Back to Media



A Particle Ontological Interpretation of the Wave Function

Shan Gao Related
Physics 26/10/2017

The ontological meaning of the wave function is an important problem in the metaphysics of quantum mechanics. The conventional view is wave function realism, according to which the wave function represents a real physical field in a fundamental high-dimensional space. In this talk, I will introduce a new particle ontological interpretation of the wave function, which has been recently proposed in my book “The Meaning of the Wave Function: In Search of the Ontology of Quantum Mechanics” (CUP, 2017). According to this interpretation, a quantum system is a system of particles that undergo random discontinuous motion in our three-dimensional space, and the wave function of the system represents the instantaneous property of these particles that determines their random discontinuous motion. In particular, the modulus squared of the wave function represents the propensity property of the particles that determines the probability density that they appear in every possible group of positions in space. Moreover, I will argue that the difference between particle ontology and field ontology may result in different empirical predictions under certain reasonable assumption, and it is the former, not the latter, that is consistent with the predictions of quantum mechanics.