Article ID: CBB001201240

Pragmatism, Bohr, and the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics (2013)


In this article, we argue that although Bohr's version of the Copenhagen interpretation is in line with several key elements of logical positivism, pragmatism is the closest approximation to a classification of the Copenhagen interpretation, whether or not pragmatists directly influenced the key figures of the interpretation. Pragmatism already encompasses important elements of operationalism and logical positivism, especially the liberalized Carnapian reading of logical positivism. We suggest that some elements of the Copenhagen interpretation, which are in line with logical positivism, are also supported by pragmatism. Some of these elements are empirical realism, fallibilism, holism, and instrumentalism. However, pragmatism goes beyond logical positivism in espousing some other key elements of the Copenhagen interpretation, though imperfectly, such as the correspondence principle, complementarity, and indeterminism.

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Authors & Contributors
Camilleri, Kristian
Duncan, Anthony
Janssen, Michel
Beller, Mara
Hilgevoord, Jan
Bokulich, Alisa
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Philosophy of Science
Archive for History of Exact Sciences
Perspectives on Science
Science and Education
Physics in Perspective
Cambridge University Press
Oxford University Press
Drew University
San Diego State University
Peter Lang
Quantum mechanics
Philosophy of science
Theoretical physics
Heisenberg, Werner
Bohr, Niels Henrik David
Schrödinger, Erwin
Born, Max
Dirac, Paul Adrien Maurice
Einstein, Albert
Time Periods
20th century, early
20th century
19th century
Great Britain

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