I am fascinated about the implications of quantum mechanics to philosophy. Where can I find good references to the philosophy of quantum mechanics, and its implications for realism/antirealism, holism, contextuality, causality, determinism, probability theory, consciousness and mysticism? A physics based reply is very much preferred.


4 Answers 4


You can't do much better than Michael Redhead's Incompleteness nonlocality and realism.

David Z. Albert's Quantum mechanics and experience is a popular text, but I don't like it: it tries to shield you from the technical details, but you simply can't understand the subject without an understanding of at least the basics of those details.

There is a chapter on philosophy of quantum mechanics in the Ashgate companion to philosophy of physics. David Wallace has uploaded a preprint of this piece to ArXiv.

R.I.G. Hughes' Structure and interpretation of quantum mechanics is also a highly-regarded book, though I've not read much of it.

That covers books that deal with QM's implications for "realism/antirealism, holism, contextuality, causality, determinism, probability theory". As for "consciousness and mysticism": "A physics based reply is very much preferred" — does not compute.

You could try Fritjof Capra's "The Tao of Physics". But it is nonsense. Werner Heisenberg's Physics and Philosophy might interest you in this respect too, but likewise, much of it is trite and meaningless.


If you want to go to the next level - after you've read the above suggestions - you can look up anything by Jeremy Butterfield or Hans Halvorson.

And if you really want to get a (highly technical) sense of what philosophers of physics are doing these days read Laura Ruetsche's Interpreting Quantum Theories.


If you're looking for something a little easier to read, I've found Brian Greene's Fabric of the Cosmos to be a good balance of informative, entertaining, and understandable.


I should recommend the works of Bernard d'Espagnat, a theoretical physicist and philosopher of science known for his works in the nature of reality:

  • Divulgative: 1979 Scientific American article, “The Quantum Theory and Reality".
  • Deep: 1999 - "Conceptual Foundations of Quantum Mechanics" for a more deep comprehension of the subject. Not hard to follow formulation.

He is such a pleasure to be read.

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