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Knowledge of the Quantum Domain: An Overlap Strategy

Fraser, James D. and Vickers, Peter (2022) Knowledge of the Quantum Domain: An Overlap Strategy. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. ISSN 1464-3537

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Abstract

The existence of multiple interpretations of quantum mechanics appears to pose a serious challenge for knowledge claims about the quantum domain. Hoefer (2020) argues that a scientific realist epistemology must be abandoned in this context, while Callender (2020) argues that the realist’s only option is to break the underdetermination between rival interpretations by appealing to extra-empirical virtues. We develop a different response to the quantum underdetermination problem based on identifying statements about the unobservable which all the major ontic interpretations of quantum mechanics agree on. It is commonly believed that Everettian, Bohmian and GRW quantum mechanics share nothing but empirical content. We argue that, while they say very different things about the fundamental nature of quantum systems, they can be understood as agreeing on a plethora of more abstract theoretical claims. In our view, focusing on this descriptive overlap represents the most promising strategy for defending knowledge claims in the quantum domain. We close by considering how this overlap strategy relates to working posits formulations of scientific realism.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Fraser, James D.
Vickers, Peter
Keywords: Quantum Mechanics, Scientific Realism, Underdetermination
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Depositing User: Mr James Fraser
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2023 14:59
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2023 14:59
Item ID: 21695
Journal or Publication Title: The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1086/721635
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Date: 2022
ISSN: 1464-3537
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/21695

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