A Refined Propensity Account for GRW Theory

Foundations of Physics 51 (2):1-20 (2021)
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Spontaneous collapse theories of quantum mechanics turn the usual Schrödinger equation into a stochastic dynamical law. In particular, in this paper, I will focus on the GRW theory. Two philosophical issues that can be raised about GRW concern (i) the ontology of the theory, in particular the nature of the wave function and its role within the theory, and (ii) the interpretation of the objective probabilities involved in the dynamics of the theory. During the last years, it has been claimed that we can take advantage of dispositional properties in order to develop an ontology for GRW theory, and also in order to ground the objective probabilities which are postulated by it. However, in this paper, I will argue that the dispositional interpretations which have been discussed in the literature so far are either flawed or – at best – incomplete. If we want to endorse a dispositional interpretation of GRW theory we thus need an extended account that specifies the precise nature of those properties and which makes also clear how they can correctly ground all the probabilities postulated by the theory. Thus, after having introduced several different kinds of probabilistic dispositions, I will try to fill the gap in the literature by proposing a novel and complete dispositional account of GRW, based on what I call spontaneous weighted multi-track propensities. I claim that such an account can satisfy both of our desiderata.

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Lorenzo Lorenzetti
University of Bristol


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