It is generally argued that if the wave-function in the de Broglie–Bohm theory is a physical field, it must be a field in configuration space. Nevertheless, it is possible to interpret the wave-function as a multi-field in three-dimensional space. This approach hasn’t received the attention yet it really deserves. The aim of this paper is threefold: first, we show that the wave-function is naturally and straightforwardly construed as a multi-field; second, we show why this (...) interpretation is superior to other interpretations discussed in the literature; third, we clarify common misconceptions. (shrink)
I argue that the wavefunction ontology for quantum mechanics is an undesirable ontology. This ontology holds that the fundamental space in which entities evolve is not three-dimensional, but instead 3N-dimensional, where N is the number of particles standardly thought to exist in three-dimensional space. I show that the state of three-dimensional objects does not supervene on the state of objects in 3N-dimensional space. I also show that the only way to guarantee the existence of the appropriate mental (...) states in the wavefunction ontology has undesirable metaphysical baggage: either mind/body dualism is true, or circumstances which we take to be logically possible turn out to be logically impossible. (shrink)
A century after the discovery of quantum mechanics, the meaning of quantum mechanics still remains elusive. This is largely due to the puzzling nature of the wavefunction, the central object in quantum mechanics. If we are realists about quantum mechanics, how should we understand the wavefunction? What does it represent? What is its physical meaning? Answering these questions would improve our understanding of what it means to be a realist about quantum mechanics. In this (...) survey article, I review and compare several realist interpretations of the wavefunction. They fall into three categories: ontological interpretations, nomological interpretations, and the sui generis interpretation. For simplicity, I will focus on non-relativistic quantum mechanics. (shrink)
In this paper, I critically assess different interpretations of Bohmian mechanics that are not committed to an ontology based on the wavefunction being an actual physical object that inhabits configuration space. More specifically, my aim is to explore the connection between the denial of configuration space realism and another interpretive debate that is specific to Bohmian mechanics: the quantum potential versus guidance approaches. Whereas defenders of the quantum potential approach to the theory claim that Bohmian mechanics is (...) better formulated as quasi-Newtonian, via the postulation of forces proportional to acceleration; advocates of the guidance approach defend the notion that the theory is essentially first-order and incorporates some concepts akin to those of Aristotelian physics. Here I analyze whether the desideratum of an interpretation of Bohmian mechanics that is both explanatorily adequate and not committed to configuration space realism favors one of these two approaches to the theory over the other. Contrary to some recent claims in the literature, I argue that the quasi-Newtonian approach based on the idea of a quantum potential does not come out the winner. (shrink)
We investigate the meaning of the wavefunction by analyzing the mass and charge density distributions of a quantum system. According to protective measurement, a charged quantum system has effective mass and charge density distributing in space, proportional to the square of the absolute value of its wavefunction. In a realistic interpretation, the wavefunction of a quantum system can be taken as a description of either a physical field or the ergodic motion (...) of a particle. The essential difference between a field and the ergodic motion of a particle lies in the property of simultaneity; a field exists throughout space simultaneously, whereas the ergodic motion of a particle exists throughout space in a time-divided way. If the wavefunction is a physical field, then the mass and charge density will be distributed in space simultaneously for a charged quantum system, and thus there will exist gravitational and electrostatic self-interactions of its wavefunction. This not only violates the superposition principle of quantum mechanics but also contradicts experimental observations. Thus the wavefunction cannot be a description of a physical field but a description of the ergodic motion of a particle. For the later there is only a localized particle with mass and charge at every instant, and thus there will not exist any self-interaction for the wavefunction. Which kind of ergodic motion of particles then? It is argued that the classical ergodic models, which assume continuous motion of particles, cannot be consistent with quantum mechanics. Based on the negative result, we suggest that the wavefunction is a description of the quantum motion of particles, which is random and discontinuous in nature. On this interpretation, the square of the absolute value of the wavefunction not only gives the probability of the particle being found in certain locations, but also gives the probability of the particle being there. We show that this new interpretation of the wavefunction provides a natural realistic alternative to the orthodox interpretation, and its implications for other realistic interpretations of quantum mechanics are also briefly discussed. (shrink)
