This paper investigates the possibiity of developing a fully microrealisticversion of elementary quantummechanics. I argue that it is highly desirable to develop such a version of quantummechanics, and that the failure of all current versions and interpretations of quantummechanics to constitute microrealistic theories is at the root of many of the interpretative problems associated with quantummechanics, in particular the problem (...) of measurement. I put forward a propensity microrealisticversion of quantummechanics, and suggest how it might be possible to discriminate, on expermental grounds, between this theory and other versions of quantummechanics. (shrink)
In this paper, possible objections to the propensity microrealistic version of quantummechanics proposed in Part I are answered. This version of quantummechanics is compared with the statistical, particle microrealistic viewpoint, and a crucial experiment is proposed designed to distinguish between these to microrealistic versions of quantummechanics.
In this article I defend that an underlying framework exists among those interpretations of quantummechanics which crucially consider the measurement problem as a central obstacle. I characterise that framework as the Received View on the realist interpretation of quantummechanics. In particular, I analyse the extent to which two of the most relevant attempts at quantummechanics, namely, many worlds interpretations and Bohmian mechanics, belong within the Received View. However, I claim that (...) scientific realism in itself does not entail commitment to such a view, and I propose to consider a form of realism that dissolves the measurement problem. It is simply a stripped down version of realism. I derive the methodological questions in this form of realism, speculating that within it a novel realist interpretation of quantummechanics could be conceived. (shrink)
A fully microrealistic, propensity version of quantum theory is proposed, according to which fundamental physical entities - neither particles nor fields - have physical characteristics which determine probabilistically how they interact with one another . The version of quantum "smearon" theory proposed here does not modify the equations of orthodox quantum theory: rather, it gives a radically new interpretation to these equations. It is argued that there are strong general reasons for preferring (...)quantum "smearon" theory to orthodox quantum theory; the proposed change in physical interpretation leads quantum "smearon" theory to make experimental predictions subtly different from those of orthodox quantum theory. Some possible crucial experiments are considered. (shrink)
Privileged-perspective realism (PPR) is a version of metaphysical realism that takes certain irreducibly perspectival facts to be partly constitutive of reality. PPR asserts that there is a single metaphysically privileged standpoint from which these perspectival facts obtain. This chapter discusses several views that fall under the category of privileged-perspective realism. These include presentism, which is PPR about tensed facts, and non-multiverse interpretations of quantummechanics, which the chapter argues, constitute PPR about world-indexed facts. Using the framework of (...) the bird perspective and the frog perspective, it argues that PPR views methodologically treat the frog perspective as metaphysically primary. This chapter considers case studies of metaphysical interpretations of special relativity and quantummechanics in order to demonstrate that such motivations for PPR are non-naturalistic. Further, it considers psychological factors that motivate the appeal of PPR views and offers naturalistic explanations of why we should not expect them to produce an adequate metaphysics of science. (shrink)
In a quantum universe with a strong arrow of time, it is standard to postulate that the initial wave function started in a particular macrostate---the special low-entropy macrostate selected by the Past Hypothesis. Moreover, there is an additional postulate about statistical mechanical probabilities according to which the initial wave function is a ''typical'' choice in the macrostate. Together, they support a probabilistic version of the Second Law of Thermodynamics: typical initial wave functions will increase in entropy. Hence, there (...) are two sources of randomness in such a universe: the quantum-mechanical probabilities of the Born rule and the statistical mechanical probabilities of the Statistical Postulate. I propose a new way to understand time's arrow in a quantum universe. It is based on what I call the Thermodynamic Theories of QuantumMechanics. According to this perspective, there is a natural choice for the initial quantum state of the universe, which is given by not a wave function but by a density matrix. The density matrix plays a microscopic role: it appears in the fundamental dynamical equations of those theories. The density matrix also plays a macroscopic / thermodynamic role: it is exactly the projection operator onto the Past Hypothesis subspace. Thus, given an initial subspace, we obtain a unique choice of the initial density matrix. I call this property "the conditional uniqueness" of the initial quantum state. The conditional uniqueness provides a new and general strategy to eliminate statistical mechanical probabilities in the fundamental physical theories, by which we can reduce the two sources of randomness to only the quantum mechanical one. I also explore the idea of an absolutely unique initial quantum state, in a way that might realize Penrose's idea of a strongly deterministic universe. (shrink)
According to orthodox quantummechanics, state vectors change in two incompatible ways: "deterministically" in accordance with Schroedinger's time-dependent equation, and probabilistically if and only if a measurement is made. It is argued here that the problem of measurement arises because the precise mutually exclusive conditions for these two types of transitions to occur are not specified within orthodox quantummechanics. Fundamentally, this is due to an inevitable ambiguity in the notion of "meawurement" itself. Hence, if the (...) problem of measurement is to be resolved, a new, fully objective version of quantjm mechanics needs to be developed which does not incorporate the notion of measurement in its basic postuolates at all. (shrink)
