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Interpreting Quantum Mechanics: The Subjective Object or the Objective Subject?

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Title: Interpreting Quantum Mechanics: The Subjective Object or the Objective Subject?
Author: Breckinridge, Robert
Advisor: Macbeth, Danielle; Gangadean, Ashok K.
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of Philosophy
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Issue Date: 2011
Abstract: No theory in physics has been more successful than Quantum Mechanics (QM), or more perplexing. The two most puzzling aspects of QM are that it predicts probabilities rather than determinate outcomes, and it seems to suggest entities that act like waves and particles, but never both simultaneously. Consequently, scientists have been unsure of what the laws of QM imply for our conception of reality. In section I, I demonstrate how the two primary interpretations of QM—the Copenhagen Interpretation and the Many Worlds Interpretation—align with the Cartesian modalities of subjectivity and objectivity. After section II, which outlines the measurement problem, I argue in section III that the Copenhagen Interpretation commits us to a subjective ontology, and in section IV, I argue that the Many Worlds Interpretation commits us to an objective ontology. In section V, I further contend that the Many Worlds Interpretation entails epiphenomenalism, while the Copenhagen Interpretation cannot avoid idealism. Finally, in the last two sections I conclude that our standard conceptions of these modalities must be re-conceived, as they are inadequate for interpreting Quantum Mechanics, and thus reality.
Subject: Quantum theory -- Philosophy
Subject: Subjectivity
Subject: Objectivity
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Breckinridge, Robert. "Interpreting Quantum Mechanics: The Subjective Object or the Objective Subject?". 2011. Available electronically from

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