, both theories, when understood appropriately, share the following structure: They are ultimately not about wave functions but about ‘matter’ moving in space, represented by either particle trajectories, fields on space-time, or a discrete set of space-time points. The (...)
  17. On the Classical Limit of Quantum Mechanics.Valia Allori & Nino Zanghi - 2008 - Foundations of Physics 10.1007/S10701-008-9259-4 39 (1):20-32.
    Contrary to the widespread belief, the problem of the emergence of classical mechanics from quantum mechanics is still open. In spite of many results on the ¯h → 0 asymptotics, it is not yet clear how to explain within standard quantum mechanics the classical motion of macroscopic bodies. In this paper we shall analyze special cases of classical behavior in the framework of a precise formulation of quantum mechanics, Bohmian mechanics, which contains in its own structure the possibility of describing (...)
  18. What is Bohmian Mechanics.Valia Allori & Nino Zanghi - 2004 - International Journal of Theoretical Physics 43:1743-1755.
    Bohmian mechanics is a quantum theory with a clear ontology. To make clear what we mean by this, we shall proceed by recalling first what are the problems of quantum mechanics. We shall then briefly sketch the basics of Bohmian mechanics and indicate how Bohmian mechanics solves these problems and clarifies the status and the role of of the quantum formalism.
  19. Bohmian Trajectories Post-Decoherence.D. M. Appleby - 1999 - Foundations of Physics 29 (12):1885-1916.
    The role of the environment in producing the correct classical limit in the Bohm interpretation of quantum mechanics is investigated, in the context of a model of quantum Brownian motion. One of the effects of the interaction is to produce a rapid approximate diagonalisation of the reduced density matrix in the position representation. This effect is, by itself, insufficient to produce generically quasi-classical behaviour of the Bohmian trajectory. However, it is shown that, if the system particle is initially in an (...)
  20. Generic Bohmian Trajectories of an Isolated Particle.D. M. Appleby - 1999 - Foundations of Physics 29 (12):1863-1883.
    The generic Bohmian trajectories are calculated for an isolated particle in an approximate energy eigenstate, for an arbitrary one-dimensional potential well. It is shown that the necessary and sufficient condition for there to be a negligible probability of the trajectory deviating significantly from the classical trajectory at any stage in the motion is that the state be a narrowly localised wave packet. The properties of the Bohmian trajectories are compared with those in the interpretation recently proposed by García de Polavieja. (...)
  21. A New Way for the Extension of Quantum Theory: Non-Bohmian Quantum Potentials. [REVIEW]Mahdi Atiq, Mozafar Karamian & Mahdi Golshani - 2009 - Foundations of Physics 39 (1):33-44.
    Quantum Mechanics is a good example of a successful theory. Most of atomic phenomena are described well by quantum mechanics and cases such as Lamb Shift that are not described by quantum mechanics, are described by quantum electrodynamics. Of course, at the nuclear level, because of some complications, it is not clear that we can claim the same confidence. One way of taking these complications and corrections into account seems to be a modification of the standard quantum theory. In this (...)
  22. The Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.Michael Audi - 1977 - Philosophical Review 86 (3):394-396.
  23. Quantum Theory at the Crossroads: Reconsidering the 1927 Solvay Conference.Guido Bacciagaluppi - 2009 - Cambridge University Press.
    The 1927 Solvay conference was perhaps the most important meeting in the history of quantum theory. Contrary to popular belief, the interpretation of quantum theory was not settled at this conference, and no consensus was reached. Instead, a range of sharply conflicting views were presented and extensively discussed, including de Broglie's pilot-wave theory, Born and Heisenberg's quantum mechanics, and Schrödinger's wave mechanics. Today, there is no longer an established or dominant interpretation of quantum theory, so it is important to re-evaluate (...)
  24. Derivation of the Symmetry Postulates for Identical Particles From Pilot-Wave Theories.Guido Bacciagaluppi - unknown
    The symmetries of the wavefunction for identical particles, including anyons, are given a rigorous non-relativistic generalisation within pilot-wave formulations of quantum mechanics. In particular, parastatistics are excluded. The result has a rigorous generalisation to _n_ particles and to spinorial wavefunctions. The relation to other non-relativistic approaches is briefly discussed.
