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Putnam looks at quantum mechanics (again and again)

Wuthrich, Christian (2014) Putnam looks at quantum mechanics (again and again). [Preprint]

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Hilary Putnam (1965, 2005) has argued that from a realist perspective, quantum mechanics stands in need of an interpretation. Ironically, this hypothesis may appear vulnerable against arguments drawing on Putnam's own work. Nancy Cartwright (2005) has urged that his 1962 essay on the meaning of theoretical terms suggests that quantum mechanics needs no interpretation and thus stands in tension with his claim of three years later. She furthermore contends that this conflict should be resolved in favour of the earlier work, as quantum mechanics, like all successful theories, does not need an interpretation. The first part of this essay deflates both of these objections. The second part addresses and evaluates Putnam's own assessments of the main interpretative options available in 1965 and 2005. Although we may disagree on some aspects, his pessimistic conclusion will come out largely unscathed, and, in fact, enhanced. I will close by briefly stating the historical relevance of this work.

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Item Type: Preprint
Additional Information: 27 pages. To appear in Michael Frauchiger (ed.), Themes from Putnam (Lauener Library of Analytical Philosophy, Volume 5, edited by W. K. Essler and M. Frauchiger) Berlin: De Gruyter.
Keywords: Hilary Putnam, quantum measurement problem, Nancy Cartwright
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Christian Wuthrich
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2014 17:34
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2014 17:34
Item ID: 10772
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Date: 2014

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