Probabilistic Knowledge as Objective Knowledge in Quantum Mechanics: Potential Powers Instead of Actual Properties

Abstract

In classical physics, probabilistic or statistical knowledge has been always related to ignorance or inaccurate subjective knowledge about an actual state of affairs. This idea has been extended to quantum mechanics through a completely incoherent interpretation of the Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein statistics in terms of "strange" quantum particles. This interpretation, naturalized through a widespread "way of speaking" in the physics community, contradicts Born's physical account of Ψ as a "probability wave" which provides statistical information about outcomes that, in fact, cannot be interpreted in terms of 'ignorance about an actual state of affairs'. In the present paper we discuss how the metaphysics of actuality has played an essential role in limiting the possibilities of understating things differently. We propose instead a metaphysical scheme in terms of powers with definite potentia which allows us to consider quantum probability in a new light, namely, as providing objective knowledge about a potential state of affairs.

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References found in this work

The Scientific Image.William Demopoulos & Bas C. van Fraassen - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):603.
Interpreting the Quantum World.Jeffrey Bub - 1998 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49 (4):637-641.

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