This paper connects the hard problem of consciousness to the interpretation of quantummechanics. It shows that constitutive Russellian pan(proto)psychism (CRP) is compatible with Everett’s relative-state (RS) interpretation. Despite targeting different problems, CRP and RS are related, for they both establish symmetry between micro- and macrosystems, and both call for a deflationary account of Subject. The paper starts from formal arguments that demonstrate the incompatibility of CRP with alternative interpretations of quantummechanics, followed by showing (...) that RS entails Russellian pan(proto)psychism. Therefore, CRP and RS are mutually supportive. It then provides a unified ontological picture by combining CRP and RS. The challenge faced by CRP, the combination problem, can be resolved by adopting a RS version of quantummechanics. Technically, this is achieved by a co-consciousness relation capable of explaining the difference between first-person and third-person perspectives. The hierarchical structure of the relation removes any concern on the structural mismatch between the physical and the phenomenal. (shrink)
I examine the epistemological debate on scientific realism in the context of quantum physics, focusing on the empirical underdetermin- ation of different formulations and interpretations of QM. I will argue that much of the interpretational, metaphysical work on QM tran- scends the kinds of realist commitments that are well-motivated in the light of the history of science. I sketch a way of demarcating empirically well-confirmed aspects of QM from speculative quantum metaphysics in a way that coheres with anti-realist (...) evidence from the history of science. The minimal realist attitude sketched withholds realist com- mitment to what quantum state |Ψ⟩ represents. I argue that such commitment is not required for fulfilling the ultimate realist motiva- tion: accounting for the empirical success of quantummechanics in a way that is in tune with a broader understanding of how theoretical science progresses and latches onto reality. (shrink)
*A shortened version of this paper will appear in Current Controversies in Philosophy of Science, Dasgupta and Weslake, eds. Routledge.* This paper describes the case that can be made for a high-dimensional ontology in quantummechanics based on the virtues of avoiding both nonseparability and non locality.
In this paper I outline my propensiton version of quantum theory (PQT). PQT is a fully micro-realisticversion of quantum theory that provides us with a very natural possible solution to the fundamental wave/particle problem, and is free of the severe defects of orthodox quantum theory (OQT) as a result. PQT makes sense of the quantum world. PQT recovers all the empirical success of OQT and is, furthermore, empirically testable (although not as (...) yet tested). I argue that Einstein almost put forward this version of quantum theory in 1916/17 in his papers on spontaneous and induced radiative transitions, but retreated from doing so because he disliked the probabilistic character of the idea. Subsequently, the idea was overlooked because debates about quantum theory polarised into the Bohr/Heisenberg camp, which argued for the abandonment of realism and determinism, and the Einstein/Schrödinger camp, which argued for the retention of realism and determinism, no one, as a result, pursuing the most obvious option of retaining realism but abandoning determinism. It is this third, overlooked option that leads to PQT. PQT has implications for quantum field theory, the standard model, string theory, and cosmology. The really important point, however, is that it is experimentally testable. I indicate two experiments in principle capable of deciding between PQT and OQT. (shrink)
In this paper I put forward a new microrealistic, fundamentally probabilistic, propensiton version of quantum theory. According to this theory, the entities of the quantum domain - electrons, photons, atoms - are neither particles nor fields, but a new kind of fundamentally probabilistic entity, the propensiton - entities which interact with one another probabilistically. This version of quantum theory leaves the Schroedinger equation unchanged, but reinterprets it to specify how propensitons evolve when (...) no probabilistic transitions occur. Probabilisitic transitions occur when new "particles" are created as a result of inelastic interactions. All measurements are just special cases of this. This propensiton version of quantum theory, I argue, solves the wave/particle dilemma, is free of conceptual problems that plague orthodox quantum theory, recovers all the empirical success of orthodox quantum theory, and at the same time yields as yet untested predictions that differ from those of orthodox quantum theory. (shrink)
We expound an alternative to the Copenhagen interpretation of the formalism of nonrelativistic quantummechanics. The basic difference is that the new interpretation is formulated in the language of epistemological realism. It involves a change in some basic physical concepts. The ψ function is no longer interpreted as a probability amplitude of the observed behaviour of elementary particles but as an objective physical field representing the particles themselves. The particles are thus extended objects whose extension varies in time (...) according to the variation of ψ. They are considered as fundamental regions of space with some kind of nonlocality. Special consideration is given to the Heisenberg relations, the Einstein-Podolsky- Rosen correlations, the reduction process, the problem of measurement, and the quantum-statistical distributions. (shrink)
