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The Intrinsic Structure of Quantum Mechanics

Chen, Eddy Keming (2018) The Intrinsic Structure of Quantum Mechanics. [Preprint]

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Abstract

The wave function in quantum mechanics presents an interesting challenge to our understanding of the physical world.
In this paper, I show that the wave function can be understood as four intrinsic relations on physical space. My account has three desirable features that the standard account lacks: (1) it does not refer to any abstract mathematical objects, (2) it is free from the usual arbitrary conventions, and (3) it explains why the wave function has its gauge degrees of freedom, something that are usually put into the theory by hand.

Hence, this account has implications for debates in philosophy of mathematics and philosophy of science. First, by removing references to mathematical objects, it provides a framework for nominalizing quantum mechanics. Second, by excising superfluous structure such as overall phase, it reveals the intrinsic structure postulated by quantum mechanics. Moreover, it also removes a major obstacle to ``wave function realism.''


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Chen, Eddy Kemingeddy.chen@rutgers.edu
Keywords: quantum mechanics, wave function, phase structure, mathematical nominalism, intrinsic physical theory, indispensability argument, mathematical platonism, metaphysics of science.
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Applicability
Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Ontology
General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Structure of Theories
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Depositing User: Keming Chen
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2018 17:52
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 17:52
Item ID: 15140
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Applicability
Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Mathematics > Ontology
General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Structure of Theories
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date: 10 October 2018
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15140

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