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Scientific Explanation and Scientific Structuralism

Dorato, Mauro and Felline, Laura (2009) Scientific Explanation and Scientific Structuralism. [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    In this paper we argue that quantum mechanics provides a genuine kind of structural explanations of quantum phenomena. Since structural explanations only rely on the formal properties of the theory, they have the advantage of being independent of interpretative questions. As such, they can be used to claim that, even in the current absence of one agreed-upon interpretation, quantum mechanics is capable of providing satisfactory explanations of physical phenomena. While our proposal clearly cannot be taken to solve all interpretive issues raised by quantum theory, we will argue that it can be successfully applied to some of its most puzzling phenomena, such Heisenberg's uncertainty relations and quantum non-locality. The discussion of these two case studies will also serve to illustrate the main properties of structural explanations and compare them to the DN and the unificationist models. Finally, we briefly discuss how structural explanations might relate to structural realism.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Keywords: Structural explanation, quantum mechanics, model
    Subjects: General Issues > Explanation
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
    Depositing User: Mauro Dorato
    Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2009
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:18
    Item ID: 4853
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/4853

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