In the first part of the paper I argue that an ontology of events is precise, flexible and general enough so as to cover the three main alternative formulations of quantummechanics as well as theories advocating an antirealistic view of the wave function. Since these formulations advocate a primitive ontology of entities living in four-dimensional spacetime, they are good candidates to connect that quantum image with the manifest image of the world. However, to the extent that (...) some form of realism about the wave function is also necessary, one needs to endorse also the idea that the wave function refers to some kind of power. In the second part, I discuss some difficulties raised by the recent proposal that in Bohmian mechanics this power is holistically possessed by all the particles in the universe. (shrink)
In this paper, I introduce an intrinsic account of the quantum state. This account contains three desirable features that the standard platonistic account lacks: (1) it does not refer to any abstract mathematical objects such as complex numbers, (2) it is independent of the usual arbitrary conventions in the wave function representation, and (3) it explains why the quantum state has its amplitude and phase degrees of freedom. -/- Consequently, this account extends Hartry Field’s program outlined in Science (...) Without Numbers (1980), responds to David Malament’s long-standing impossibility conjecture (1982), and establishes an important first step towards a genuinely intrinsic and nominalistic account of quantummechanics. I will also compare the present account to Mark Balaguer’s (1996) nominalization of quantummechanics and discuss how it might bear on the debate about “wave function realism.” In closing, I will suggest some possible ways to extend this account to accommodate spinorial degrees of freedom and a variable number of particles (e.g. for particle creation and annihilation). -/- Along the way, I axiomatize the quantum phase structure as what I shall call a “periodic difference structure” and prove a representation theorem as well as a uniqueness theorem. These formal results could prove fruitful for further investigation into the metaphysics of phase and theoretical structure. (shrink)
We present an axiomatization of non-relativistic QuantumMechanics for a system with an arbitrary number of components. The interpretation of our system of axioms is realistic and objective. The EPR paradox and its relation with realism is discussed in this framework. It is shown that there is no contradiction between realism and recent experimental results.
In this paper, I explore the feasibility of a realistic interpretation of the quantum mechanical path integral - that is, an interpretation according to which the particle actually follows the paths that contribute to the integral. I argue that an interpretation of this sort requires spacetime to have a branching structure similar to the structures of the branching spacetimes proposed by previous authors. I point out one possible way to construct branching spacetimes of the required sort, and I (...) ask whether the resulting interpretation of quantummechanics is empirically testable. (shrink)
We present an alternative to the Copenhagen interpretation of the formalism of nonrelativistic quantummechanics. The basic difference is that the new inter- pretation is formulated in the language of epistemological realism. It involves a change in some basic physical concepts. Elementary particles are considered as extended objects and nonlocal effects are included. The role of the new concepts in the problems of measurement and of the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen correlations is described. Experiments to distinguish the proposed interpretation from the (...) Copenhagen one are pointed out. (shrink)
In a quantum universe with a strong arrow of time, we postulate a low-entropy boundary condition to account for the temporal asymmetry. In this paper, I show that the Past Hypothesis also contains enough information to simplify the quantum ontology and define a unique initial condition in such a world. First, I introduce Density Matrix Realism, the thesis that the quantum universe is described by a fundamental density matrix that represents something objective. This stands in sharp contrast (...) to Wave Function Realism, the thesis that the quantum universe is described by a wave function that represents something objective. Second, I suggest that the Past Hypothesis is sufficient to determine a unique and simple density matrix. This is achieved by what I call the Initial Projection Hypothesis: the initial density matrix of the universe is the normalized projection onto the special low-dimensional Hilbert space. Third, because the initial quantum state is unique and simple, we have a strong case for the \emph{Nomological Thesis}: the initial quantum state of the universe is on a par with laws of nature. This new package of ideas has several interesting implications, including on the harmony between statistical mechanics and quantummechanics, the dynamic unity of the universe and the subsystems, and the alleged conflict between Humean supervenience and quantum entanglement. (shrink)
The major point in [1] chapter 2 is the following claim: “Any formalized system for the Theory of Computation based on Classical Logic and Turing Model of Computation leads us to a contradiction.” So, in the case we wish to save Classical Logic we should change our Computational Model. As we see in chapter two, the mentioned contradiction is about and around the concept of time, as it is in the contradiction of modified version of paradox. It is natural (...) to try fabricating the paradox not by time but in some other linear ordering or the concept of space. Interestingly, the attempts to have similar contradiction by the other concepts like space and linear ordering, is failed. It is remarkable that, the paradox is considered either Epistemological or Logical traditionally, but by new considerations the new version of paradox should be considered as either Logical or Physical paradox. Hence, in order to change our Computational Model, it is natural to change the concept of time, but how? We start from some models that are different from the classical one but they are intuitively plausible. The idea of model is somewhat introduced by Brouwer and Husserl [3]. This model doesn’t refute the paradox, since the paradox and the associated contradiction would be repeated in this new model. The model is introduced in [2]. Here we give some more explanations. (shrink)
