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

The Tools of Metaphysics and the Metaphysics of Science.Theodore Sider - 2020 - Oxford, England and New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
Time and Chance.David Z. Albert - 2000 - Harvard 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.
Humeanism About Laws of Nature.Harjit Bhogal - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (8):1-10.
Quantum Mechanics in a Time-Asymmetric Universe: On the Nature of the Initial Quantum State.Eddy Keming Chen - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (4):1155–1183.

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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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