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The Role of Reconstruction in the Elucidation of Quantum Theory

Goyal, Philip (2022) The Role of Reconstruction in the Elucidation of Quantum Theory. [Preprint]

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Abstract

The quantum reconstruction program seeks to uncover the deeper physical meaning of the quantum formalism by distilling its content into a set of physically-graspable postulates. Once reconstructed, one can further elucidate the theory by reflecting philosophically upon the postulates rather than the inscrutable formalism in which the theory is couched. Quantum reconstruction thereby opens up a two-step strategy for developing a quantum conceptual framework which reflects the full physical content of quantum theory and can be used to establish precisely what aspects of the classical conceptual framework are retained, modified, or abandoned.

The paper is organized as follows. Sec. II describes the tripartite structure of classical physics, whose coherency I argue underlies its intelligibility. Sec. III discusses the lack of intelligibility of quantum physics, analyses the limitations of the main traditional elucidative approaches, and describes how reconstruction can remove the key interpretative bottleneck. Sec. IV discusses the methodology of reconstruction per se, showing that it is part of the natural life-cycle of physical theories, and summarizes its use in the elucidation of the theories of classical physics. Finally, circling back to quantum theory, Sec. V summarizes the reconstruction of quantum theory, and Sec. VI describes some of the interpretative insights thus far obtained through interpretation of reconstructions of the abstract quantum formalism and the quantum symmetrization postulate.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Goyal, Philippgoyal@albany.edu
Additional Information: To be published in "Phenomenology and QBism: New Approaches to Quantum Mechanics", ed. Philipp Berghofer and Harald A. Wiltsche
Keywords: reconstruction of quantum theory interpretation of quantum theory
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Dr Philip Goyal
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2023 12:50
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2023 12:50
Item ID: 21989
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Date: 12 December 2022
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/21989

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