This paper reviews some of the literature on the philosophy of quantummechanics. The publications involved tend to follow similar patterns of first identifying the mysteries, puzzles or paradoxes of the quantum world, and then discussing the existing interpretations of these matters, before the authors produce their own interpretations, or side with one of the existing views. The paper will show that all interpretations of quantummechanics involve elements of apparent weirdness. They suggest that the (...)quantum world, and possibly our macro world, exists or behaves in a way quite contrary to the way we normally imagine they should. The paper will also show how many of the writers on quantummechanics misunderstand idealism in the macro world as proposed by philosophers such as George Berkeley, David Hume, Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill and misunderstand the concept of the observer dependent universe. The paper concludes by examining the similarities between the idealist view of the macro world and the Copenhagen Interpretation of the quantum world and suggests that as the Copenhagen Interpretation provides a view of the quantum world that is consistent with the macro world then the Copenhagen Interpretation should be the preferred view of the quantum world. (shrink)
We review a recent approach to the foundations of quantummechanics inspired by quantum information theory. The approach is based on a general framework, which allows one to address a large class of physical theories which share basic information-theoretic features. We first illustrate two very primitive features, expressed by the axioms of causality and purity-preservation, which are satisfied by both classical and quantum theory. We then discuss the axiom of purification, which expresses a strong version (...) of the Conservation of Information and captures the core of a vast number of protocols in quantum information. Purification is a highly non-classical feature and leads directly to the emergence of entanglement at the purely conceptual level, without any reference to the superposition principle. Supplemented by a few additional requirements, satisfied by classical and quantum theory, it provides a complete axiomatic characterization of quantum theory for finite dimensional systems. (shrink)
Although Fuzzy logic and Fuzzy Mathematics is a widespread subject and there is a vast literature about it, yet the use of Fuzzy issues like Fuzzy sets and Fuzzy numbers was relatively rare in time concept. This could be seen in the Fuzzy time series. In addition, some attempts are done in fuzzing Turing Machines but seemingly there is no need to fuzzy time. Throughout this article, we try to change this picture and show why it is helpful to consider (...) the instants of time as Fuzzy numbers. In physics, though there are revolutionary ideas on the time concept like B theories in contrast to A theory also about central concepts like space, momentum… it is a long time that these concepts are changed, but time is considered classically in all well-known and established physics theories. Seemingly, we stick to the classical time concept in all fields of science and we have a vast inertia to change it. Our goal in this article is to provide some bases why it is rational and reasonable to change and modify this picture. Here, the central point is the modified version of “Unexpected Hanging” paradox as it is described in "Is classical Mathematics appropriate for theory of Computation".This modified version leads us to a contradiction and based on that it is presented there why some problems in Theory of Computation are not solved yet. To resolve the difficulties arising there, we have two choices. Either “choosing” a new type of Logic like “Para-consistent Logic” to tolerate contradiction or changing and improving the time concept and consequently to modify the “Turing Computational Model”. Throughout this paper, we select the second way for benefiting from saving some aspects of Classical Logic. In chapter 2, by applying quantumMechanics and Schrodinger equation we compute the associated fuzzy number to time. (shrink)
In the last decade, structural realism has been presented as the most promising strategy for developing a defensible realist view of science. Nevertheless, controversy still continues in relation to the exact meaning of the proposed structuralism. The stronger version of structural realism, the so-called ontic structural realism, has been argued for on the basis of some ideas related to quantummechanics. In this paper, I will first outline these arguments, mainly developed by Steven French and James Ladyman, (...) then challenge them, putting a particular emphasis on a metaphysical principle which, even though it is crucial for the whole argument, hasn't been, in my opinion, clearly stated and examined yet. My overall view will be that a weaker version of the form of realism we are considering is more plausible – namely, epistemic structural realism. (shrink)
