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Why special relativity should not be a template for a fundamental reformulation of quantum mechanics

Brown, Harvey R. and Timpson, Christopher G. (2005) Why special relativity should not be a template for a fundamental reformulation of quantum mechanics. [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    In a comparison of the principles of special relativity and of quantum mechanics, the former theory is marked by its relative economy and apparent explanatory simplicity. A number of theorists have thus been led to search for a small number of postulates - essentially information theoretic in nature - that would play the role in quantum mechanics that the relativity principle and the light postulate jointly play in Einstein's 1905 special relativity theory. The purpose of the present paper is to resist this idea, at least in so far as it is supposed to reveal the fundamental form of the theory. It is argued that the methodology of Einstein's 1905 theory represents a victory of pragmatism over explanatory depth; and that its adoption only made sense in the context of the chaotic state state of physics at the start of the 20th century - as Einstein well knew.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Additional Information: Forthcoming in "Physical Theory and its Interpretation: Essays in Honor of Jeffrey Bub" Demopoulos and Pitowsky (eds.) Springer.
    Keywords: Clifton-Bub-Halvorson theorem, principle vs. constructive theories, information-theoretic axioms.
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
    Depositing User: Christopher Gordon Timpson
    Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2006
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:13
    Item ID: 2600
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/2600

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