Scientific Explanation in Quantum Theory

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Clifton, Rob
preprint description
In this paper (which is, at best, a work in progress), I discuss different modes of scientific explanation identified by philosophers (Hempel, Salmon, Kitcher, Friedman, Hughes) and examine how well or badly they capture the "explanations" of phenomena that modern quantum theory provides. I tentatively conclude that quantum explanation is best seen as "structural explanation", and spell out in detail how this works in the case of explaining vacuum correlations. Problems and prospects for structural explanation in quantum theory are also discussed.