We review our approach to quantummechanics adding also some new interesting results. We start by giving proof of two important theorems on the existence of the A(Si) and i,±1 N Clifford algebras. This last algebra gives proof of the von Neumann basic postulates on the quantum measurement explaining thus in an algebraic manner the wave function collapse postulated in standard quantum theory. In this manner we reach the objective to expose a self-consistent version of (...)quantummechanics. In detail we realize a bare bone skeleton of quantummechanics recovering all the basic foundations of this theory on an algebraic framework. We give proof of the quantum like Heisenberg uncertainty relations using only the basic support of the Clifford algebra. In addition we demonstrate the well known phenomenon of quantum Mach Zender interference using the same algebraic framework, as well as we give algebraic proof of quantum collapse in some cases of physical interest by direct application of the theorem that we derive to elaborate the i,±1 N algebra. We also discuss the problem of time evolution of quantum systems as well as the changes in space location, in momentum and the linked invariance principles. We are also able to re-derive the basic wave function of standard quantummechanics by using only the Clifford algebraic approach. In this manner we obtain a full exposition of standard quantummechanics using only the basic axioms of Clifford algebra. We also discuss more advanced features of quantummechanics. In detail, we give demonstration of the Kocken-Specher theorem, and also we give an algebraic formulation and explanation of the EPR paradox only using the Clifford algebra. By using the same approach we also derive Bell inequalities. Our formulation is strongly based on the use of idempotents that are contained in Clifford algebra. Their counterpart in quantummechanics is represented by the projection operators that, as it is well known, are interpreted as logical statements, following the basic von Neumann results. Von Neumann realized a matrix logic on the basis of quantummechanics. Using the Clifford algebra we are able to invert such result. According to the results previously obtained by Orlov in 1994, we are able to give proof that quantummechanics derives from logic. We show that indeterminism and quantum interference have their origin in the logic. Therefore, it seems that we may conclude that quantummechanics, as it appears when investigated by the Clifford algebra, is a two-faced theory in the sense that it looks from one side to “matter per se”, thus to objects but simultaneously also to conceptual entities. We advance the basic conclusion of the paper: There are stages of our reality in which we no more can separate the logic ( and thus cognition and thus conceptual entity) from the features of “matter per se”. In quantummechanics the logic, and thus the cognition and thus the conceptual entity-cognitive performance, assume the same importance as the features of what is being described. We are at levels of reality in which the truths of logical statements about dynamic variables become dynamic variables themselves so that a profound link is established from its starting in this theory between physics and conceptual entities. Finally, in this approach there is not an absolute definition of logical truths. Transformations , and thus … “redefinitions”…. of truth values are permitted in such scheme as well as the well established invariance principles, clearly indicate . (shrink)
Maxwell’s Demon is a thought experiment devised by J. C. Maxwell in 1867 in order to show that the Second Law of thermodynamics is not universal, since it has a counter-example. Since the Second Law is taken by many to provide an arrow of time, the threat to its universality threatens the account of temporal directionality as well. Various attempts to “exorcise” the Demon, by proving that it is impossible for one reason or another, have been made throughout the years, (...) but none of them were successful. We have shown (in a number of publications) by a general state-space argument that Maxwell’s Demon is compatible with classical mechanics, and that the most recent solutions, based on Landauer’s thesis, are not general. In this paper we demonstrate that Maxwell’s Demon is also compatible with quantummechanics. We do so by analyzing a particular (but highly idealized) experimental setup and proving that it violates the Second Law. Our discussion is in the framework of standard quantummechanics; we give two separate arguments in the framework of quantummechanics with and without the projection postulate. We address in our analysis the connection between measurement and erasure interactions and we show how these notions are applicable in the microscopic quantum mechanical structure. We discuss what might be the quantum mechanical counterpart of the classical notion of “macrostates”, thus explaining why our Quantum Demon setup works not only at the micro level but also at the macro level, properly understood. One implication of our analysis is that the Second Law cannot provide a universal lawlike basis for an account of the arrow of time; this account has to be sought elsewhere. (shrink)
This invited article is a response to the paper “Quantum Misuse in Psychic Literature,” by Jack A. Mroczkowski and Alexis P. Malozemoff, published in this issue of the Journal of Near-Death Studies. Whereas I sympathize with Mroczkowski’s and Malozemoff’s cause and goals, and I recognize the problem they attempted to tackle, I argue that their criticisms often overshot the mark and end up adding to the confusion. I address nine specific technical points that Mroczkowski and Malozemoff accused popular writers (...) in the fields of health care and parapsychology of misunderstanding and misrepresenting. I argue that, by and large—and contrary to Mroczkowski’s and Malozemoff’s claims—the statements made by these writers are often reasonable and generally consistent with the current state of play in foundations of quantummechanics. (shrink)
What are quantum entities? Is the quantum domain deterministic or probabilistic? Orthodox quantum theory (OQT) fails to answer these two fundamental questions. As a result of failing to answer the first question, OQT is very seriously defective: it is imprecise, ambiguous, ad hoc, non-explanatory, inapplicable to the early universe, inapplicable to the cosmos as a whole, and such that it is inherently incapable of being unified with general relativity. It is argued that probabilism provides a very natural (...) solution to the quantum wave/particle dilemma and promises to lead to a fully micro-realistic, testable version of quantum theory that is free of the defects of OQT. It is suggested that inelastic interactions may induce quantum probabilistic transitions. (shrink)
We show that determinism is false assuming a realistic interpretation of quantummechanics and considering the sensitive dynamics of macroscopical physical systems.
