Foundations of Physics

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 121–137 | Cite as

Contexts, Systems and Modalities: A New Ontology for Quantum Mechanics

  • Alexia Auffèves
  • Philippe Grangier


In this article we present a possible way to make usual quantum mechanics fully compatible with physical realism, defined as the statement that the goal of physics is to study entities of the natural world, existing independently from any particular observer’s perception, and obeying universal and intelligible rules. Rather than elaborating on the quantum formalism itself, we propose a new quantum ontology, where physical properties are attributed jointly to the system, and to the context in which it is embedded. In combination with a quantization principle, this non-classical definition of physical reality sheds new light on counter-intuitive features of quantum mechanics such as the origin of probabilities, non-locality, and the quantum-classical boundary.


Quantum ontology Non-locality Probabilities in quantum mechanics Quantization Born’s rule Contextual objectivity  



The authors thank Nayla Farouki for essential contributions, especially in the Appendix, and Francois Dubois, Franck Laloë, Maxime Richard, Augustin Baas, Cyril Branciard for many useful discussions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut NéelGrenoble Cedex 9France
  2. 2.Institut d’OptiquePalaiseauFrance

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