The Intrinsic Structure of Quantum Mechanics

In Essays on the Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics. New Brunswick, NJ: PhD dissertation, Rutgers University. pp. Chapter 1 (2019)
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Abstract

The wave function in quantum mechanics presents an interesting challenge to our understanding of the physical world. In this paper, I show that the wave function can be understood as four intrinsic relations on physical space. My account has three desirable features that the standard account lacks: it does not refer to any abstract mathematical objects, it is free from the usual arbitrary conventions, and it explains why the wave function has its gauge degrees of freedom, something that are usually put into the theory by hand. Hence, this account has implications for debates in philosophy of mathematics and philosophy of science. First, by removing references to mathematical objects, it provides a framework for nominalizing quantum mechanics. Second, by excising superfluous structure such as overall phase, it reveals the intrinsic structure postulated by quantum mechanics. Moreover, it also removes a major obstacle to ``wave function realism.''

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Eddy Keming Chen
University of California, San Diego

References found in this work

Science Without Numbers: A Defence of Nominalism.Hartry H. Field - 1980 - Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.
Mereology.Achille C. Varzi - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Philosophy of logic.Hilary Putnam - 1971 - London,: Allen & Unwin. Edited by Stephen Laurence & Cynthia Macdonald.

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