Henry Stapp (a physicist at Berkeley) in his book The Mindful Universe states: "Let there be no doubt about this point. The original form of quantum theory is subjective, in the sense that it is forthrightly about relationships among conscious human experiences, and it expressly recommends to scientists that they resist the temptation to try to understand the reality responsible for the correlations between our experiences that the theory correctly describes. The following brief collection of quotations by the founders gives a conspectus of the Copenhagen philosophy: Heisenberg (1958a, p. 100): The conception of objective reality of the elementary particles has thus evaporated not into the cloud of some obscure new reality concept but into the transparent clarity of a mathematics that represents no longer the behavior of particles but rather our knowledge of this behavior" As philosophers, what is your take on these statements? It appears to me that these quite distinguished physicists are saying that physics is no longer of an ontological nature, but it has been found to be, irremediably, of an epistemological nature? Thanks

It's certainly true that Bohr and Heisenberg, among others, interpreted quantum theory in a way that put the knowing subject center stage, but this is just one part of a controversy that continues to this day. Einstein and Schrödinger, for rather different reasons, resisted these more epistemic interpretations, and while some would say that Einstein lost in the wake of the investigations of Bell's inequality, Bell himself was very attracted to realist interpretations of quantum theory. "Collapse" interpretations, such as the so-called GRW theory, are not epistemological interpretations, nor is Bohmian mechanics (a development of de Broglie's pilot wave idea), nor, for that matter, is the Everett interpretation (roughly, the "many-worlds" interpretation.)

So the simplest thing to say is that there partisans on both sides and the controversy is ongoing. If you'd like to read more, you could do worse than to get a copy of Alistair Rae's Quantum Physics: Illusion or Reality? or John Polkinghorne's Quantum Mechanics: A Very Short Introduction. Both of these books, written by physicists, cover the physical ideas and the interpretive approaches in a reasonably accessible way.

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