Bohr as a Phenomenological Realist

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There is confusion among scholars of Bohr as to whether he should be categorized as an instrumentalist (see Faye 1991) or a realist (see Folse 1985). I argue that Bohr is a realist, and that the confusion is due to the fact that he holds a very special view of realism, which did not coincide with the philosophers’ views. His approach was sometimes labelled instrumentalist and other times realist, because he was an instrumentalist on the theoretical level, but a realist on the level of models. Such a realist position is what I call phenomenological realism. In this paper, and by taking Bohr’s debate with Einstein as a paradigm, I try to prove that Bohr was such a realist.
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Archival date: 2016-09-12
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