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Propensities in quantum mechanics

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I review five explicit attempts throughout the history of quantum mechanics to invoke dispositional notions in order to solve the quantum paradoxes, namely: Margenau’s latencies, Heisenberg’s potentialities, Popper’s propensity interpretation of probability, Nick Maxwell’s propensitons, and the recent selective propensities interpretation of quantum mechanics. I raise difficulties and challenges for all of them, but conclude that the selective propensities approach nicely encompasses the virtues of its predecessors. I elaborate on some of the properties of the type of propensities that I claim to be successful for quantum mechanics, and finish by briefly sketching out ways in which similar notions can be read into some of the other well-known interpretations of quantum mechanics.

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