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The sky is blue, and other reasons quantum mechanics is not underdetermined by evidence

Wallace, David (2022) The sky is blue, and other reasons quantum mechanics is not underdetermined by evidence. [Preprint]

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Abstract

I criticize the widely-defended view that the quantum measurement problem is an example of underdetermination of theory by evidence: more specifically, the view that the unmodified, unitary quantum formalism (interpreted following Everett) is empirically indistinguishable from Bohmian Mechanics and from dynamical-collapse theories like the GRW or CSL theories. I argue that there as yet no empirically successful generalization of either theory to interacting quantum field theory and so the apparent underdetermination is broken by a very large class of quantum experiments that require field theory somewhere in their description. The class of quantum experiments reproducible by either is much smaller than is commonly recognized and excludes many of the most iconic successes of quantum mechanics, including the quantitative account of Rayleigh scattering that explains the color of the sky. I respond to various arguments to the contrary in the recent literature.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Wallace, Daviddavid.wallace@pitt.edu
Keywords: quantum mechanics bohmian mechanics everett interpretation dynamical collapse measurement problem quantum field theory underdetermination
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Depositing User: Professor David Wallace
Date Deposited: 03 May 2022 04:31
Last Modified: 03 May 2022 04:31
Item ID: 20537
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Date: May 2022
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20537

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