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Scientific Explanation and Scientific Structuralism

Authors
Publication Date
Keywords
  • Models And Idealization
  • Explanation
  • Philosophers Of Science
  • Quantum Mechanics
Disciplines
  • Philosophy
  • Physics

Abstract

In this paper we argue that quantum mechanics provides a genuine kind of structural explanations of quantum phenomena. Since structural explanations only rely on the formal properties of the theory, they have the advantage of being independent of interpretative questions. As such, they can be used to claim that, even in the current absence of one agreed-upon interpretation, quantum mechanics is capable of providing satisfactory explanations of physical phenomena. While our proposal clearly cannot be taken to solve all interpretive issues raised by quantum theory, we will argue that it can be successfully applied to some of its most puzzling phenomena, such Heisenberg's uncertainty relations and quantum non-locality. The discussion of these two case studies will also serve to illustrate the main properties of structural explanations and compare them to the DN and the unificationist models. Finally, we briefly discuss how structural explanations might relate to structural realism

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