Is the Copenhagen Interpretation Compatible with Philosophical Realism?


  • Leshang Pang Auckland International College
  • Dylan Bianchi Mentor, Auckland International College, Auckland, New Zealand



Quantum mechanics, Copenhagen Interpretation, Philosophical Realism, Scientific antirealism, Instrumentalism


How are quantum mechanics and realism related? This paper will discuss whether or not the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics and the doctrine of philosophical realism are compatible. To answer this question, this paper will first introduce quantum mechanics and the Copenhagen Interpretation in terms of the particle in the box experiment. Then, philosophical realism will be introduced and defined.  Finally, the relationship between the Copenhagen Interpretation and philosophical realism will be evaluated. Several points of the Copenhagen Interpretation appear to contradict philosophical realism; thus, it can be concluded that the Copenhagen Interpretation is not compatible with philosophical realism.


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References or Bibliography

Faye, J. Niels Bohr: His heritage and legacy: An anti-realist view of quantum mechanics. Science and philosophy: 6, Dordrecht, Boston, Kluwer Academic, 1991.

Heisenberg, W. The physical principles of the quantum theory. New York, Dover Publications, 1949.

Greene, B. The hidden reality: Parallel universes and the deep laws of the cosmos. New York, Vintage Books, 2013

Cramer, JG. The transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics. Reviews of Modern Physics, 58, 647-687, 1986.

Sider, T. Writing the Book of the World. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2011.

Putnam, H. Mathematics, matter, and method. London, New York, Cambridge University Press, 1975.

Van Fraassen, B. Arguments concerning scientific realism. In Martin Curd & Jan Cover (eds.), Philosophy of Science: The Central Issues. Norton, 1998.



How to Cite

Pang, L., & Bianchi, D. (2021). Is the Copenhagen Interpretation Compatible with Philosophical Realism? . Journal of Student Research, 10(3).



HS Research Articles