Can a realist picture adapt itself to the justificationist world view? The question might sound self contradictory. But here is where my question coming from. If you consider quantum theory as a language designed to give a grasp of natural phenomena, you may say any ontological model of this theory should be compatible with metaphysical claims of our theory of language.

On the other hand Kochen-Specker theorem (and later more generalised by Rob Spekkens) proves that it is required for quantum mechanics to be contextual. Here contextuality means if you have a basis for a measurement of an operator, it makes difference if in the figure, whether you measure the vector \psi_1 together with vectors \psi_2 and \psi_3 or another pair of vectors. http://qi10.ca/summerschool/"> [This figure is a slide from the lecture by Rob Spekkens available in:http://qi10.ca/summerschool/]

So the contextuality in this way requires a justificationist world view. But the Bohmian model (which is a realist one is contextual as well).

How, if at all, is it possible to be a scientific realist and a justificationist at the same time?

  • I have tried to clarify the title and the question line here -- just wanted to let you know so that ideally you could improve further or rollback if you wish
    – Joseph Weissman
    Commented Jul 2, 2011 at 15:49

1 Answer 1


I think I've found a good answer to my own question. Basically the confusion comes from the fact that what scientists call realism is different from what most of the philosophers do! The philosophical consequence of Kochen-Specker's theorem is that a realism which requires knowable pre-existed reality, regardless of being justified, is impossible. Although here the justification doesn't necessarily require consciousness. It can probably be done by any system of high entropy.

I've written this as a record. Let me know if you find it unclear but interested to know more about it.

  • 1
    I think it would be fair to accept your own answer. Somehow, I doubt anyone else will be answering anytime soon. Commented Jul 14, 2011 at 19:24
  • Fair enough! But while I think I've found the answer, I'm not satisfied with what I wrote, due to the incoherence and lack of justification for the argument. I'll accept it for now. Nevertheless, I would appreciate any further discussions. :-)
    – iii
    Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 12:31
  • Gotta say both your question an answer; and almost all on this website help offer insight into things within philosophy and metaphysics id never even thought to consider. And they remain timeless and relevant that even now 7 years later I am learning and enjoying them!
    – Cacoon
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 2:48
  • This helped me avoid asking the question "To what degree does the Kochen-Specker theorem refute a knowable objective reality?"
    – Corbin
    Commented Dec 11, 2021 at 5:58

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