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Quantum Mechanics and its (Dis)Contents

Lewis, Peter J. (2018) Quantum Mechanics and its (Dis)Contents. [Preprint]

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Recently, Richard Healey and Simon Friederich have each advocated a pragmatist interpretation of quantum mechanics as a way to dissolve its foundational problems. The idea is that if we concentrate on the way quantum claims are used, the foundational problems of quantum mechanics cannot be formulated, and so do not require solution. Their central contention is that the content of quantum claims differs from the content of non-quantum claims, in that the former is prescriptive whereas the latter is descriptive. Healey also argues that claims about non-decoherent systems are largely devoid of content. I consider various objections to these claims, noting in particular the ways in which the application of pragmatism to quantum mechanics differs from previous examples of pragmatist therapy. I conclude that a pragmatist dissolution of the foundational difficulties of quantum mechanics is promising, but requires fairly radical changes to our understanding of the content of propositions and the extent of physical explanation.

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Item Type: Preprint
Lewis, Peter
Keywords: Quantum mechanics, measurement problem, pragmatism, meaning, content.
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Peter J. Lewis
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2018 02:31
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2018 02:31
Item ID: 14420
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Date: 2 February 2018

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