About this topic
Summary This is a catch-all category for work on the interpretation of quantum mechanics which does not fall naturally into the other categories. 
Key works Perhaps the most prominent proposal in this category is the 'quantum Bayesianism' of Caves et al 2007, which treats quantum states as states of information.
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257 found
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1 — 50 / 257
  1. Kantian and Neo-Kantian First Principles for Physical and Metaphysical Cognition.Michael E. Cuffaro - manuscript
    I argue that Immanuel Kant's critical philosophy—in particular the doctrine of transcendental idealism which grounds it—is best understood as an `epistemic' or `metaphilosophical' doctrine. As such it aims to show how one may engage in the natural sciences and in metaphysics under the restriction that certain conditions are imposed on our cognition of objects. Underlying Kant's doctrine, however, is an ontological posit, of a sort, regarding the fundamental nature of our cognition. This posit, sometimes called the `discursivity thesis', while considered (...)
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  2. Partitions and Objective Indefiniteness.David Ellerman - manuscript
    Classical physics and quantum physics suggest two meta-physical types of reality: the classical notion of a objectively definite reality with properties "all the way down," and the quantum notion of an objectively indefinite type of reality. The problem of interpreting quantum mechanics (QM) is essentially the problem of making sense out of an objectively indefinite reality. These two types of reality can be respectively associated with the two mathematical concepts of subsets and quotient sets (or partitions) which are category-theoretically dual (...)
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  3. On the Duality Between Existence and Information.David Ellerman - manuscript
    Recent developments in pure mathematics and in mathematical logic have uncovered a fundamental duality between "existence" and "information." In logic, the duality is between the Boolean logic of subsets and the logic of quotient sets, equivalence relations, or partitions. The analogue to an element of a subset is the notion of a distinction of a partition, and that leads to a whole stream of dualities or analogies--including the development of new logical foundations for information theory parallel to Boole's development of (...)
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  4. On Classical Finite Probability Theory as a Quantum Probability Calculus.David Ellerman - manuscript
    This paper shows how the classical finite probability theory (with equiprobable outcomes) can be reinterpreted and recast as the quantum probability calculus of a pedagogical or "toy" model of quantum mechanics over sets (QM/sets). There are two parts. The notion of an "event" is reinterpreted from being an epistemological state of indefiniteness to being an objective state of indefiniteness. And the mathematical framework of finite probability theory is recast as the quantum probability calculus for QM/sets. The point is not to (...)
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  5. QBism, the Perimeter of Quantum Bayesianism.Christopher A. Fuchs - manuscript
    This article summarizes the Quantum Bayesian point of view of quantum mechanics, with special emphasis on the view's outer edges---dubbed QBism. QBism has its roots in personalist Bayesian probability theory, is crucially dependent upon the tools of quantum information theory, and most recently, has set out to investigate whether the physical world might be of a type sketched by some false-started philosophies of 100 years ago (pragmatism, pluralism, nonreductionism, and meliorism). Beyond conceptual issues, work at Perimeter Institute is focused on (...)
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  6. Why the de Broglie-Bohm Theory is Probably Wrong.Shan Gao - manuscript
    We investigate the validity of the field explanation of the wave function by analyzing the mass and charge density distributions of a quantum system. It is argued that a charged quantum system has effective mass and charge density distributing in space, proportional to the square of the absolute value of its wave function. This is also a consequence of protective measurement. If the wave function is a physical field, then the mass and charge density will be distributed in space simultaneously (...)
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  7. Derivation of the Schrödinger Equation.Shan Gao - manuscript
    It is shown that the heuristic "derivation" of the Schrödinger equation in quantum mechanics textbooks can be turned into a real derivation by resorting to spacetime translation invariance and relativistic invariance.
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  8. Quantum Mechanical EPRBA Covariance and Classical Probability.Han Geurdes - manuscript
    Contrary to Bell’s theorem it is demonstrated that with the use of classical probability theory the quantum correlation can be approximated. Hence, one may not conclude from experiment that all local hidden variable theories are ruled out by a violation of inequality result.
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  9. John Bell on Subject and Object.Hans Halvorson - manuscript
    A critical examination of John Bell's article "Subject and object".
