I recently wrote an answer on a question and I would infer from the responses that there is not widespread awareness of the context of the development of QM and its various interpretations.

Instead, the physics community has attempted to settle broadly on a Copenhagen interpretation that many people find totally unsatisfactory, despite it's internal popularity in physics, and widespread teaching to new entrants to the field.

Since the matter is fresh in my mind, I happen to have stumbled upon a few relatively recent articles from a physicist called Freire, who remarks on the general cultural attitude of the physics community in the latter 20th century in relation to QM. He also discusses specifically the treatment of David Bohm by American academia, and why his work has been neglected in physics (Sci. Ed. 12, 573 (2003), eprint, and Hist. Stud. Phys. Biol. Sci. 36, 1 (2005), arXiv:physics/0508184).

My question is, is anyone aware of other good sources that discuss the interpretational problem in QM and how the very question has been treated in physics?

I'm only asking for sources.

  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ Feb 14, 2018 at 21:50
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    $\begingroup$ To be very frank, if this is a request for resources then there is no need for anything else in the body. In particular, using the body text for an argument in favor of one point of view and trying to forestall other from arguing some others point of view is right out. Let's have the question focus on the question. Okay? $\endgroup$ Feb 14, 2018 at 21:52
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    $\begingroup$ @dmckee, I didn't forestall anyone from arguing the contrary point of view. Can we restore a passage that focuses on soliciting sources that deal with whether or not there has been marginalisation? It is far from clear in its current form that it is sources addressing this (whether to confirm or rebut) are being sought. $\endgroup$
    – Steve
    Feb 14, 2018 at 22:12
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    $\begingroup$ How on earth did this manage a close vote on the basis of engineering!? $\endgroup$
    – Kyle Kanos
    Feb 16, 2018 at 11:10

2 Answers 2


I do not think that the quantum foundations question has been marginalised. It seems to be a very lively field.

For example, there is an International Journal of Quantum Foundations on the web, with a constantly updated page listing the latest papers on quantum foundations.

Now there is a trend denying the interest of that area of research, this is true. See for example Quantum Theory Needs No ‘Interpretation’ (Fuchs & Peres). Note that this paper from 2000 starts by lamenting that too many articles are published on the subject!

A fun read against this stand is Shut up and let me think. Or why you should work on the foundations of quantum mechanics as much as you please (Echenique-Robba, 2013).

Notable physicists get involved though. For example, the co-author of a very well-known QM textbook asked the question Do we really understand quantum mechanics? (Laloe, 2004) and answered by the negative. And more recently, see Why quantum mechanics might need an overhaul by Weinberg.

From experimentalists, we have for example Experiment and the foundations of quantum physics (Zeilinger, 1999).

From theoricists, see also Does Quantum Mechanics Need Interpretation? (Marchildon, 2009) and Why Physics Needs Quantum Foundations (Hardy & Spekkens, 2010).

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    $\begingroup$ Note: this answers the first version of the question, which was positing that research on quantum foundations has been marginalised or suppressed . $\endgroup$ Feb 15, 2018 at 0:01
  • $\begingroup$ A key point in the question which has unfortunately itself been suppressed haha! $\endgroup$
    – Steve
    Feb 16, 2018 at 12:24

Bernard d'Espagnat is French physicist who specialises in conceptual and foundational problems of QM. His books which discuss these include:

  • Conceptual Foundations of QM

  • On Physics & Philosophy

Tim Maudlin is another well-known American physicist who also covers similar grounds. I haven't read any of his books so I can't vouch for them personally, but they include:

  • Quantum Non-Locality & Relativity

  • The Metaphysics within Physics


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