Non-locality is one of the great mysteries of quantummechanics (qm). There is a new realist interpretation of qm on the table whose notion of time incorporates both of McTaggart's A-series and B-series. In this philosophically motivated interpretation there is no fact of the matter as to whether the 'now' of one system is the 'now' of another system, until measurement. But this reproduces the idea that the spins of a Bell pair of electrons do not become definite (...) 'until' measurement. And this almost trivially allows for non-locality. (shrink)
In this paper I investigate, within the framework of realistic interpretations of the wave function in nonrelativistic quantummechanics, the mathematical and physical nature of the wave function. I argue against the view that mathematically the wave function is a two-component scalar field on configuration space. First, I review how this view makes quantummechanics non- Galilei invariant and yields the wrong classical limit. Moreover, I argue that interpreting the wave function as a ray, in (...) agreement many physicists, Galilei invariance is preserved. In addition, I discuss how the wave function behaves more similarly to a gauge potential than to a field. Finally I show how this favors a nomological rather than an ontological view of the wave function. (shrink)
We introduce a realist, unextravagant interpretation of quantum theory that builds on the existing physical structure of the theory and allows experiments to have definite outcomes but leaves the theory’s basic dynamical content essentially intact. Much as classical systems have specific states that evolve along definite trajectories through configuration spaces, the traditional formulation of quantum theory permits assuming that closed quantum systems have specific states that evolve unitarily along definite trajectories through Hilbert spaces, and our interpretation extends (...) this intuitive picture of states and Hilbert-space trajectories to the more realistic case of open quantum systems despite the generic development of entanglement. We provide independent justification for the partial-trace operation for density matrices, reformulate wave-function collapse in terms of an underlying interpolating dynamics, derive the Born rule from deeper principles, resolve several open questions regarding ontological stability and dynamics, address a number of familiar no-go theorems, and argue that our interpretation is ultimately compatible with Lorentz invariance. Along the way, we also investigate a number of unexplored features of quantum theory, including an interesting geometrical structure—which we call subsystem space—that we believe merits further study. We conclude with a summary, a list of criteria for future work on quantum foundations, and further research directions. We include an appendix that briefly reviews the traditional Copenhagen interpretation and the measurement problem of quantum theory, as well as the instrumentalist approach and a collection of foundational theorems not otherwise discussed in the main text. (shrink)
Following the proposal of a new kind of selective structural realism that uses as a basis the distinction between framework and interaction theories, this work discusses relevant applications in fundamental physics. An ontology for the different entities and properties of well-known theories is thus consistently built. The case of classical field theories—including general relativity as a classical theory of gravitation—is examined in detail, as well as the implications of the classification scheme for issues of realism in quantummechanics. (...) These applications also shed light on the different range of applicability of the ontic and epistemic versions of structural realism. (shrink)
David Lewis is a natural target for those who believe that findings in quantum physics threaten the tenability of traditional metaphysical reductionism. Such philosophers point to allegedly holistic entities they take both to be the subjects of some claims of quantummechanics and to be incompatible with Lewisian metaphysics. According to one popular argument, the non-separability argument from quantum entanglement, any realist interpretation of quantum theory is straightforwardly inconsistent with the reductive conviction that the complete (...) physical state of the world supervenes on the intrinsic properties of and spatio-temporal relations between its point-sized constituents. Here I defend Lewis's metaphysical doctrine, and traditional reductionism more generally, against this alleged threat from quantum holism. After presenting the non-separability argument from entanglement, I show that Bohmian mechanics, an interpretation of quantummechanics explicitly recognized as a realist one by proponents of the non-separability argument, plausibly rejects a key premise of that argument. Another holistic worry for Humeanism persists, however, the trouble being the apparently holistic character of the Bohmian pilot wave. I present a Humean strategy for addressing the holistic threat from the pilot wave by drawing on resources from the Humean best system account of laws. (shrink)
Ladyman and Ross argue that quantum objects are not individuals and use this idea to ground their metaphysical view, ontic structural realism, according to which relational structures are primary to things. LR acknowledge that there is a version of quantum theory, namely the Bohm theory, according to which particles do have denite trajectories at all times. However, LR interpret the research by Brown et al. as implying that "raw stuff" or haecceities are needed for the individuality of (...) particles of BT, and LR dismiss this as idle metaphysics. In this paper we note that Brown et al.'s research does not imply that haecceities are needed. Thus BT remains as a genuine option for those who seek to understand quantum particles as individuals. However, we go on to discuss some problems with BT which led Bohm and Hiley to modify it. This modified version underlines that, due to features such as context-dependence and non-locality, Bohmian particles have a very limited autonomy in situations where quantum effects are non-negligible. So while BT restores the possibility of quantum individuals, it also underlines the primacy of the whole over the autonomy of the parts. The later sections of the paper also examine the Bohm theory in the general mathematical context of symplectic geometry. This provides yet another way of understanding the subtle, holistic and dynamic nature of Bohmian individuals. We finally briefly consider Bohm's other main line of research, the "implicate order", which is in some ways similar to LR's structural realism. (shrink)
