Popper and Bohr on Realism in Quantum Mechanics

Don Howard


Popper's program in the foundations of quantum mechanics defending objectivity and realism developed out of a profound dissatisfaction with the point of view associated with Bohr, which is usually designated the Copenhagen interpretation. Here I will argue that while Popper's aim is a noble one, his program does not succeed on two counts: he does not succeed in showing that Bohr's philosophy must be rejected as a variety of subjectivism, and his alternative interpretation of indeterminacy rests on a highly questionable assumption according to which simultaneously precise conjugate parameters are possible. Nevertheless I like Popper's propensity interpretation of probability and think that the propensity idea deserves further research.

Quanta 2012; 1: 33–57.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.12743/quanta.v1i1.9

ISSN: 1314-7374