Physical systems, mathematical representation, and philosophical principles: the EPR paper and its influence

Iyyun (forthcoming)

Guy Hetzroni
The Open University of Israel
The paper portrays the influence of major philosophical ideas on the 1935 debates on quantum theory that reached their climax in the paper by Einstein, Podosky and Rosen, and describes the relevance of these ideas to the vast impact of the paper. I claim that the focus on realism in many common descriptions of the debate misses important aspects both of Einstein's and Bohr's thinking. I suggest an alternative understanding of Einstein's criticism of quantum mechanics as a manifestation of the same methodological principles that served him in the construction of the special and the general theories of relativity. These principles address, in a very specific way, the relation of the theoretical mathematical representations to the represented physical systems. These ideas, I claim, played a key role in the influence of the paper on later works that changed our understanding of quantum theory despite the rejection of EPR's central conclusion.
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