Philosophy Magazine

Call for Papers: Perspectivism and Quantum Mechanics

By Wuthrich

Perspectivism and Quantum Mechanics

Topical Collection in Foundations of Physics

Guest Editors: Philipp Berghofer (University of Graz) & Mahdi Khalili (University of Graz)

Topical Collection Summary:

In recent years, perspectivism has emerged as a leading contender in the scientific realism debate. Highlighting that human access to reality is always bounded by instrumental, theoretical, and historical perspectives, perspectivists argue that scientific knowledge is necessarily qualified (as exemplified in the works of Ronald Giere, Michela Massimi, Paul Teller, and Bas van Fraassen). Broadly speaking, perspectivism aims at rethinking the nature and scope of scientific theories and models, arguing that reality cannot be viewed from nowhere or from no perspective whatsoever. This view coheres well with certain approaches to quantum mechanics according to which science, at a fundamental level, is not supposed to describe reality as it is in itself but reality as experienced by a subject. It is well-known that several of the founding figures of quantum mechanics championed this idea. In recent years, interpretations that in one way or another contest the idea that physics delivers a purely objective picture of the world include QBism, Carlo Rovelli’s relational quantum mechanics (RQM), Dennis Dieks’ perspectivalism, Richard Healey’s pragmatist approach, and Steven French’s phenomenological approach.

The idea underlying this topical collection is that quantum mechanics (if interpreted accordingly) supports perspectivist approaches to science and that perspectivist approaches to the scientific realism debate can serve as a suitable philosophical-conceptual framework for certain interpretations of quantum mechanics.

Accordingly, topics and questions to be addressed include but are not limited to:

1. The implications of quantum mechanics for perspectivism

How do certain features, phenomena, and interpretations of quantum mechanics support perspectivist approaches to the scientific realism debate? Can engaging with quantum mechanics lead to more precise or stronger versions of perspectivism? Does the history of quantum mechanics tell us lessons that are helpful for perspectivist ideas? For instance, do often-overlooked phenomenological motifs in the works of Fritz London, Hermann Weyl, and John Archibald Wheeler, among others, support perspectivist claims?

2. The implications of perspectivism for interpretations of quantum mechanics

Can perspectivist approaches to philosophy of science help in clarifying the philosophical implications of certain interpretations of quantum mechanics? Do they constitute a suitable philosophical-conceptual framework for certain interpretations of quantum mechanics? For instance, is it fruitful to view QBism or RQM as a form of perspectival realism?

More details and the link to the submission platform can be found here:

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