The wiki article on interpretation of quantum mechanics discusses 16 different interpretations. It is a subject that probably will continue to come up among users. And I personally think that the question itself is legitimate.

However it is linked to so many vague and confusing opinions that the question often raises irritation, also it may become boring, because everything has already been said many times.

Is it perhaps an idea to create one community wiki question for this subject - and refer other questions to it? E.g. What interpretation of quantum mechanics - or aspect of it - do you (dis)like the most and why? Please give arguments but keep your statement and arguments short.


1 Answer 1


Interpretation of quantum mechanics is not necessarily philosophical in nature. There are great many physical and mathematical questions about interpretations (obvious ones are: which interpretations are physical and which are mathematically consistent).

But it's true many more are just layman, crackpot and philosophical questions that have nothing to do with science. So I think one should decide on a case-by-case basis. Here is my (quite non-exhaustive) list of good and bad questions.

Good questions:

  1. In what interpretation is measurement really explained (as opposed to not cared about as in shut up and calculate! approach)?
  2. How is measurement realized in the Consistent Histories framework?
  3. What are the physical implications of EPR paradox?
  4. What is the resolution of Schroedinger's cat paradox in Many-Worlds interpretation?
  5. Where is the border between classical and quantum description and how does decoherence address this question?

Bad questions (I can't really think of many but I am sure there are lots of them out there):

  1. Which interpretation makes QM easy to understand?
  2. Why is QM so hard?
  3. Why is nature not deterministic?
  • $\begingroup$ The interpretation of QM, if understood probably, is really a philosophical subject. Not to say it doesn't belong on a physics site. I'm not sure, really. $\endgroup$
    – Noldorin
    Dec 2, 2010 at 21:38
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Noldorin: interpretation of QM has also a well-defined meaning of a mathematical (and conceptual) framework one works with when dealing with QM. Some questions that can appear philosophical at first (like what is measurement?) are actually very deep and physical and do have a well-defined answer (that can actually be calculated). $\endgroup$
    – Marek
    Dec 2, 2010 at 23:58
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    $\begingroup$ None the lest, I think much of what is interesting about interpretation is philosophical. I'm a bit of a humanist, and I understand many scientists are not very keen on philosophy, and dismiss it quite quickly. However, that is a subjective matter. $\endgroup$
    – Noldorin
    Dec 3, 2010 at 1:40

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