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  10. Interpreting Quantum Mechanics and Predictability in Terms of Facts About the Universe.Andrew Knight - manuscript
    A potentially new interpretation of quantum mechanics posits the state of the universe as a consistent set of facts that are instantiated in the correlations among entangled objects. A fact (or event) occurs exactly when the number or density of future possibilities decreases, and a quantum superposition exists if and only if the facts of the universe are consistent with the superposition. The interpretation sheds light on both in-principle and real-world predictability of the universe.
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  11. Reconciling Axiomatic Quantum Field Theory with Cutoff-Dependent Particle Physics.Adam Koberinski - manuscript
    The debate between Fraser and Wallace over the foundations of quantum field theory has spawned increased focus on both the axiomatic and conventional formalisms. The debate has set the tone for future foundational analysis, and has forced philosophers to “pick a side”. The two are seen as competing research programs, and the major divide between the two manifests in how each handles renormalization. In this paper I argue that the terms set by the Fraser-Wallace debate are misleading. AQFT and CQFT (...)
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  12. Quantum Mechanics Foundations.Bakytzhan Oralbekov - manuscript
    Gravity remains the most elusive field. Its relationship with the electromagnetic field is poorly understood. Relativity and quantum mechanics describe the aforementioned fields, respectively. Bosons and fermions are often credited with responsibility for the interactions of force and matter. It is shown here that fermions factually determine the gravitational structure of the universe, while bosons are responsible for the three established and described forces. Underlying the relationships of the gravitational and electromagnetic fields is a symmetrical probability distribution of fermions and (...)
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  13. Primitive Ontology or Primitive Relations?Quentin Ruyant - manuscript
    Primitive ontology is a program which seeks to make explicit the ontological commitments of physical theories in terms of a distribution of matter in ordinary space-time. This program targets wave-function realism, which interprets the high-dimensional configuration space on which wave-functions are defined as our fundamental physical space. Wave-function realism allegedly fails to account for a correspondence between the ontology it postulates and the ‘manifest image’ of the world in which experimental tests of the theory are performed, and therefore the wave-function (...)
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  14. Bohr’s Relational Holism and the Classical-Quantum Interaction.Mauro Dorato - 2016
    In this paper I present and critically discuss the main strategies that Bohr used and could have used to fend off the charge that his interpretation does not provide a clear-cut distinction between the classical and the quantum domain. In particular, in the first part of the paper I reassess the main arguments used by Bohr to advocate the indispensability of a classical framework to refer to quantum phenomena. In this respect, by using a distinction coming from an apparently unrelated (...)
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  15. Protective Measurement and the Meaning of the Wave Function.Shan Gao - 2011
    This article analyzes the implications of protective measurement for the meaning of the wave function. According to protective measurement, a charged quantum system has mass and charge density proportional to the modulus square of its wave function. It is shown that the mass and charge density is not real but effective, formed by the ergodic motion of a localized particle with the total mass and charge of the system. Moreover, it is argued that the ergodic motion is not continuous but (...)
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  16. The Wave Function and Its Evolution.Shan Gao - 2011
    The meaning of the wave function and its evolution are investigated. First, we argue that the wave function in quantum mechanics is a description of random discontinuous motion of particles, and the modulus square of the wave function gives the probability density of the particles being in certain locations in space. Next, we show that the linear non-relativistic evolution of the wave function of an isolated system obeys the free Schrödinger equation due to the requirements of spacetime translation invariance and (...)
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  17. Comment on "How to Protect the Interpretation of the Wave Function Against Protective Measurements" by Jos Uffink.Shan Gao - 2011
    It is shown that Uffink's attempt to protect the interpretation of the wave function against protective measurements fails due to several errors in his arguments.
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  18. Derivation of the Meaning of the Wave Function.Shan Gao - 2011
    We show that the physical meaning of the wave function can be derived based on the established parts of quantum mechanics. It turns out that the wave function represents the state of random discontinuous motion of particles, and its modulus square determines the probability density of the particles appearing in certain positions in space.
