What is the best interpretive program for making sense of quantum mechanics? Here is the way I would put it now. The question is completely backward. It acts as if there is this thing called quantum mechanics, displayed and available for everyone to see as they walk by it—kind of like a lump of something on a sidewalk. The job of interpretation is to find the right spray to cover up any offending smells. The usual game of interpretation is that an interpretation is always something you add to the pre-existing, universally recognized quantum theory.

What has been lost sight of is that physics [theory] is a dynamic interplay between storytelling and equation writing. Neither one stands alone, not even at the end of the day. But which has the more fatherly role? If you ask me, it’s the storytelling…. An interpretation is powerful if it gives guidance, and I would say the very best interpretation is the one whose story is so powerful it gives rise to the mathematical formalism itself (the part where nonthinking can take over)….

Take the nearly empty imagery of the many-worlds interpretation(s). Who could derive the specific structure of complex Hilbert space out of it if one didn’t already know the formalism? Most present-day philosophers of science just don’t seem to get this: If an interpretation is going to be part of physics, instead of a self-indulgent ritual to the local god, it had better have some cash value for physical practice itself.

Interview with a Quantum Bayesian, Christopher A. Fuchs  via University of David

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s