Quantum Mechanics: An Empiricist View

By Bas C. Van Fraassen | Go to book overview

8 Critique of the Standard Interpretation

When von Neumann codified the mathematical foundations of quantum mechanics in 1935, he also gave it an interpretation. Undoubtedly, he took that interpretation to be implicit in scientific practice. If there is such a thing as the mainstream understanding of the theory during the fifty years that followed this work, it is von Neumann's. As I shall try to show, it involved two principles, one tacit and one explicit. The first is that all quantum-mechanical description can be given in terms of state-attributions; the second his famous Projection Postulate, the 'acausal' state transition in measurement. Our first task will be to enquire how the two principles are related to each other, and whether they are forced on us by the theory.


1 What Is an Interpretation?

The interpretation of quantum mechanics is a lively philosophical issue, and controversial. Stances on this issue included Einstein's realism, Bohr's and Heisenberg's versions of the Copenhagen interpretation, von Neumann's postulate of 'acausal' collapse of the wave function, and the 'ensemble' interpretation of states. These views did not constitute specific, rigorously developed interpretations, such as we now have (notably, those which emerged in the detailed foundational work of Mittelstaedt, and of Ludwig; the quantum-logical interpretation developed by Putnam, Bub, Demopoulis, Friedman, and Stairs; the 'operational' theory of theories due to Foulis and Randall; the 'perspectival' interpretation of Kochen; and the 'modal' interpretation which I shall elaborate below). To understand such answers, we need to understand the question. So we must first ask: what is an interpretation of a theory? And this question in turn must be preceded by: what is a theory?

-241-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Quantum Mechanics: An Empiricist View
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 541

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.