A philosopher looks at quantum mechanics (again)

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (4):615-634 (2005)
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Abstract

A Philosopher Looks at Quantum Mechanics’ (Putnam [1965]) explained why the interpretation of quantum mechanics is a philosophical problem in detail, but with only the necessary minimum of technicalities, in the hope of making the difficulties intelligible to as wide an audience as possible. When I wrote it, I had not seen Bell ([1964]), nor (of course) had I seen Ghirardi et al. ([1986]). And I did not discuss the ‘Many Worlds’ interpretation. For all these reasons, I have decided to make a similar attempt forty years later, taking account of additional interpretations and of our knowledge concerning non-locality. (The Quantum Logical interpretation proposed in Putnam [1968] is not considered in the present paper, however, because Putnam [1994b] concluded that it was unworkable.) Rather than advocate a particular interpretation, this paper classifies the possible kinds of interpretation, subject only to the constraints of a very broadly construed scientific realism. Section 7 does, however, argue that two sorts of interpretation—ones according to which a ‘collapse’ is brought about by the measurement (e.g. the traditional ‘Copenhagen’ interpretation), and the Many Worlds interpretation or interpretations—should be ruled out. The concluding section suggests some possible morals of a cosmological character. Background Scientific realism is the premise of my discussion What ‘quantum mechanics’ says—and some problems Other interpretations of quantum mechanics The problem of Einstein's bed Classification of the possible kinds of interpretation Which interpretations I think we can rule out The ‘moral’ of this discussion.

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References found in this work

Realism and reason.Hilary Putnam (ed.) - 1983 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Realism and Reason.Hilary Putnam - 1977 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 50 (6):483-498.

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