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The Bare Theory was offered by David Albert as a way of standing by the completeness of quantum mechanics in the face of the measurement problem. This paper surveys objections to the Bare Theory that recur in the literature: what will here be called the oddity objection, the coherence objection, and the context-of-the-universe objection. Critics usually take the Bare Theory to have unacceptably bizarre consequences, but to be free from internal contradiction. Bizarre consequences need not be decisive against the Bare Theory, but a further objection—dubbed here the calibration objection—has been underestimated. This paper argues that the Bare Theory is not only odd but also inconsistent. We can imagine a successor to the Bare Theory—the Stripped Theory—which avoids the objections and fulfills the original promise of the Bare Theory, but at the cost of amplifying the bizarre consequences. The Stripped Theory is either a stunning development in our understanding of the world or a reductio disproving the completeness of quantum mechanics.


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This is the Author's Accepted Manuscript of a peer reviewed paper made available by Oxford University Press © 2004.

The published version appears here: Magnus, P.D. (2004). The Price of Insisting that Quantum Mechanics is Complete. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 55 (2): 257-267. June 2004. Available at:

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