On relational quantum mechanics

Oscar Acosta, University of Texas at El Paso


A problem facing quantum mechanics is that there are a number of views or interpretations available that purport to 'explain' quantum mechanics. In this paper I discuss and analyze the view of relational quantum mechanics by Carlo Rovelli in the context of theoretical underdetermination. I will show that even though Rovelli offers a view that consolidates some of the aspects of competing theories it still falls short of breaking out of the theoretical underdetermination. The criteria that I have used to consider a theory successful in this context is one that increases the predictive output of quantum theory. Lacking an increase of predictive output then we can consider how a view helps solve the paradoxes in quantum mechanics or makes the paradoxes meaningless. I will conclude that relational quantum mechanics does not attempt to increase the predictive output and has limited success in resolving the EPR paradox. What Rovelli's view of quantum mechanics offers is a non-trivial and interesting reinterpretation of the main issues of quantum mechanics that does leave the door open for further study.

Subject Area

Philosophy of Science|Philosophy|Quantum physics

Recommended Citation

Acosta, Oscar, "On relational quantum mechanics" (2010). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1477760.