Why Interpret Quantum Physics?

Open Journal of Philosophy 6 (1):86-102 (2016)
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Abstract

This article probes the question of what interpretations of quantum mechanics actually accomplish. In other domains, which are briefly considered, interpretations serve to make alien systematizations intelligible to us. This often involves clarifying the status of their implicit ontology. A survey of interpretations of non-relativistic quantum mechanics supports the evaluation that these interpretations make a contribution to philosophy, but not to physics. Interpretations of quantum field theory are polarized by the divergence between the Lagrangian field theory that led to the Standard Model of Particle physics and the Algebraic quantum field theory, that discounts an ontology of particles. Ruetsche's interpretation, it is argued, offers a potential for loosening the sharp polarization that presently obtains. A brief evaluation focuses on the functional ontology of quantum field theory considered as an effective theory.

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Edward MacKinnon
California State University, Hayward

Citations of this work

The role of a posteriori mathematics in physics.Edward MacKinnon - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 62:166-175.

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References found in this work

Der Logische Aufbau der Welt.Rudolf Carnap - 1928 - Hamburg: Meiner Verlag.
The Empirical Stance.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 2004 - New York: Yale University Press.
The Empirical Stance.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 2002 - Yale University Press.
Interpreting Quantum Theories: The Art of the Possible.Laura Ruetsche - 2011 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.

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