Reply To: God knows where all the particles are!

Dustin LazaroviciDustin Lazarovici

Dear Reinhard,

I really appreciate you sharing your point of view and I have thought (and will continue to think) about some of your arguments. If you don’t mind me saying: I believe that the discussion could have been even more productive, though, if you hadn’t been so polemic, at times. E.g. Bohmians don’t write papers or theses, they write “pamphlets”. I think that’s really unnecessary and disrespectful.

My comment regarding the philosophical prejudices was just to challenge your claim that BM has to rely on naive philosophical ideas, while your (operationalist?) view doesn’t.

In any case, what I take away as a criticism of BM is that it relies on a lot of “in principle” statements. Like: “In principle it’s possible to describe the measurement aparatus in a Bohmian way an receive the correct results.” I admit that the arguments we have to offer in support of these claims are a bit hand-waving. They rely on approximations and idealization.

The Bohmian believes that he’s hand-waving about the “right” part of the theory. QM tells us that the measurement aparatus has to play a crucial role in “bringing about” the measurement outcomes and a measurement aparatus just is an extremly complex system from a microscopic point of view. Moreover, we believe that deriving the entire quantum formalism under reasonable approximations and idealizations is good enough to validate/corroborate the microscopic theory. The situation is, again, similar to classical statistical mechanics where kinetic gas theory is corroborated/valiadted by the fact that you can derive the laws of thermodynamics under reasonable approximations and idealizations.

However, I understand and respect your position when you don’t see much value in such “in principle” statements and the “handy-waving” arguments we have to offer in support.

Nevertheless, concerning also your exchange with Detlef and Shelly, I believe that the reason why we don’t have more rigorous results to offer are mostly pragmatic. The Bohmian community is small, our time is limited and many-body problems are very very hard. Most of us just don’t see much value in spending too much time and effort to proof a result that we understand / accept anyway and that – to be honest – still wouldn’t convince you or any other critic.

Best, Dustin

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