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Against the 'No-Go' Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics

Laudisa, Federico (2014) Against the 'No-Go' Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics. European Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 4 (1). pp. 1-17.


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In the area of the foundations of quantum mechanics a true industry appears to have developed in the
last decades, with the aim of proving as many results as possible concerning what there cannot be in
the quantum realm. In principle, the significance of proving ‘no-go’ results should consist in clarifying
the fundamental structure of the theory, by pointing out a class of basic constraints that the theory
itself is supposed to satisfy. In the present paper I will discuss some more recent no-go claims and I
will argue against the deep significance of these results, with a two-fold strategy. First, I will consider
three results concerning respectively local realism, quantum covariance and predictive power in
quantum mechanics, and I will try to show how controversial the main conditions of the negative
theorem turn out to be – something that strongly undermines the general relevance of these theorems.
Second, I will try to discuss what I take to be a common feature of these theoretical enterprises,
namely that of aiming at establishing negative results for quantum mechanics in absence of a deeper
understanding of the overall ontological content and structure of the theory. I will argue that the only
way toward such an understanding may be to cast in advance the problems in a clear and well-defined
interpretational framework – which in my view means primarily to specify the ontology that quantum
theory is supposed to be about – and after to wonder whether problems that seemed worth pursuing
still are so in the framework.

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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Keywords: No-Go Theorems; Non-local Realism; Quantum Covariance; Predictive Power
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Prof. Federico Laudisa
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2014 13:36
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2014 13:36
Item ID: 10579
Journal or Publication Title: European Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Publisher: Springer
Official URL:
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1007/s13194-013-0071-4
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Date: 2014
Page Range: pp. 1-17
Volume: 4
Number: 1

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