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A Philosopher's Understanding of Quantum Mechanics
Possibilities and Impossibilities of a Modal Interpretation


  • Date Published: July 2005
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521675673

£ 51.00

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About the Authors
  • This book is about how to understand quantum mechanics by means of a modal interpretation. Modal interpretations provide a general framework within which quantum mechanics can be considered as a theory that describes reality in terms of physical systems possessing definite properties. Quantum mechanics is standardly understood to be a theory about probabilities with which measurements have outcomes. Modal interpretations are relatively new attempts to present quantum mechanics as a theory which, like other physical theories, describes an observer-independent reality. In this book, Pieter Vermaas summarises the results of this work. The book will be of great value to undergraduates, graduate students and researchers in philosophy of science, and physics departments with an interest in learning about modal interpretations of quantum mechanics.

    • The most complete survey to date of the modal interpretation of quantum mechanics
    • Impartial survey; does not attempt to push a certain case
    • Organised so that it can be read either from beginning to end or used as a reference book
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… the strengths of this book are its clear, detailed exposition of the quantum formalism, and the way in which issues of interpretation are related back to this formalism … the book is very mathematical.' Rachel Wallace Garden, Zentralblatt für Mathematik

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2005
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521675673
    • length: 308 pages
    • dimensions: 244 x 170 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.49kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Quantum mechanics
    3. Modal interpretations
    Part I. Formalism:
    4. The different versions
    5. The full property ascription
    6. Joint property ascriptions
    7. Discontinuities, instabilities and other bad behaviour
    8. Transition probabilities
    9. Dynamical autonomy and locality
    Part II. Physics:
    10. The measurement problem
    11. The Born rule
    Part III. Philosophy:
    12. Properties, states, measurement outcomes and effective states
    13. Holism versus reductionism
    14. Possibilities and impossibilities
    15. Conclusions.

  • Author

    Pieter E. Vermaas, Technische Universiteit Delft, The Netherlands

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