Philosophy Compass 14 (7) (2019)

Authors
Eddy Keming Chen
University of California, San Diego
Abstract
A century after the discovery of quantum mechanics, the meaning of quantum mechanics still remains elusive. This is largely due to the puzzling nature of the wave function, the central object in quantum mechanics. If we are realists about quantum mechanics, how should we understand the wave function? What does it represent? What is its physical meaning? Answering these questions would improve our understanding of what it means to be a realist about quantum mechanics. In this survey article, I review and compare several realist interpretations of the wave function. They fall into three categories: ontological interpretations, nomological interpretations, and the sui generis interpretation. For simplicity, I will focus on non-relativistic quantum mechanics.
Keywords quantum mechanics  wave function  scientific realism  laws of nature  ontology  configuration space realism  multi-field  quantum state of the universe  measurement problem
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DOI 10.1111/phc3.12611
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References found in this work BETA

Time and Chance.David Z. Albert - 2000 - Harvard University Press.
The Tools of Metaphysics and the Metaphysics of Science.Theodore Sider - 2020 - Oxford, England and New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

The World Just Is the Way It Is.David Builes - 2021 - The Monist 104 (1):1-27.
Fundamental Nomic Vagueness.Eddy Keming Chen - forthcoming - Philosophical Review.
The Past Hypothesis and the Nature of Physical Laws.Eddy Keming Chen - forthcoming - In Barry Loewer, Eric Winsberg & Brad Weslake (eds.), Time's Arrows and the Probability Structure of the World. Harvard University Press.

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The Intrinsic Structure of Quantum Mechanics.Eddy Keming Chen - 2019 - In Essays on the Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics. New Brunswick, NJ: PhD dissertation, Rutgers University. pp. Chapter 1.
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