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Is quantum mechanics similar to Newtonian gravity in respect that it explains how something works but not why it works? Or does Quantum mechanics explain why it works? (I haven't actually studied QM)

Edit: Before Einstein discovered relativity we understood how gravity worked (we could make mathematical predictions with what we knew.) but not why gravity worked (the warping of spacetime) is quantum mechanics similar in this respect, that we know how it works (we can use it to make technology and make mathematical predictions) but we do not understand at the fundemental level, why it works like we do with gravity.

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marked as duplicate by John Rennie, Emilio Pisanty, Waffle's Crazy Peanut, twistor59, user1504 Apr 20 '13 at 19:39

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

This post (v3) seems to be related to Why? versus How? in physics. Why? versus How? concerns all branches of physics in general, not just e.g. QM or Newtonian gravity. See also e.g. this Phys.SE post. – Qmechanic Mar 19 '13 at 15:04
@JohnRennie related, but certainly not a duplicate; the question you linked is about gravity, this question is about the foundations of quantum mechanics and gravity enters only by analogy. – Mark Mitchison Mar 19 '13 at 16:14

There are lots of people who have considered the possibility that quantum mechanics is not fully understood in the way you describe, and might be derivable from more fundamental physical postulates like relativity. Look up, for example, Rob Spekkens, Jon Barrett and Chris Fuchs.

Note that what you said about gravity is not strictly true, however. Newton's laws gave incorrect predictions about certain phenomena, such as the precession of Mercury's orbit. General relativity wasn't just a new interpretation of existing experiments, rather it gave us a new quantitative framework that disagreed with Newton's theory in many ways. This allowed Newton's theory to be unquestionably falsified by experiment. On the contrary, apparently no experiment has ever been performed that disagrees with the predictions of quantum mechanics. Therefore, a lot of work in quantum foundations appears to be focussed on different philosophical frameworks that can reproduce the predictions of quantum mechanics by construction.

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I might not toally understand the question but I understand you refer to newtons law of universal gravitation?... But quantum mechanics refer to the state in which a partical occures. Such as atoms and photons. The state is the energy level of the partical. Since we know the energy levels is fixed and jumps only to the next energy state if the energy added is enough. Since we know it is fixed quantaties needed to change the energy state, we know photons carry energy in fixed packets called a quantum because if a light is applied to a metal of a frequency above the metals workfunction the metal will emit a electron. This we know what quantum states are but not why there isn't intermediate levels between the energy states.

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I edited the question hope it explains a little better what I mean. – Antonio Mar 19 '13 at 14:39

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