Is the Quantum World Composed of Propensitons?

  • Nicholas MaxwellEmail author
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 347)


In this paper I outline my propensiton version of quantum theory (PQT). PQT is a fully micro-realistic version of quantum theory that provides us with a very natural possible solution to the fundamental wave/particle problem, and is free of the severe defects of orthodox quantum theory (OQT) as a result. PQT makes sense of the quantum world.  PQT recovers all the empirical success of OQT and is, furthermore, empirically testable (although not as yet tested).  I argue that Einstein almost put forward this version of quantum theory in 1916/1917 in his papers on spontaneous and induced radiative transitions, but retreated from doing so because he disliked the probabilistic character of the idea.  Subsequently, the idea was overlooked because debates about quantum theory polarised into the Bohr/Heisenberg camp, which argued for the abandonment of realism and determinism, and the Einstein/Schrödinger camp, which argued for the retention of realism and determinism, no one, as a result, pursuing the most obvious option of retaining realism but abandoning determinism.  It is this third, overlooked option that leads to PQT.  PQT has implications for quantum field theory, the standard model, string theory, and cosmology.  The really important point, however, is that it is experimentally testable.  I indicate two experiments in principle capable of deciding between PQT and OQT.


Quantum Theory Quantum System Physical Space Classical Physic Probabilistic Character 
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© Springer Netherlands 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Science and Technology StudiesUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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