Reply To: Why Bohmian theory?

Richard Healey

I started to compose a short reply to your last post, Travis, but decided that your pointed questions required a more extended response. So instead I’ve attached a piece I wrote a few years ago on what quantum theory teaches us about the concept of physical reality.

In brief, like Einstein I think of the “real” in physics as a a type of program to which we are, however, not forced to cling a priori.
I approach quantum theory not as an instrumentalist or operationalist, but as a pragmatist. For a pragmatist, quantum theory contributes to the goals of physics (prediction and explanation of natural phenomena) by following a different type of program.

Like you, I would be happy if physics some day were able to return to Einstein’s realist program in physics. But science doesn’t have to make one happy! Unlike you, I don’t see any sign that pursuing a Bohmian research program will help do this: as Einstein said, that way is too cheap. Meanwhile, I am astonished by the human creativity involved in coming up with a different program for doing excellent physics the quantum way—a way that is neither instrumentalist nor operationalist but pragmatist.

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