Niels Bohr's interpretation and the copenhagen interpretation—are the two incompatible?

Philosophy of Science 74 (5):736-748 (2007)
The Copenhagen interpretation, 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 Copenhagen interpretation 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: 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).
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1086/525618
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 26,721
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Niels Bohr on the Wave Function and the Classical/Quantum Divide.Henrik Zinkernagel - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 53:9-19.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

71 ( #72,952 of 2,158,808 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

5 ( #64,757 of 2,158,808 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums