Imprecise Probabilities in Quantum Mechanics

In Colleen E. Crangle, Adolfo García de la Sienra & Helen E. Longino (eds.), Foundations and Methods from Mathematics to Neuroscience. Stanford: CSLI Publications. pp. 77-82 (2015)
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Abstract
In his entry on "Quantum Logic and Probability Theory" in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Alexander Wilce (2012) writes that "it is uncontroversial (though remarkable) the formal apparatus quantum mechanics reduces neatly to a generalization of classical probability in which the role played by a Boolean algebra of events in the latter is taken over the 'quantum logic' of projection operators on a Hilbert space." For a long time, Patrick Suppes has opposed this view (see, for example, the paper collected in Suppes and Zanotti (1996). Instead of changing the logic and moving from a Boolean algebra to a non-Boolean algebra, one can also 'save the phenomena' by weakening the axioms of probability theory and work instead with upper and lower probabilities. However, it is fair to say that despite Suppes' efforts upper and lower probabilities are not particularly popular in physics as well as in the foundations of physics, at least so far. Instead, quantum logic is booming again, especially since quantum information and computation became hot topics. Interestingly, however, imprecise probabilities are becoming more and more popular in formal epistemology as recent work by authors such as James Joye (2010) and Roger White (2010) demonstrates.
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Archival date: 2015-03-11
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