Topics in Philosophy of Science
What is called “quantum theory” is not actually a physical theory, i.e. a specification of a clear physical ontology and dynamics. This conceptual failure manifests itself in many ways, perhaps the most prominent of which is called the “measurement problem” (but which Philip Pearle has accurately called a “reality problem”). We will investigate the structure of quantum mechanics as it is usually presented and then look at several distinct physical theories that can recover—or nearly recover—the predictions made by using the quantum formalism in the usual way. We will pay particular attention to general results about physical reality, particularly Bell’s Theorem and the PBR theorem.