Reply To: Why Bohmian theory?

Dustin Lazarovici

Dear All, If I may, I would like to add some general remarks. They might not do justice to all of your previous points and concerns, but maybe it doesn’t hurt to “dump things down” a bit (to borrow Travis’ phrase).

1) I believe that “realism” is a very unhelpful notion and that every scientific or meta-scientific discussion benefits from avoiding it altogether. That said, to the degree that “scientific realism” has a clear meaning, it is not presupposed by Bohmian mechanics. Both “realistic” and “anti-realistic” attitudes can be taken towards Bohmian mechanics, by either regarding the particles as ontological or as merely theoretical objects. However, BM can be taken seriously as a description of physical reality, in contrast to standard QM which can’t be taken seriously in this way, even if we wanted to.

2) What Mister Healey describes as “Einstein’s realist program” is not an invention of Einstein’s, but was the scientific tradition starting from the pre-socratics to Galilei to Newton to Maxwell to Boltzmann and so on. In the early days of quantum mechanics, people thought they had good reasons – even in form of mathematical proof – to abandon this “program”. These reasons – without exception! – turned out to be wrong.

3) If anything, Bohmian mechanics shows that if we abandon the idea of a precise, unambiguous, objective description of the physical realm, it’s not out of necessity, not as a consequence of the quantum phenomena, but by deliberate choice. Admittedly, when it comes to relativistic quantum theory i.e. quantum field theory, the Bohmian, or, let’s say, the “ontological” alternative is not completely worked out, yet. However, from what I know and understand so far, there’s no doubt in my mind that it can be done.

Hence, whatever reasons one may have to abandon Einstein’s program – which was simply the scientific program until not so long ago – they also lie “outside of physics”!

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