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Seattle Analytic Philosophy Club Message Board › Material for next meetup on Quantum mechanics

Material for next meetup on Quantum mechanics

Gene L
user 19640341
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 415
http://apache.xeny.ne...­

http://www.google.com...­

http://www.google.com...­

The next meetup will be on the philosophical implications of quantum mechanics. Jon Cohen will be running this meetup. For those of you who want some basic nontechnical background, I've posted 3 articles above. The first two articles are suitable for anyone, the last article is more mathematical.
Gene L
user 19640341
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 416
Some nontechnical philosophically oriented material on the Copenhagen and many worlds interpretations.

http://plato.stanford...­

http://plato.stanford...­
Gene L
user 19640341
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 417
http://www.google.com...­

Basic article on the metaphysical implications of quantum mechanics
Gene L
user 19640341
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 418
http://rationallyspea...­

The "background 2" part of the article above has a very simple explanation of what philosophers means when then talk about SCIENTIFIC "realism" and "antirealism". This should be distinguished from the way "realism" is often used in physics for example in the term "local realism" which refers to having a pre-existing value for any possible measurement, before the measurement is made (this is called "counterfactual definiteness").

From a Stanford Encylopedia article, Einstein (Locke) vs Bohr (Kant) in philosophical terms:

"Einstein's position has roots in empiricist, and specifically Lockean notions of perception, which oppose the Kantian metaphor of the “veil of perception” that pictures the apparatus of observation as like a pair of spectacles through which a highly mediated sight of the world can be glimpsed. To be specific, according to Kant, rather than simply reflecting an independently existing reality, “appearances” are constituted through the act of perception in a way that conforms them to the fundamental categories of sensible intuition. As Kant makes the point in the Transcendental Aesthetic: “Not only are the drops of rain mere appearances, but...even their round shape, and even the space in which they fall, are nothing in themselves, but merely modifications of fundamental forms of our sensible intuition, and...the transcendental object remains unknown to us” (Kant 1973, 85).

By contrast, the realism that I am associating with Einstein takes the point of view that, insofar as they are real, when we observe objects under ideal conditions we are seeing things “in themselves”, that is, as they exist independently of being perceived. In other words, not only do the objects exist independently of our observations but also, in observing them, what we see reflects how they really are. In William Blake's succinct formulation, “As the eye [sees], such the object [is]” (Crary 1995, 70). According to this realist point of view, ideal observations not only reflect the way things are during but also immediately before and after observation.[4]

Such realism was opposed by both Bohr and Heisenberg.[5] Bohr took a position that, by taking acts of observation and measurement more generally as constitutive of phenomena, aligned him more closely with a Kantian point of view. To be specific, Bohr took it that “measurement has an essential [by which I take him to mean constitutive] influence on the conditions on which the very definition of the physical quantities in question rests” (Bohr 1935, 1025).

As Henry Folse points out, however, it is misleading to take the parallel between Bohr and Kant too far (Folse 1985, 49 and 217-221). For example, Bohr disagreed with the Kantian position that “space and time as well as cause and effect had to be taken as a priori categories for the comprehension of all knowledge” (Folse 1985, 218), a disagreement that reflected a deeper division between Bohr and Kant. To be specific, whereas for Kant “concepts played their role prior to experience and give form to what is experienced” (Folse, 220), for Bohr it was the other way around: objective reality, in particular conditions of observation, determine the applicability of concepts. Thus, although for Bohr no less than for Kant, observation took on a role in determining the forms that structure the world of visible objects, the two men conceived the way in which that role is discharged quite differently. For Kant subjective experience was structured in terms of certain prior forms, whereas Bohr argued for a hidden relationalism in the domain of appearances, and in particular contended that the properties in terms of which a system is described are relative to the conditions of measurement."
Gene L
user 19640341
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 419
http://www.nature.com...­

http://blogs.discover...­

Recent debate about the reality of the wave function making headlines
George
user 74564852
Raleigh, NC
Post #: 6
"It is thought matter consists of electrons and protons, which are of finite size and of which there are only a finite number in the world. Probably their changes are not continuous, as used to be thought, but proceed by jerks, which are never smaller than a certain minimum jerk.
...
Physical science is thus approching the stage when it will be complete, and therefore uninteresting. Given the laws governing the motions of electrons and protons, the rest is merely geography--a collection of particular facts telling their distribution throughout some portion of the world's history."

Russell, Bertrand. What I Believe. 1925
Gene L
user 19640341
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 422
http://en.wikipedia.o...­

http://ls.poly.edu/~j...­

Some tables showing the committments, and potential problems, of the various QM interpretations

A good verbal description of the various interpretations and their problems (first post by RAugust)

http://forums.philoso...­
Gene L
user 19640341
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 431
http://mattleifer.inf...­

Links to lectures and other material on quantum foundations.
Gene L
user 19640341
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 432
http://www.google.com...­

http://arxiv.org/pdf/...­

Two nontechnical papers arguing pro and con about recent "epistemic" views of quantum mechanics (e.g., quantum information, quantum Bayesianism), which purport to solve the measurement problem and nonlocality simply by denying that QM is about physical reality at all (it is just about updating our information/knowledge), and which also suggest that an "interpretation" is not necessary.
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