Bohmian Mechanics: A Panacea for What Ails Quantum Mechanics, or a Different and Problematic Theory?

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Arageorgis, Aristidis; Earman, John
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preprint description
The popular impression of Bohmian mechanics is that it is standard quantum mechanics with the addition of some extra gadgets---exact particle positions and a guiding equation for particle trajectories---the advantages being that the gadgets pave the way for a resolution of the measurement problem that eschews state vector reduction while restoring the determinism lost in standard quantum mechanics. In fact, the Bohmian mechanics departs in significant ways from standard quantum mechanics. By itself this is not a basis for criticism; indeed, it makes Bohmian mechanics all the more interesting. But Bohmian mechanics is not, as the popular impression would have it, empirically equivalent to standard quantum mechanics in terms of probabilistic predictions for the outcomes of measurements of quantum observables. Indeed, in physically important applications to systems for which standard quantum mechanics delivers empirically well-confirmed probabilistic predictions, the sophisticated form of Bohmian mechanics designed to prove the global existence of Bohmian particle trajectories fails to deliver unequivocal predictions---of even a probabilistic variety---for the future behavior of said systems. Possible responses to this lacuna are discussed.