The persistent interpretation problem for quantummechanics may indicate an unwillingness to consider unpalatable assumptions that could open the way toward progress. With this in mind, I focus on the work of David Bohm, whose earlier work has been more influential than that of his later. As I’ll discuss, I believe two assumptions play a strong role in explaining the disparity: 1) that theories in physics must be grounded in mathematical structure and 2) that consciousness must supervene on (...) material processes. I’ll argue that the first assumption appears to lead us toward Everett’s many worlds interpretation, which suggests a red flag. I’ll also argue that the second assumption is suspect due to the persistent explanatory gap for consciousness. Later, I explore ways that Bohm’s later work holds some promise in providing a better fit with our world, both phenomenologically and empirically. Also, I’ll address the possible problem of realism. (shrink)
Students often invoke quantummechanics in class or papers to make philosophical points. This tendency has been encouraged by pop culture influences like the film What the Bleep do We Know? There is little merit to most of these putative implications. However, it is difficult for philosophy teachers unfamiliar with quantummechanics to handle these supposed implications in a clear and careful way. This paper is a philosophy of science version of MythBusters. We offer a (...) brief primer on the nature of quantummechanics, enumerate nine of the most common implications associated with quantummechanics, and finally clarify each implication with the facts. Our goal is to explain what quantummechanics doesn’t show. (shrink)
ABSTRACT Topos quantum theory is standardly portrayed as a kind of ‘neo-realist’ reformulation of quantummechanics.1 1 In this article, I study the extent to which TQT can really be characterized as a realist formulation of the theory, and examine the question of whether the kind of realism that is provided by TQT satisfies the philosophical motivations that are usually associated with the search for a realist reformulation of quantum theory. Specifically, I show that the notion (...) of the quantum state is problematic for those who view TQT as a realist reformulation of quantum theory. 1Introduction 2Topos Quantum Theory 2.1Phase space 2.2Hilbert space 2.3Beyond Hilbert space 2.4Defining realism 2.5The spectral presheaf 2.6The logic of topos quantum theory 3Interpreting States in Topos Quantum Theory 4Interpreting Truth Values and Clopen Subobjects in Topos Quantum Theory 4.1Interpreting the truth values 4.2Interpreting Subcl 5Neo-realism 5.1The covariant approach 6Conclusion. (shrink)
This thesis inquires what it means to interpret non-relativistic quantummechanics (QM), and the philosophical limits of this interpretation. In pursuit of a scientific-realist stance, a metametaphysical method is expanded and applied to evaluate rival interpretations of QM, based on the conceptual distinction between ontology and metaphysics, for objective theory choice in metaphysical discussions relating to QM. Three cases are examined, in which this metametaphysical method succeeds in indicating what are the wrong alternatives to interpret QM in metaphysical (...) terms. The first two cases failed in doing so due to different kinds of underdetermination. In the third case, unlike underdetermination, where there are many choices to be made, a “null-determination” is proposed where there may be no metaphysical choices in the available metaphysical literature. Considering what has been discussed, an agnostic philosophic position is adopted concerning the possibility of interpreting QM from a scientific-realistic point of view. (shrink)
We summarize a new realist, unextravagant interpretation of quantum theory that builds on the existing physical structure of the theory and allows experiments to have definite outcomes but leaves the theory's basic dynamical content essentially intact. Much as classical systems have specific states that evolve along definite trajectories through configuration spaces, the traditional formulation of quantum theory permits assuming that closed quantum systems have specific states that evolve unitarily along definite trajectories through Hilbert spaces, and our interpretation (...) extends this intuitive picture of states and Hilbert-space trajectories to the more realistic case of open quantum systems despite the generic development of entanglement. Our interpretation—which we claim is ultimately compatible with Lorentz invariance—reformulates wave-function collapse in terms of an underlying interpolating dynamics, makes it possible to derive the Born rule from deeper principles, and resolves several open questions regarding ontological stability and dynamics. (shrink)
In this article we have tried basically to lay out an outline of possible overlap between the metaphysical standpoints of the Madhyamik Buddhism with the so called Copenhagen interpretation of quantummechanics. We argued here that , both Madhyamik Buddhism as well as Copenhagen develop some common grounds of skepticism or cautionary notes against the classical intuitive Realist ideology committed to ontological priority of individual . So , though the presiding contexts of Madhyamik Buddhism and quantum (...) class='Hi'>mechanics are admittedly very different , we can still judge the ontological merit/ implications of ‘the cautions’ on comparative grounds .. And we have argued on this basis here about the possibility to sculpt out some norms of justification for starting a meaningful Dialog between Buddhism and modern Physical science. (shrink)
