realism in quantum theory
empirical versus metaphysical realism
Salmon's account of causal explanation
d'Espagnat's empirical realism
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Nature of Science, Research, Systems of Higher Education, Museum Science
Abstract On Two Types of Realism in Quantum Theory. Current realist approaches to the foundations of quantum theory emphasize the dichotomy between (Copenhagen) positivism and ‘beable’-realism. Recently it was even attempted to turn this picture into two (equally possible) histories in order to legitimate Bohmian Mechanics as a viable alternative. This paper argues that this dichotomy is philosophically inadequate and historically questionable by embedding it into the philosophical discussion on positivism and realism that has taken place since the 1920s. Logical Empiricists back then advocated empirical realism and contrasted it to absolutistic metaphysical realism. From this viewpoint David Bohm's ‘beable’-realism combines elements of Mach's sensualism with a pre-Kantian metaphysics. As Wesley Salmon's position shows, empirical realism can become quite pronounced without relapsing into Bohmian philosophy. Instead it arrives close to the GRWP-interpretation. Hence, when Bernard d'Espagnat binds both together as ‘ontological interpretations’, he blurs the borderline between empirical and metaphysical realism that his Veiled Reality has set out to draw, quite in concordance with Logical Empiricism.
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