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Scientific Realism and Quantum Mechanics: Revisiting a Controversial Relation

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The article examines the controversial relation of scientific realism with quantum mechanics. To this end, two distinct discussions are invoked: the discussion about ‘realism’ in the context of quantum mechanics and the discussion about ‘scientific realism’ in the context of the general philosophy of science. The aim is to distinguish them in order, first, to argue that the former—revolving around ‘local realism’ and the theorems of Bell and Kochen–Specker—unjustifiably identifies realism with features of a particular worldview, and thereby fosters the impression that the failure of ‘local realism’ in quantum experiments constitutes a failure of scientific realism too; and, second, in light of the latter discussion, to claim that scientific realism and quantum mechanics can be compatible—there is ground for dealing with quantum measurement simply as a physical mind-independent interaction. Therefore, a realist approach to the theory is possible despite its notorious measurement problem, even if the issue of its interpretation is still disputed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of History and Philosophy of Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens,

Publication date: July 3, 2017

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