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Who Invented the “Copenhagen Interpretation”? A Study in Mythology

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022


What is commonly known as the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, regarded as representing a unitary Copenhagen point of view, differs significantly from Bohr's complementarity interpretation, which does not employ wave packet collapse in its account of measurement and does not accord the subjective observer any privileged role in measurement. It is argued that the Copenhagen interpretation is an invention of the mid-1950s, for which Heisenberg is chiefly responsible, various other physicists and philosophers, including Bohm, Feyerabend, Hanson, and Popper, having further promoted the invention in the service of their own philosophical agendas.

Bohr's Philosophy of Quantum Theory: A New Look
Copyright © 2004 by the Philosophy of Science Association

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