Is quantum theory just a mathematical tool for correct predictions, according to Heisenberg's views?

What are his personal ontological commitments in relation to quantum theory (if he had any ontological commitments at all)?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Heisenberg, in his The Representation of Nature in Contemporary Physics, wrote "In the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, the objective reality has evaporated, and quantum mechanics does not represent particles, but rather, our knowledge, our observations, or our consciousness of particles." So no ontological commitments and a strong anti-realist view that the mathematics of QM was simply a tool for calculation - but I'm no expert. $\endgroup$
    – nwr
    Jul 16, 2022 at 20:03
  • $\begingroup$ No, it is a guide to new metaphysics that QM forces upon us. "Shut up and calculate" does not even describe Bohr's views, and Heisenberg invokes Aristotelian ontological conceptions of "matter" as "potentia", energy as "fundamental substance" and "form", and their interplay with classically grounded mind and even Hegelian Zeitgeist. His views are detailed in his book Physics and Philosophy, see also Pangle's commentary. $\endgroup$
    – Conifold
    Jul 17, 2022 at 4:48


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