  25. Making Sense of Approximate Decoherence.Guido Bacciagaluppi & Meir Hemmo - 1994 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:345 - 354.
    In realistic situations where a macroscopic system interacts with an external environment, decoherence of the quantum state, as derived in the decoherence approach, is only approximate. We argue that this can still give rise to facts, provided that during the decoherence process states that are, respectively, always close to eigenvectors of pointer position and record observable are correlated. We show in a model that this is always the case.
  26. Study on a Possible Darwinian Origin of Quantum Mechanics.C. Baladrón - 2011 - Foundations of Physics 41 (3):389-395.
    A sketchy subquantum theory deeply influenced by Wheeler’s ideas (Am. J. Phys. 51:398–404, 1983) and by the de Broglie-Bohm interpretation (Goldstein in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2006) of quantum mechanics is further analyzed. In this theory a fundamental system is defined as a dual entity formed by bare matter and a methodological probabilistic classical Turing machine. The evolution of the system would be determined by three Darwinian informational regulating principles. Some progress in the derivation of the postulates of quantum mechanics (...)
  27. The Persistence of Memory: Surreal Trajectories in Bohm's Theory.Jeffrey A. Barrett - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (4):680-703.
    In this paper I describe the history of the surreal trajectories problem and argue that in fact it is not a problem for Bohm's theory. More specifically, I argue that one can take the particle trajectories predicted by Bohm's theory to be the actual trajectories that particles follow and that there is no reason to suppose that good particle detectors are somehow fooled in the context of the surreal trajectories experiments. Rather than showing that Bohm's theory predicts the wrong particle (...)
  28. Empirical Adequacy and the Availability of Reliable Records in Quantum Mechanics.Jeffrey A. Barrett - 1996 - Philosophy of Science 63 (1):49-64.
    In order to judge whether a theory is empirically adequate one must have epistemic access to reliable records of past measurement results that can be compared against the predictions of the theory. Some formulations of quantum mechanics fail to satisfy this condition. The standard theory without the collapse postulate is an example. Bell's reading of Everett's relative-state formulation is another. Furthermore, there are formulations of quantum mechanics that only satisfy this condition for a special class of observers, formulations whose empirical (...)
  29. The Distribution Postulate in Bohm's Theory.Jeffrey A. Barrett - 1995 - Topoi 14 (1):45-54.
    On Bohm''s formulation of quantum mechanics particles always have determinate positions and follow continuous trajectories. Bohm''s theory, however, requires a postulate that says that particles are initially distributed in a special way: particles are randomly distributed so that the probability of their positions being represented by a point in any regionR in configuration space is equal to the square of the wave-function integrated overR. If the distribution postulate were false, then the theory would generally fail to make the right statistical (...)
  30. Relativistic Quantum Mechanics Through Frame-Dependent Constructions.Jeffrey A. Barrett - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (5):802-813.
    This paper is concerned with the possibility and nature of relativistic hidden-variable formulations of quantum mechanics. Both ad hoc teleological constructions of spacetime maps and frame-dependent constructions of spacetime maps are considered. While frame-dependent constructions are clearly preferable, they provide neither mechanical nor causal explanations for local quantum events. Rather, the hiddenvariable dynamics used in such constructions is just a rule that helps to characterize the set of all possible spacetime maps. But while having neither mechanical nor causal explanations of (...)
  31. Realism in Energy Transition Processes: An Example From Bohmian Quantum Mechanics.J. Acacio De Barros, J. P. R. F. De Mendonça & N. Pinto-Neto - 2007 - Synthese 154 (3):349 - 370.
    In this paper we study in details a system of two weakly coupled harmonic oscillators from the point of view of Bohm's interpretation of quantum mechanics. This system may be viewed as a simple model for the interaction between a photon and a photodetector. We obtain exact solutions for the general case. We then compute approximate solutions for the case where one oscillator is initially in its first excited state (a single photon) reaching the other oscillator in its ground state (...)
