Van Fraassen’s modal interpretation of non-relativistic quantum mechanics is articulated to support an anti-realist account of quantum theory. However, given the particular form of van Fraassen’s anti-realism (constructive empiri-cism), two problems arise when we try to make it compatible with the modal interpretation: one difficulty concerns the tension between the need for modal operators in the modal interpretation and van Fraassen’s skepticism regarding real modality in nature; another addresses the need for the truth predicate in the modal interpretation and van Fraassen’s rejection of truth as the aim of science. After examining these two problems, I suggest a formal framework in which they can be accommodated–using da Costa and French’s partial structures approach–and indicate a variant of van Fraassen’s modal interpretation that does not face these difficulties.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Mathematical Physics
- History and Philosophy of Science