Synthese 195 (11):4839-4863 (2018)

Authors
Elay Shech
Auburn University
Abstract
Two approaches to understanding the idealizations that arise in the Aharonov–Bohm effect are presented. It is argued that a common topological approach, which takes the non-simply connected electron configuration space to be an essential element in the explanation and understanding of the effect, is flawed. An alternative approach is outlined. Consequently, it is shown that the existence and uniqueness of self-adjoint extensions of symmetric operators in quantum mechanics have important implications for philosophical issues. Also, the alleged indispensable explanatory role of said idealizations is examined via a minimal model explanatory scheme. Last, the idealizations involved in the AB effect are placed in a wider philosophical context via a short survey of part of the literature on infinite and essential idealizations.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-017-1428-6
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