Scientific Realism meets Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics

In Philosophers Think About Quantum Theory (2017)
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I examine the epistemological debate on scientific realism in the context of quantum physics, focusing on the empirical underdetermin- ation of different formulations and interpretations of QM. I will argue that much of the interpretational, metaphysical work on QM tran- scends the kinds of realist commitments that are well-motivated in the light of the history of science. I sketch a way of demarcating empirically well-confirmed aspects of QM from speculative quantum metaphysics in a way that coheres with anti-realist evidence from the history of science. The minimal realist attitude sketched withholds realist com- mitment to what quantum state |Ψ⟩ represents. I argue that such commitment is not required for fulfilling the ultimate realist motiva- tion: accounting for the empirical success of quantum mechanics in a way that is in tune with a broader understanding of how theoretical science progresses and latches onto reality.

Author's Profile

Juha Saatsi
University of Leeds


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