The quantum epoché

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The theme of phenomenology and quantum physics is here tackled by examining some basic interpretational issues in quantum physics. One key issue in quantum theory from the very beginning has been whether it is possible to provide a quantum ontology of particles in motion in the same way as in classical physics, or whether we are restricted to stay within a more limited view of quantum systems, in terms of complementary but mutually exclusive phenomena. In phenomenological terms we could describe the situation by saying that according to the usual interpretation of quantum theory, quantum phenomena require a kind of epoche. However, there are other interpretations that seem to re-establish the possibility of a mind-independent ontology at the quantum level. We will show that even such ontological interpretations contain novel, non-classical features, which require them to give a special role to “phenomena” or “appearances”, a role not encountered in classical physics. We will conclude that while ontological interpretations of quantum theory are possible, quantum theory implies the need of a certain kind of epoche even for this type of interpretations. While different from the epoche connected to phenomenological description, the “quantum epoche” nevertheless points to a potentially interesting parallel between phenomenology and quantum philosophy.
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Archival date: 2017-09-26
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