Does Orthodox Quantum Theory Undermine, or Support, Scientific Realism?
Maxwell (Nicholas)
Source: Philosophical Quarterly 43.171, April 1993, pp. 139-157
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    It is usually taken for granted that orthodox quantum theory1 poses a serious problem for scientific realism, in that the theory is empirically extraordinarily successful, and yet has instrumentalism built into it. This paper stands this view on its head. It is shown that orthodox quantum theory2 suffers from a number of severe (if not always noticed) defects precisely because of its inbuilt instrumentalism. This defective character of orthodox quantum theory3 thus undermines instrumentalism, and supports scientific realism. The paper goes on to consider whether there is here the basis for a general argument against instrumentalism.

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