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  19. Meaning of the Wave Function.Shan Gao - 2010
    We investigate the meaning of the wave function by analyzing the mass and charge density distributions of a quantum system. According to protective measurement, a charged quantum system has effective mass and charge density distributing in space, proportional to the square of the absolute value of its wave function. In a realistic interpretation, the wave function of a quantum system can be taken as a description of either a physical field or the ergodic motion of a particle. The essential difference (...)
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  20. What Branching Spacetime Might Do for Physics.Mark Sharlow - 2007
    In recent years, the branching spacetime (BST) interpretation of quantum mechanics has come under study by a number of philosophers, physicists and mathematicians. This paper points out some implications of the BST interpretation for two areas of quantum physics: (1) quantum gravity, and (2) stochastic interpretations of quantum mechanics.
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  21. 'Charge Without Charge' in the Stochastic Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.Mark Sharlow - 2007
    In this note I examine some implications of stochastic interpretations of quantum mechanics for the concept of "charge without charge" presented by Wheeler and Misner. I argue that if a stochastic interpretation of quantum mechanics were correct, then certain shortcomings of the "charge without charge" concept could be overcome.
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  22. Undecidability and the Problem of Outcomes in Quantum Measurements.Rodolfo Gambini, Luis Pedro Garcia Pintos & Jorge Pullin - forthcoming - Foundations of Physics:93-115.
    We argue that it is fundamentally impossible to recover information about quantum superpositions when a quantum system has interacted with a sufficiently large number of degrees of freedom of the environment. This is due to the fact that gravity imposes fundamental limitations on how accurate measurements can be. This leads to the notion of undecidability: there is no way to tell, due to fundamental limitations, if a quantum system evolved unitarily or suffered wavefunction collapse. This in turn provides a solution (...)
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  23. Is the Reality Criterion Analytic?David Glick & Florian J. Boge - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-7.
    Tim Maudlin has claimed that EPR’s Reality Criterion is analytically true. We argue that it is not. Moreover, one may be a subjectivist about quantum probabilities without giving up on objective physical reality. Thus, would-be detractors must reject QBism and other epistemic approaches to quantum theory on other grounds.
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  24. A New Problem for Quantum Mechanics.Alexander Meehan - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:000-000.
    In this article I raise a new problem for quantum mechanics, which I call the control problem. Like the measurement problem, the control problem places a fundamental constraint on quantum theories. The characteristic feature of the problem is its focus on state preparation. In particular, whereas the measurement problem turns on a premise about the completeness of the quantum state ('no hidden variables'), the control problem turns on a premise about our ability to prepare or control quantum states. After raising (...)
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  25. Quantum Entanglement: A Hylomorphic Account.Matteo Morganti - forthcoming - Synthese:1-21.
    In this paper, it is argued that Aristotelian hylomorphism can supply a useful and informative account of composite entities as these are described by physical theory. In particular, a hylomorphic account of quantum entangled systems is defined in detail, and compared to other alternatives currently on offer—in particular, ontic structural realism. In closing, it is suggested that the view of entanglement outlined here meshes well with a recently proposed ‘coherentist’ conception.
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  26. Scientific Realism Without the Wave-Function: An Example of Naturalized Quantum Metaphysics.Valia Allori - 2020 - In Juha Saatsi & Steven French (eds.), Scientific Realism and the Quantum. Oxford University Press.
    Scientific realism is the view that our best scientific theories can be regarded as (approximately) true. This is connected with the view that science, physics in particular, and metaphysics could (and should) inform one another: on the one hand, science tells us what the world is like, and on the other hand, metaphysical principles allow us to select between the various possible theories which are underdetermined by the data. Nonetheless, quantum mechanics has always been regarded as, at best, puzzling, if (...)
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  27. How Humean is Bohumianism?Tomasz Bigaj & Antonio Vassallo - 2020 - Foundations of Physics (10):1-18.
    An important part of the influential Humean doctrine in philosophy is the supervenience principle (sometimes referred to as the principle of separability). This principle asserts that the complete state of the world supervenes on the intrinsic properties of its most fundamental components and their spatiotemporal relations (the so-called Humean mosaic). There are well-known arguments in the literature purporting to show that in quantum mechanics the Humean supervenience principle is violated, due to the existence of entangled states. Recently, however, arguments have (...)
