The aharonov-Bohm effect and the reality of wave packets


The objective of this paper is to show that, instead of quantum probabilities, wave packets are physically real. First, Cartwright's recent argument for the reality of quantum probabilities is criticized. Then, the notion of ‘physically real’ is precisely defined and the difference between wave functions and quantum probabilities clarified. Being thus prepared, some strong reasons are discussed for considering the wave packet to be physically real. Finding the reasons inconclusive, I explain how the Aharonov—Bohm effect delivers the final punch. I conclude that wave packets are the quantum objects that underlie the indeterministic quantum processes and have the propensity of displaying probabilistic (or indeterministic) behavior.

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Chuang Liu
University of Florida

References found in this work

Nature's Capacities and Their Measurement.Nancy Cartwright - 1989 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
The Structure and Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.R. I. G. Hughes - 1992 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 54 (4):735-736.
Zur Quantenmechanik der Stoßvorgänge.Max Born - 1926 - Zeitschrift für Physik 37 (12):863-867.

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Citations of this work

Holism and Structuralism in U(1) Gauge Theory.Holger Lyre - 2004 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 35 (4):643-670.
Nonlocality and the Aharonov-Bohm Effect.Richard Healey - 1997 - Philosophy of Science 64 (1):18-41.
Which Gauge Matters?James Mattingly - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 37 (2):243-262.
Gauge Gravity and the Unification of Natural Forces.Chuang Liu - 2001 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (2):143 – 159.

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