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From a Lost History to a New Future: Is a Phenomenological Approach to Quantum Physics Viable?

French, Steven (2019) From a Lost History to a New Future: Is a Phenomenological Approach to Quantum Physics Viable? [Preprint]

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Abstract

In 1939 London and Bauer published a short pamphlet on the measurement problem in quantum mechanics (London and Bauer 1939). For many years, physicists and philosophers took this to be merely a re-statement of von Neumann’s view that it is the intervention of consciousness that somehow leads to the wave function collapsing into some definite state. This view was robustly criticised by Putnam and Shimony in the early 1960s and has been generally abandoned ever since. However, before he became a physicist, London studied phenomenology and his work with Bauer is infused with a phenomenological sensibility. In (French 2002) I tried to excavate this ‘lost history’ and articulate the details of London’s approach. Here I want to further consider the extent to which this history might be said to have been ‘effaced’, to use Ryckman’s term (Ryckman 2005) but also indicate how this phenomenological approach might be further articulated in the broader context of recent interpretations of quantum theory and thereby be regarded as a viable alternative.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
French, StevenS.R.D.French@leeds.ac.uk
Keywords: quantum mechanics measurement problem Wigner's Friend consciousness phenomenology
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Professor Steven French
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2019 15:35
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2019 15:35
Item ID: 15843
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Date: 22 March 2019
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15843

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