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  28. Information Causality, the Tsirelson Bound, and the ‘Being-Thus’ of Things.Michael E. Cuffaro - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 72:266-277.
    The principle of 'information causality' can be used to derive an upper bound---known as the 'Tsirelson bound'---on the strength of quantum mechanical correlations, and has been conjectured to be a foundational principle of nature. In this paper, however, I argue that the principle has not to date been sufficiently motivated to play this role; the motivations that have so far been given are either unsatisfactorily vague or else amount to little more than an appeal to intuition. I then consider how (...)
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  29. No Paradox in Wave–Particle Duality.Andrew Knight - 2020 - Foundations of Physics 50 (11):1723-1727.
    The assertion that an experiment by Afshar et al. demonstrates violation of Bohr’s Principle of Complementarity is based on the faulty assumption that which-way information in a double-slit interference experiment can be retroactively determined from a future measurement.
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  30. A Consciousness-Based Quantum Objective Collapse Model.Elias Okon & Miguel Ángel Sebastián - 2020 - Synthese 197 (9):3947-3967.
    Ever since the early days of quantum mechanics it has been suggested that consciousness could be linked to the collapse of the wave function. However, no detailed account of such an interplay is usually provided. In this paper we present an objective collapse model where the collapse operator depends on integrated information, which has been argued to measure consciousness. By doing so, we construct an empirically adequate scheme in which superpositions of conscious states are dynamically suppressed. Unlike other proposals in (...)
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  31. The Physics of Emergence.Robert Bishop - 2019 - San Rafael, CA: Morgan & Claypool publication as part of IOP Concise Physics.
    This book explores whether physics points to a reductive or an emergent structure of the world and proposes a physics-motivated conception of emergence that leaves behind many of the problematic intuitions shaping the philosophical conceptions. Examining several detailed case studies reveals results that point to stability conditions playing a crucial though underappreciated role in the physics of emergence. This contextual emergence has thought-provoking consequences for physics and beyond.
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  32. In Defence of the Self-Location Uncertainty Account of Probability in the Many-Worlds Interpretation.Kelvin J. McQueen & Lev Vaidman - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 66:14-23.
    We defend the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics against the objection that it cannot explain why measurement outcomes are predicted by the Born probability rule. We understand quantum probabilities in terms of an observer's self-location probabilities. We formulate a probability postulate for the MWI: the probability of self-location in a world with a given set of outcomes is the absolute square of that world's amplitude. We provide a proof of this postulate, which assumes the quantum formalism and two principles concerning (...)
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  33. Reconsidering No-Go Theorems From a Practical Perspective.Michael E. Cuffaro - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (3):633-655.
    I argue that our judgements regarding the locally causal models that are compatible with a given constraint implicitly depend, in part, on the context of inquiry. It follows from this that certain quantum no-go theorems, which are particularly striking in the traditional foundational context, have no force when the context switches to a discussion of the physical systems we are capable of building with the aim of classically reproducing quantum statistics. I close with a general discussion of the possible implications (...)
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  34. On the Fundamentality of Meaning.Brian D. Josephson - 2018 - In FQXi Essays on 'What Is Fundamental?'.
    The mainstream view of meaning is that it is emergent, not fundamental, but some have disputed this, asserting that there is a more fundamental level of reality than that addressed by current physical theories, and that matter and meaning are in some way entangled. In this regard there are intriguing parallels between the quantum and biological domains, suggesting that there may be a more fundamental level underlying both. I argue that the organisation of this fundamental level is already to a (...)
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  35. A New Way of Understanding the Wave Function: Shan Gao: The Meaning of the Wave Function. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017, X+189pp, $140 HB.Nicholas Maxwell - 2018 - Metascience 27 (1):87-90.
    This is a review of a book by Shan Gao called "The meaning of the wave function", Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.
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  36. From Ontic Structural Realism to Metaphysical Coherentism.Matteo Morganti - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1):1-20.
