Monday, July 1, 2024

David Z. Albert Plugs Bohmian Mechanics

New podcast, with a physicist interviewing a philosopher of physics:
Could physics serve as our best guide to metaphysics? What fundamental metaphysics is best motivated by quantum mechanics? And what’s the deal with the age-old feud between philosophers and physicists?

Here to shed light on all these questions and more is none other than David Z. Albert, professor of philosophy and director of the MA program in The Philosophical Foundations of Physics at Columbia University in New York. David is a prominent American philosopher and physicist widely recognized for his contributions to the philosophy of quantum mechanics and the foundations of physics. He has published four popular books and numerous articles on quantum mechanics.

I have some disagreements, but I was especially struck by this comment at the end:
1:19:40 last question, this one comes from my friend Professor Luke Barnes at Western Sydney. Luke. Yeah, he's a great friend of the show. 1:19:47 He's been on multiple times. he has he makes a controversial claim, as if bohmian mechanics have been proposed. First. 1:19:54 No one would have proposed the Copenhagen interpretation. Right. Your thoughts, sir? I think that's absolutely right. 1:19:59 I think, you know, somebody, somebody had discovered about me in mechanics. 1:20:06 And you imagine before then walking into a room and saying, no, I've got a whole new view. 1:20:12 Okay. it's much more elegant. It respects the symmetry between position 1:20:18 space and momentum space, blah, blah, blah. The only little catch is that you have to give up on the idea 1:20:25 that there's a real external world out there. Okay, I think you would have been laughed out of the room, right?
No, this is bizarre. Albert has written a lot about the philosophy of quantum mechanics, but this comment is so foolish that we should disregard everyone he says on the subject.

Bohmian mechanics is weirdly deterministic and nonlocal. While it has its own cult following, it is nearly useless for practical physics. It was invented to make a theoretical point about hidden variables, but not because it is a satisfactor interpretation.

Earlier, Albert said that quantum logics were too confusing, because he doesn't how to reason about it if regular logic is abandoned. I feel similarly about locality. Give it up, and I am not sure what you mean by experiments anymore, because you cannot isolate any physical processes.

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