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Realism and instrumentalism about the wave function. How should we choose?

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  • Laws Of Nature
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Realism/Anti-Realism
  • Philosophy
  • Physics


The main claim of the paper is that one can be ‘realist’ (in some sense) about quantum mechanics without requiring any form of realism about the wave function. We begin by discussing various forms of realism about the wave function, namely Albert’s configuration-space realism, Dürr Zanghi and Goldstein’s nomological realism about Ψ, Esfeld’s dispositional reading of Ψ, Pusey Barrett and Rudolph’s realism about the quantum state. By discussing the articulation of these four positions, and their interrelation, we conclude that instrumentalism about Ψ is by itself not sufficient to choose one over the other interpretations of quantum mechanics, thereby confirming in a different way the indetermination of the metaphysical interpretations of quantum mechanics.

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