    The present paper argues that the typical structuralist claims according to which invariances, symmetries and the like are fundamental – especially in physics – should not be understood in terms of physical relations being fundamental. Rather, they should be understood in terms of ‘metaphysical coherentism’ - the idea that object-like parts of reality exhibit symmetric relations of ontological dependence. The view is developed in some detail, in particular by showing that i) symmetric ontological dependence does not necessarily lead to uninformative (...)
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  37. Metaphysics of the Principle of Least Action.Vladislav Terekhovich - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 62:189-201.
    Despite the importance of the variational principles of physics, there have been relatively few attempts to consider them for a realistic framework. In addition to the old teleological question, this paper continues the recent discussion regarding the modal involvement of the principle of least action and its relations with the Humean view of the laws of nature. The reality of possible paths in the principle of least action is examined from the perspectives of the contemporary metaphysics of modality and Leibniz's (...)
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  38. A New Argument for the Nomological Interpretation of the Wave Function: The Galilean Group and the Classical Limit of Nonrelativistic Quantum Mechanics.Valia Allori - 2017 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science (2):177-188.
    In this paper I investigate, within the framework of realistic interpretations of the wave function in nonrelativistic quantum mechanics, the mathematical and physical nature of the wave function. I argue against the view that mathematically the wave function is a two-component scalar field on configuration space. First, I review how this view makes quantum mechanics non- Galilei invariant and yields the wrong classical limit. Moreover, I argue that interpreting the wave function as a ray, in agreement many physicists, Galilei invariance (...)
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  39. Simon Friederich: Interpreting Quantum Theory: A Therapeutic Approach: Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2015, Xiii + 202 Pp. [REVIEW]Florian Boge - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (2):443-449.
    Simon Friederich’s Therapeutic Approach to quantum theory (QT) sheds new light on the status of the quantum state. In particular, Friederich presents revisionary ideas on how to exactly differentiate objective from subjective elements of the theory and thereby improves upon previous stabs at an epistemic interpretation of quantum states. The book not only provides interesting perspectives for the cognoscenti but is also written with sufficient care and free of unnecessary technicalities so as to be accessible and worth reading for the (...)
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  40. Can We Falsify the Consciousness-Causes-Collapse Hypothesis in Quantum Mechanics?Jos’E. Ac’Acio de Barros & Gary Oas - 2017 - Foundations of Physics 47 (10):1294-1308.
    In this paper we examine some proposals to disprove the hypothesis that the interaction between mind and matter causes the collapse of the wave function, showing that such proposals are fundamentally flawed. We then describe a general experimental setup retaining the key features of the ones examined, and show that even a more general case is inadequate to disprove the mind-matter collapse hypothesis. Finally, we use our setup provided to argue that, under some reasonable assumptions about consciousness, such hypothesis is (...)
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  41. On the Tension Between Ontology and Epistemology in Quantum Probabilities.Amit Hagar - 2017 - In Lombardi (ed.), What is Quantum Information. Cambridge: CUP. pp. 147-178.
    For many among the scientifically informed public, and even among physicists, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle epitomizes quantum mechanics. Nevertheless, more than 86 years after its inception, there is no consensus over the interpretation, scope, and validity of this principle. The aim of this chapter is to offer one such interpretation, the traces of which may be found already in Heisenberg's letters to Pauli from 1926, and in Dirac's anticipation of Heisenberg's uncertainty relations from 1927, that stems form the hypothesis of finite (...)
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  42. Making Sense of the Mental Universe.Bernardo Kastrup - 2017 - Philosophy and Cosmology 19 (1):33-49.
    In 2005, an essay was published in Nature asserting that the universe is mental and that we must abandon our tendency to conceptualize observations as things. Since then, experiments have confirmed that — as predicted by quantum mechanics — reality is contextual, which contradicts at least intuitive formulations of realism and corroborates the hypothesis of a mental universe. Yet, to give this hypothesis a coherent rendering, one must explain how a mental universe can — at least in principle — accommodate (...)
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  43. Is QBism the Future of Quantum Physics? [REVIEW]Kelvin McQueen - 2017 - Quantum Times 2017.
