Article

Journal for General Philosophy of Science

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 45-65

Realism and Objectivism in Quantum Mechanics

  • Vassilios KarakostasAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy and History of Science, University of Athens Email author 

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Abstract

The present study attempts to provide a consistent and coherent account of what the world could be like, given the conceptual framework and results of contemporary quantum theory. It is suggested that standard quantum mechanics can, and indeed should, be understood as a realist theory within its domain of application. It is pointed out, however, that a viable realist interpretation of quantum theory requires the abandonment or radical revision of the classical conception of physical reality and its traditional philosophical presuppositions. It is argued, in this direction, that the conceptualization of the nature of reality, as arising out of our most basic physical theory, calls for a kind of contextual realism. Within the domain of quantum mechanics, knowledge of ‘reality in itself’, ‘the real such as it truly is’ independent of the way it is contextualized, is impossible in principle. In this connection, the meaning of objectivity in quantum mechanics is analyzed, whilst the important question concerning the nature of quantum objects is explored.

Keywords

Classical physical ontology Quantum entanglement Nonseparability Contextuality Quantum object Objectivity Realism