  32. How to Avoid “Quantum Paradoxes”.A. O. Barut - 1992 - Foundations of Physics 22 (1):137-142.
    The “theorems” showing the impossibility of ascribing to individual quantum systems a definite value of a set of observables, not necessarily commuting,1–4 are based on the tacit assumption that eachindividual spin component has a discrete dichotomic value. We show explicitly that it is possible to introduce continuous hidden variables for individual spins which avoid these quantum paradoxes without changing any of the observed quantum mechanical results.
  33. Joint Probabilities of Noncommuting Operators and Incompleteness of Quantum Mechanics.A. O. Barut, M. Božić & Z. Marić - 1988 - Foundations of Physics 18 (10):999-1012.
    We use joint probabilities to analyze the EPR argument in the Bohm's example of spins.(1) The properties of distribution functions for two, three, or more noncommuting spin components are explicitly studied and their limitations are pointed out. Within the statistical ensemble interpretation of quantum theory (where only statements about repeated events can be made), the incompleteness of quantum theory does not follow, as the consistent use of joint probabilities shows. This does not exclude a completion of quantum mechanics, going beyond (...)
  34. On Testing for the Stage of Collapse in Quantum Mechanics.Lon Stephen Becker - 1998 - Dissertation, University of Illinois at Chicago
    The question was considered whether it is possible to experimentally narrow down the time of collapse in the measurement process of quantum mechanics. A form of experiment was developed towards that end. ;The proof of John von Neumann that it is impossible to determine the time of collapse was analyzed, and its hidden assumptions were exploited in the design of the experiment. The reinterpretation of quantum mechanics by David Bohm was introduced to give an alternative way of looking at quantum (...)
  35. Material Objects in Bohm's Interpretation.Katherine Bedard - 1999 - Philosophy of Science 66 (2):221-242.
    According to the traditional presentation of Bohm's interpretation, we have immediate epistemic access to particle properties but not wavefunction properties, and mental states, pointer states, and ink patterns supervene on particle properties alone. I argue that these claims do not make physical sense, and I offer an alternative account that does.
  36. Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics: Collected Papers on Quantum Philosophy.J. S. Bell - 2004 - Cambridge University Press.
    This book comprises all of John Bell's published and unpublished papers in the field of quantum mechanics, including two papers that appeared after the first edition was published. It also contains a preface written for the first edition, and an introduction by Alain Aspect that puts into context Bell's great contribution to the quantum philosophy debate. One of the leading expositors and interpreters of modern quantum theory, John Bell played a major role in the development of our current understanding of (...)
  37. Six Possible Worlds of Quantum Mechanics.J. S. Bell - 1992 - Foundations of Physics 22 (10):1201-1215.
  38. On the Impossible Pilot Wave.J. S. Bell - 1982 - Foundations of Physics 12 (10):989-999.
    The strange story of the von Neumann impossibility proof is recalled, and the even stranger story of later impossibility proofs, and how the impossible was done by de Broglie and Bohm. Morals are drawn.
  39. 6 Possible Worlds of Quantum-Mechanics (Reprinted From Possible Worlds in Humanities Arts and Sciences, Pg 359-373, 1989). [REVIEW]Js Bell - 1992 - Foundations of Physics 22 (10):1201-1215.
  40. Quantum States for Primitive Ontologists: A Case Study.Gordon Belot - 2012 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (1):67-83.
    Under so-called primitive ontology approaches, in fully describing the history of a quantum system, one thereby attributes interesting properties to regions of spacetime. Primitive ontology approaches, which include some varieties of Bohmian mechanics and spontaneous collapse theories, are interesting in part because they hold out the hope that it should not be too difficult to make a connection between models of quantum mechanics and descriptions of histories of ordinary macroscopic bodies. But such approaches are dualistic, positing a quantum state as (...)