    The purpose of this book is to explain Quantum Bayesianism (‘QBism’) to “people without easy access to mathematical formulas and equations” (4-5). Qbism is an interpretation of quantum mechanics that “doesn’t meddle with the technical aspects of the theory [but instead] reinterprets the fundamental terms of the theory and gives them new meaning” (3). The most important motivation for QBism, enthusiastically stated on the book’s cover, is that QBism provides “a way past quantum theory’s paradoxes and puzzles” such that much (...)
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  44. Disentangling Nature's Joints.Tuomas Tahko - 2017 - In William Simpson, Robert Koons & Nicholas Teh (eds.), Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Contemporary Science. Routledge. pp. 147-166.
    Can the neo-Aristotelian uphold a pluralist substance ontology while taking seriously the recent arguments in favour of monism based on quantum holism and other arguments from quantum mechanics? In this article, Jonathan Schaffer’s priority monism will be the main target. It will be argued that the case from quantum mechanics in favour of priority monism does face some challenges. Moreover, if the neo-Aristotelian is willing to consider alternative ways to understand ‘substance’, there may yet be hope for a pluralist substance (...)
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  45. The existence of quantum objects. Experimental verification of metaphysical presuppositions.Vlad Terekhovich - 2017 - Metaphysics 23 (1):104-112.
    В статье рассмотрено как результаты квантовых экспериментов могут изменить метафизические представления о реальности. Экспериментальная проверка неравенств Белла, Леггета, Леггета—Гарга, а также эксперименты с отложенным выбором и квантовым «ластиком» подтверждают, что для квантовых объектов следует отказаться от представлений классического реализма. Однако конкуренция между квантовым анти-реализмом и квантовым реализмом продолжается.
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  46. Why Linear? An Illustration Using a Geometric Model of Quantum Interaction.Paul Baird - 2016 - Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science 9535:101-112.
    Quantum mechanics is a linear theory. This is a strange fact. Why should nature be so convenient? Perhaps linearity is simply a consequence of small perturbations against a relatively uniform background. This can be formalized within the mathematical notions of weak solution and linearization. The true picture is unlikely to be so and some more appropriate framework may be required to deal with theories where this uniformity is lost, such as for example quantum gravity. A geometric model of quantum interaction (...)
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  47. Ψ-Epistemic Models, Einsteinian Intuitions, and No-Gos. A Critical Study of Recent Developments on the Quantum State.Florian J. Boge - 2016 - PhilSci-Archive.
    Quantum mechanics notoriously faces the measurement problem, the problem that if read thoroughly, it implies the nonexistence of definite outcomes in measurement procedures. A plausible reaction to this and to related problems is to regard a system's quantum state |ψ> merely as an indication of our lack of knowledge about the system, i.e., to interpret it epistemically. However, there are radically different ways to spell out such an epistemic view of the quantum state. We here investigate recent developments in the (...)
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  48. Grete Hermann - Between Physics and Philosophy.Elise Crull & Guido Bacciagaluppi (eds.) - 2016 - Springer.
  49. Why Interpret Quantum Physics?Edward MacKinnon - 2016 - Open Journal of Philosophy 6 (1):86-102.
    This article probes the question of what interpretations of quantum mechanics actually accomplish. In other domains, which are briefly considered, interpretations serve to make alien systematizations intelligible to us. This often involves clarifying the status of their implicit ontology. A survey of interpretations of non-relativistic quantum mechanics supports the evaluation that these interpretations make a contribution to philosophy, but not to physics. Interpretations of quantum field theory are polarized by the divergence between the Lagrangian field theory that led to the (...)
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  50. Popper's Paradoxical Pursuit of Natural Philosophy.Nicholas Maxwell - 2016 - In J. Shearmur & G. Stokes (eds.), Cambridge Companion to Popper. Cambridge University Press. pp. 170-207.
    Philosophy of science is seen by most as a meta-discipline – one that takes science as its subject matter, and seeks to acquire knowledge and understanding about science without in any way affecting, or contributing to, science itself. Karl Popper’s approach is very different. His first love is natural philosophy or, as he would put it, cosmology. This intermingles cosmology and the rest of natural science with epistemology, methodology and metaphysics. Paradoxically, however, one of his best known contributions, his proposed (...)
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