Journal Article

Life in Configuration Space

Peter J. Lewis

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 55, issue 4, pages 713-729
Published in print December 2004 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online December 2004 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/55.4.713
Life in Configuration Space

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This paper investigates the tenability of wavefunction realism, according to which the quantum mechanical wavefunction is not just a convenient predictive tool, but is a real entity figuring in physical explanations of our measurement results. An apparent difficulty with this position is that the wavefunction exists in a many-dimensional configuration space, whereas the world appears to us to be three-dimensional. I consider the arguments that have been given for and against the tenability of wavefunction realism, and note that both the proponents and the opponents assume that quantum mechanical configuration space is many-dimensional in exactly the same sense in which classical space is three-dimensional. I argue that this assumption is mistaken, and that configuration space can be taken as three-dimensional in a relevant sense. I conclude that wavefunction realism is far less problematic than it has been taken to be.

Introduction

Non-separability

The instantaneous solution

The dynamical solution

Invariance

What is configuration space, anyway?

Conclusion

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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