  41. Formalism, Ontology and Methodology in Bohmian Mechanics.Darrin W. Belousek - 2003 - Foundations of Science 8 (2):109-172.
    The relationship between mathematical formalism, physical interpretation and epistemological appraisal in the practice of physical theorizing is considered in the context of Bohmian mechanics. After laying outthe formal mathematical postulates of thetheory and recovering the historical roots ofthe present debate over the meaning of Bohmianmechanics from the early debate over themeaning of Schrödinger's wave mechanics,several contemporary interpretations of Bohmianmechanics in the literature are discussed andcritiqued with respect to the aim of causalexplanation and an alternative interpretationis proposed. Throughout, the over-arching aimis (...)
  42. Statistics, Symmetry, and (In)Distinguishability in Bohmian Mechanics.Darrin W. Belousek - 2000 - Foundations of Physics 30 (1):153-164.
    This paper continues an earlier work by considering in what sense and to what extent identical Bohmian-mechanical particles in many-particle systems can be considered indistinguishable. We conclude that while whether identical Bohmian-mechanical particles ace considered to be “statistically (in)distinguishable” is a matter of theory choice underdetermined by logic and experiment, such particles are in any case “physically distinguishable.”.
  43. What the Humean Should Say About Entanglement.Harjit Bhogal & Zee R. Perry - 2015 - Noûs 50 (3):n/a-n/a.
    Tim Maudlin has influentially argued that Humeanism about laws of nature stands in conflict with quantum mechanics. Specifically Humeanism implies the principle Separability: the complete physical state of a world is determined by the intrinsic physical state of each space-time point. Maudlin argues Separability is violated by the entangled states posited by QM. We argue that Maudlin only establishes that a stronger principle, which we call Strong Separability, is in tension with QM. Separability is not in tension with QM. Moreover, (...)
  44. Form and Actuality.Michel Bitbol - unknown
    Physics could be defined, inter alia, as a systematic attempt at pushing actuality aside and bringing form to the fore. On the other hand, the formal descriptions which are the theoretical end-products of physics have to connect somewhere with actuality. Having to connect with actuality but holding no appropriate counterpart of actuality in it: such is the particularity of physics. As a consequence, many well-known enigma appear as paradoxes OF physics rather than just difficulties IN physics.
  45. The de Broglie Pilot Wave Theory and the Further Development of New Insights Arising Out of It.D. J. Bohm & B. J. Hiley - 1982 - Foundations of Physics 12 (10):1001-1016.
    We briefly review the history of de Broglie's notion of the “double solution” and of the ideas which developed from this. We then go on to an extension of these ideas to the many-body system, and bring out the nonlocality implied in such an extension. Finally, we summarize further developments that have stemmed from de Broglie's suggestions.
  46. On the Relativistic Invariance of a Quantum Theory Based on Beables.D. Bohm & B. J. Hiley - 1991 - Foundations of Physics 21 (2):243-250.
    We discuss the question of the relativistic invariance of a quantum theory based on beables, and we suggest the general outlines of one possible form of such a theory.
  47. Measurement Understood Through the Quantum Potential Approach.D. Bohm & B. J. Hiley - 1984 - Foundations of Physics 14 (3):255-274.
  48. The Essential David Bohm.David Bohm - 2003 - Routledge.
    There are few scientists of the twentieth century whose life's work has created more excitement and controversy than that of physicist David Bohm (1917-1992). Exploring the philosophical implication of both physics and consciousness, Bohm's penchant for questioning scientific and social orthodoxy was the expression of a rare and maverick intelligence. For Bohm, the world of matter and the experience of consciousness were two aspects of a more fundamental process he called the implicate order. Without a working sensibility of what this (...)
  49. On the Role of Hidden Variables in the Fundamental Structure of Physics.David Bohm - 1996 - Foundations of Physics 26 (6):719-786.
  50. The Undivided Universe: An Ontological Interpretation of Quantum Theory.David Bohm - 1993 - Routledge.
    In the The Undivided Universe, David Bohn and Basil Hiley present a radically different approach to quantum theory.
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