Download Experimental Metaphysics Quantum Mechanical Studies for by Robert S. Cohen, M. Horne, J.J. Stachel PDF

By Robert S. Cohen, M. Horne, J.J. Stachel

Experimental Metaphysics is meant for theoretical physicists and philosophers of technological know-how and is dedicated to primary concerns within the quantum area. The publication offers a few discussions of experiments, theoretical puzzles and substitute interpretations, and philosophical remedies of the metaphysical foundations of technological know-how and how those throw a systematic mild on metaphysics. accordingly the identify: `experimental metaphysics' is a time period coined via Abner Shimony, to whom the ebook is devoted.
This number of sixteen clinical and philosophical essays by way of prime physicists, philosophers and historians of technology bargains with present examine and the main easy matters in quantum physics.

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Extra resources for Experimental Metaphysics Quantum Mechanical Studies for Abner Shimony

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This is a particular instance of a larger issue. I claim that asking what might have happened at certain critical junctures of theory construction and selection, and why it did not, is more than just idle speculation. One can, I believe, argue quite convincingly that quantum mechanics provides an illustration of just such contingency in science. 26 This raises serious epistemological and general philosophical issues about the even effective uniqueness of our most successful scientific theories and about the reliability of the knowledge science gives us concerning the structure of our world at the most fundamental level.

PROBABILITY According to the quantum formalism, the probability density for finding a system whose wave function is ,fr at the configuration q is 11/r(q)l 2 . To the extent that the results of measurement are registered configurationally, at least potentially, it follows that the predictions of Bohmian mechanics for the results of measurement must agree with those of orthodox quantum theory (assuming the same Schrodinger equation for both) provided that it is somehow true for Bohrnian mechanics that configurations are random, with distribution given by the quantum equilibrium distribution 11/rl 2• Now the status and justification of this quantum equilibrium hypothesis is a rather delicate matter, one that we have explored in considerable detail elsewhere [7].

It seems clear now to any student of the subject that quantum mechanics is fundamentally about atoms and electrons, quarks and strings, and not primarily about those particular macroscopic regularities associated with what we call measurements. It is, however, generally agreed that any quantum mechanical system - whether of atoms or electrons or quarks or strings - is completely described by its wave function, so that it is also widely accepted that quantum mechanics is fundamentally about the behavior of wave functions.

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