Bohmian mechanics without wave function ontology

Publication Year:
2013
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Repository URL:
http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/9652
Author(s):
Solé, Albert
preprint description
In this paper I critically assess different three-dimensionalist interpretations of Bohmian mechanics in order to evaluate the prospects of interpreting Bohmian mechanics without committing to a wave function-based ontology. More specifically, my aim is to explore the connection between the debate concerning configuration space realism and another interpretive debate that is specific to Bohmian mechanics. Whereas defenders of the quantum potential approach to the theory claim that Bohmian mechanics is better formulated as quasi-Newtonian, via postulating forces proportional to acceleration, advocates of the guidance approach defend the notion that the theory is essentially first-order and incorporates causal concepts akin to those of Aristotelian physics. Here I analyze whether the desideratum of an interpretation of Bohmian mechanics that is both explanatorily adequate and not committed to the physical existence of the wave function or other entities in configuration space favors one approach to the theory over the other. Contrary to some recent claims in the literature, I argue that the quasi-Newtonian approach based on the idea of a quantum potential does not come at as the winner.