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Quantum Theory: Realism or Pragmatism?

Healey, Richard A. (2018) Quantum Theory: Realism or Pragmatism? [Preprint]

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Abstract

During his long and extraordinarily productive career Hilary Putnam occasionally flirted with pragmatism. But his scientific realism provided a fixed point of his attempts to interpret quantum theory. I have argued recently that pragmatist treatments of representation, explanation and probability are keys to understanding how we use quantum theory so successfully, and so how it should be interpreted.
For Putnam, scientific realism is itself a scientific hypothesis that explains the success of science. If I am right, the success of quantum theory undermines this kind of scientific realism while supporting a rival pragmatism. Scientific realism remains immune to empirical refutation if it is viewed not as a scientific hypothesis but as a regulative ideal. But a pragmatist view of quantum theory poses a challenge to a certain kind of metaphysical realism.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Healey, Richard A.rhealey@email.arizona.edu0000-0001-9329-2927
Additional Information: Forthcoming in ANÁLISIS.
Keywords: Hilary Putnam, scientific realism, metaphysical realism, pragmatism, quantum theory, measurement problem, non-locality, quantum ontology.
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Depositing User: Richard Andrew Healey
Date Deposited: 14 May 2018 16:14
Last Modified: 14 May 2018 16:14
Item ID: 14667
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Date: 26 January 2018
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14667

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