Life in configuration space

Peter J. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


This paper investigates the tenability of wavefunction realism, according to which the quantum mechanical wavefunction is not just a convenient predictive tool, but is a real entity figuring in physical explanations of our measurement results. An apparent difficulty with this position is that the wavefunction exists in a many-dimensional configuration space, whereas the world appears to us to be three-dimensional. 1 consider the arguments that have been given for and against the tenability of wavefunction realism, and note that both the proponents and the opponents assume that quantum mechanical configuration space is many-dimensional in exactly the same sense in which classical space is three-dimensional. I argue that this assumption is mistaken, and that configuration space can be taken as three-dimensional in a relevant sense. I conclude that wavefunction realism is far less problematic than it has been taken to be.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)713-729
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Philosophy
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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