How quantum theory helps us explain

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Abstract

I offer an account of how the quantum theory we have helps us explain so much. The account depends on a pragmatist interpretation of the theory: this takes a quantum state to serve as a source of sound advice to physically situated agents on the content and appropriate degree of belief about matters concerning which they are currently inevitably ignorant. The general account of how to use quantum states and probabilities to explain otherwise puzzling regularities is then illustrated by showing how we can explain single-particle interference phenomena, the stability of matter, and interference of Bose-Einstein condensates. Finally,Inote some open problems and relate this account to alternative approaches to explanation that emphasize the importance of causation, of unification, and of structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-43
Number of pages43
JournalBritish Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Volume66
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • History

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