Foundations of Science

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 109-172

First online:

Formalism, Ontology and Methodology in Bohmian Mechanics

  • Darrin W. BelousekAffiliated withDepartment of Bible, Religion and Philosophy, Goshen College

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The relationship between mathematical formalism, physical interpretation and epistemological appraisal in the practice of physical theorizing is considered in the context of Bohmian mechanics. After laying outthe formal mathematical postulates of thetheory and recovering the historical roots ofthe present debate over the meaning of Bohmianmechanics from the early debate over themeaning of Schrödinger's wave mechanics,several contemporary interpretations of Bohmianmechanics in the literature are discussed andcritiqued with respect to the aim of causalexplanation and an alternative interpretationis proposed. Throughout, the over-arching aimis to exhibit the connections betweenmathematical, ontological and methodologicalquestions in physical theory and to reflect onthe rationality of physical theorizing in lightof the present case.

explanation interpretation ontology quantum mechanics theory appraisal