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The Rhetoric of Antirealism and the Copenhagen Spirit

Mara Beller
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 63, No. 2 (Jun., 1996), pp. 183-204
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/188469
Page Count: 22
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The Rhetoric of Antirealism and the Copenhagen Spirit
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Abstract

This paper argues against the possibility of presenting a consistent version of the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Physics, characterizing its founders' philosophical pronouncements including those on the realism-antirealism issue, as a contingent collection of local, often contradictory, moves in changing theoretical and sociopolitical circumstances. The paper analyzes the fundamental differences of opinion between Bohr and the mathematical physicists, Heisenberg and Born, concerning the foundational doctrine of the "indispensability of classical concepts", and their related disagreements on "quantum reality." The paper concludes with an explanation of how the appearance of consensus was achieved despite fundamental disagreements among the proponents. The paper undermines the adequacy of the notion of a general conceptual framework to describe the philosophical endeavors of working scientists.

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