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Realism and Intertheory Relationships: Interstructuralism, Closed Theories and the Quantum-Classical Limit

Sznajderhaus, Nahuel (2016) Realism and Intertheory Relationships: Interstructuralism, Closed Theories and the Quantum-Classical Limit. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

Today there is no agreement on which, if any, of the several known realist interpretations of quantum mechanics is the correct one, and disagreement on this matter is not merely verbal, but substantial. However, I will show that the interpretations share a common aim: to recover the classical world given that it is quantum. This aim responds to implicit and well-entrenched philosophical intuitions that can be phrased in terms of intertheory relations, traditionally involving theory reduction, in philosophy, and the quantum-classical limit, in the foundations of physics. However, not one of those notions is free from controversies, and many contest that there is a smooth transition from the quantum to the classical. Hence, the account of the relationship between quantum mechanics and classical mechanics is an unresolved problem, and the philosophical character of the underlying framework can be contested. This thesis will offer a critical analysis of current well-known realist interpretations and will also put forward an alternative framework. I will critically examine traditional views on intertheory relations and the recent view of interstructuralism. My main claim will be that the role of intertheory relations is overrated, because a more basic question has to be answered first: 'what is a quantum system?'. That will motivate my novel view. I will critically evaluate and defend an alternative view based on the philosophy of Werner Heisenberg. The view proposes that physical theories should be regarded as "closed" systems. This has immediate implications for how we should understand intertheory relations in general, as well as scientific realism in particular. My view will appear radical in comparison to traditional views of quantum mechanics. Yet, I will examine fruitful comparison with forms of realism such as perspectivism and metaphysical pluralism. I shall conclude with indications for future work.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: realism, intertheory relations, quantum mechanics, Werner Heisenberg, semiclassical mechanics, quantum-classical limit
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Philosophy, Religion and the History of Science
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.705978
Depositing User: Dr Nahuel Sznajderhaus
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2017 12:45
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2018 13:21
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/16149

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