The explicit history of the “hidden variables” problem is well-known and established. The main events of its chronology are traced. An implicit context of that history is suggested. It links the problem with the “conservation of energy conservation” in quantummechanics. Bohr, Kramers, and Slaters (1924) admitted its violation being due to the “fourth Heisenberg uncertainty”, that of energy in relation to time. Wolfgang Pauli rejected the conjecture and even forecast the existence of a new and unknown then (...) elementary particle, neutrino, on the ground of energy conservation in quantummechanics, afterwards confirmed experimentally. Bohr recognized his defeat and Pauli’s truth: the paradigm of elementary particles (furthermore underlying the Standard model) dominates nowadays. However, the reason of energy conservation in quantummechanics is quite different from that in classical mechanics (the Lie group of all translations in time). Even more, if the reason was the latter, Bohr, Cramers, and Slatters’s argument would be valid. The link between the “conservation of energy conservation” and the problem of hidden variables is the following: the former is equivalent to their absence. The same can be verified historically by the unification of Heisenberg’s matrix mechanics and Schrödinger’s wave mechanics in the contemporary quantummechanics by means of the separable complex Hilbert space. The Heisenberg version relies on the vector interpretation of Hilbert space, and the Schrödinger one, on the wave-function interpretation. However the both are equivalent to each other only under the additional condition that a certain well-ordering is equivalent to the corresponding ordinal number (as in Neumann’s definition of “ordinal number”). The same condition interpreted in the proper terms of quantummechanics means its “unitarity”, therefore the “conservation of energy conservation”. In other words, the “conservation of energy conservation” is postulated in the foundations of quantummechanics by means of the concept of the separable complex Hilbert space, which furthermore is equivalent to postulating the absence of hidden variables in quantummechanics (directly deducible from the properties of that Hilbert space). Further, the lesson of that unification (of Heisenberg’s approach and Schrödinger’s version) can be directly interpreted in terms of the unification of general relativity and quantummechanics in the cherished “quantum gravity” as well as a “manual” of how one can do this considering them as isomorphic to each other in a new mathematical structure corresponding to quantum information. Even more, the condition of the unification is analogical to that in the historical precedent of the unifying mathematical structure (namely the separable complex Hilbert space of quantummechanics) and consists in the class of equivalence of any smooth deformations of the pseudo-Riemannian space of general relativity: each element of that class is a wave function and vice versa as well. Thus, quantummechanics can be considered as a “thermodynamic version” of general relativity, after which the universe is observed as if “outside” (similarly to a phenomenological thermodynamic system observable only “outside” as a whole). The statistical approach to that “phenomenological thermodynamics” of quantummechanics implies Gibbs classes of equivalence of all states of the universe, furthermore re-presentable in Boltzmann’s manner implying general relativity properly … The meta-lesson is that the historical lesson can serve for future discoveries. (shrink)
The text is a continuation of the article of the same name published in the previous issue of Philosophical Alternatives. The philosophical interpretations of the Kochen- Specker theorem (1967) are considered. Einstein's principle regarding the,consubstantiality of inertia and gravity" (1918) allows of a parallel between descriptions of a physical micro-entity in relation to the macro-apparatus on the one hand, and of physical macro-entities in relation to the astronomical mega-entities on the other. The Bohmian interpretation ( 1952) of quantum (...)mechanics proposes that all quantum systems be interpreted as dissipative ones and that the theorem be thus derstood. The conclusion is that the continual representation, by force or (gravitational) field between parts interacting by means of it, of a system is equivalent to their mutual entanglement if representation is discrete. Gravity (force field) and entanglement are two different, correspondingly continual and discrete, images of a single common essence. General relativity can be interpreted as a superluminal generalization of special relativity. The postulate exists of an alleged obligatory difference between a model and reality in science and philosophy. It can also be deduced by interpreting a corollary of the heorem. On the other hand, quantummechanics, on the basis of this theorem and of V on Neumann's (1932), introduces the option that a model be entirely identified as the modeled reality and, therefore, that absolutely reality be recognized: this is a non-standard hypothesis in the epistemology of science. Thus, the true reality begins to be understood mathematically, i.e. in a Pythagorean manner, for its identification with its mathematical model. A few linked problems are highlighted: the role of the axiom of choice forcorrectly interpreting the theorem; whether the theorem can be considered an axiom; whether the theorem can be considered equivalent to the negation of the axiom. (shrink)
THE PRINCIPLE OF SUPERPOSITION. The need for a quantum theory Classical mechanics has been developed continuously from the time of Newton and applied to an ...
There is no paradox with Schrödinger’s cat in a realist interpretation. In particular, a closer look at the temporal aspect shows that the two macroscopic wave functions (alive and dead) of Schrödinger’s cat are not to be compared with two superposed parts of a microscopic quantum wave function.
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