At the heart of quantum mechanics lies the wave function, a powerful but mysterious mathematical object which has been a hot topic of debate from its earliest stages. Covering much of the recent debate and providing a comprehensive and critical review of competing approaches, this ambitious text provides new, decisive proof of the reality of the wave function. Aiming to make sense of the wave function in quantum mechanics and to find the ontological content of the theory, this book explores new ontological interpretations of the wave function in terms of random discontinuous motion of particles. Finally, the book investigates whether the suggested quantum ontology is complete in solving the measurement problem and if it should be revised in the relativistic domain. A timely addition to the literature on the foundations of quantum mechanics, this book is of value to students and researchers with an interest in the philosophy of physics.
Shan Gao is Professor of Philosophy at the Research Center for Philosophy of Science and Technology, Shanxi University, and Visiting Professor at the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is the founder and managing editor of the International Journal of Quantum Foundations, and is the author of several books and the editor of the recent anthology Protective Measurement and Quantum Reality: Towards a New Understanding of Quantum Mechanics (Cambridge, 2015). His research focuses on the foundations of quantum mechanics and the history of modern physics.
Preface; 1. Quantum mechanics and experience; 2. The wave function: ontic vs epistemic; 3. The nomological view; 4. Reality of the wave function; 5. Origin of the Schroedinger equation; 6. The ontology of quantum mechanics (I); 7. The ontology of quantum mechanics (II); 8. Implications for solving the measurement problem; 9. Quantum ontology and relativity; Epilogue; References; Index.