Life in configuration space


Authors
Peter J. Lewis
Dartmouth College
Abstract
This paper investigates the tenability of wavefunction realism, according to which the quantum mechanical wavefunction is not just a convenient predictive tool, but is a real entity figuring in physical explanations of our measurement results. An apparent difficulty with this position is that the wavefunction exists in a many-dimensional configuration space, whereas the world appears to us to be three-dimensional. I consider the arguments that have been given for and against the tenability of wavefunction realism, and note that both the proponents and the opponents assume that quantum mechanical configuration space is many-dimensional in exactly the same sense in which classical space is three-dimensional. I argue that this assumption is mistaken, and that configuration space can be taken as three-dimensional in a relevant sense. I conclude that wavefunction realism is far less problematic than it has been taken to be. Introduction Non-separability The instantaneous solution The dynamical solution Invariance What is configuration space, anyway? Conclusion
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1093/bjps/55.4.713
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References found in this work BETA

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.
Wave Function Ontology.Bradley Monton - 2002 - Synthese 130 (2):265-277.
Quantum Mechanics and Experience.David Albert - 1995 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (2):253-260.

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Citations of this work BETA

Monism: The Priority of the Whole.Jonathan Schaffer - 2010 - Philosophical Review 119 (1):31-76.
Quantum Mechanics on Spacetime I: Spacetime State Realism.David Wallace & Christopher Gordon Timpson - 2010 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (4):697-727.
What is a Wavefunction?Wayne C. Myrvold - 2015 - Synthese 192 (10):3247-3274.

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