The wave function as a true ensemble

Proceedings of the Royal Society 478 (2262) (2022)
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In quantum mechanics, the wavefunction predicts probabilities of possible measurement outcomes, but not which individual outcome is realised in each run of an experiment. This suggests that it describes an ensemble of states with different values of a hidden variable. Here, we analyse this idea with reference to currently known theorems and experiments. We argue that the ψ-ontic/epistemic distinction fails to properly identify ensemble interpretations and propose a more useful definition. We then show that all local ψ-ensemble interpretations which reproduce quantum mechanics violate Statistical Independence. Theories with this property are commonly referred to as superdeterministic or retrocausal. Finally, we explain how this interpretation helps make sense of some otherwise puzzling phenomena in quantum mechanics, such as the delayed choice experiment, the Elitzur-Vaidman bomb detector, and the Extended Wigner's Friends Scenario.

Author's Profile

Jonte Hance
University of Bristol


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