The mathematical structure of realist quantum theories has given rise to a debate about how our ordinary 3-dimensional space is related to the 3N-dimensional configuration space on which the wavefunction is defined. Which of the two spaces is our (more) fundamental physical space? I review the debate between 3N-Fundamentalists and 3D-Fundamentalists and evaluate it based on three criteria. I argue that when we consider which view leads to a deeper understanding of the physical world, especially given the (...) deeper topological explanation from the unordered configurations to the Symmetrization Postulate, we have strong reasons in favor of 3D-Fundamentalism. I conclude that our evidence favors the view that our fundamental physical space in a quantum world is 3-dimensional rather than 3N-dimensional. I outline lines of future research where the evidential balance can be restored or reversed. Finally, I draw lessons from this case study to the debate about theoretical equivalence. (shrink)
In this paper I investigate, within the framework of realistic interpretations of the wavefunction in nonrelativistic quantum mechanics, the mathematical and physical nature of the wavefunction. I argue against the view that mathematically the wavefunction is a two-component scalar field on configuration space. First, I review how this view makes quantum mechanics non- Galilei invariant and yields the wrong classical limit. Moreover, I argue that interpreting the wavefunction as (...) a ray, in agreement many physicists, Galilei invariance is preserved. In addition, I discuss how the wavefunction 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 wavefunction. (shrink)
The main claim of the paper is that one can be ‘realist’ (in some sense) about quantum mechanics without requiring any form of realism about the wavefunction. We begin by discussing various forms of realism about the wavefunction, namely Albert’s configuration-space realism, Dürr Zanghi and Goldstein’s nomological realism about Ψ, Esfeld’s dispositional reading of Ψ Pusey Barrett and Rudolph’s realism about the quantum state. By discussing the articulation of these four positions, and their interrelation, (...) we conclude that instrumentalism about Ψ is by itself not sufficient to choose one over the other interpretations of quantum mechanics, thereby confirming in a different way the indetermination of the metaphysical interpretations of quantum mechanics. -/- Key words: . (shrink)
In this paper I review three different positions on the wavefunction, namely: nomological realism, dispositionalism, and configuration space realism by regarding as essential their capacity to account for the world of our experience. I conclude that the first two positions are committed to regard the wavefunction as an abstract entity. The third position will be shown to be a merely speculative attempt to derive a primitive ontology from a reified mathematical space. Without entering any (...) discussion about nominalism, I conclude that an elimination of abstract entities from one’s ontology commits one to instrumentalism about the wavefunction, a position that therefore is not as unmotivated as it has seemed to be to many philosophers. (shrink)
We show that the physical meaning of the wavefunction can be derived based on the established parts of quantum mechanics. It turns out that the wavefunction represents the state of random discontinuous motion of particles, and its modulus square determines the probability density of the particles appearing in certain positions in space.
The meaning of the wavefunction and its evolution are investigated. First, we argue that the wavefunction in quantum mechanics is a description of random discontinuous motion of particles, and the modulus square of the wavefunction gives the probability density of the particles being in certain locations in space. Next, we show that the linear non-relativistic evolution of the wavefunction of an isolated system obeys the free Schrödinger equation due (...) to the requirements of spacetime translation invariance and relativistic invariance. Thirdly, we argue that the random discontinuous motion of particles may lead to a stochastic, nonlinear collapse evolution of the wavefunction. A discrete model of energy-conserved wavefunction collapse is proposed and shown consistent with existing experiments and our macroscopic experience. Besides, we also give a critical analysis of the de Broglie-Bohm theory, the many-worlds interpretation and other dynamical collapse theories, and briefly discuss the issues of unifying quantum mechanics and relativity. (shrink)
In quantum mechanics, the wavefunction of a N-body system is a mathematical function defined in a 3N-dimensional configuration space. We argue that wavefunction realism implies particle ontology when assuming: (1) the wavefunction of a N-body system describes N physical entities; (2) each triple of the 3N coordinates of a point in configuration space that relates to one physical entity represents a point in ordinary three-dimensional space. Moreover, the motion of particles (...) is random and discontinuous. (shrink)
This article analyzes the implications of protective measurement for the meaning of the wavefunction. According to protective measurement, a charged quantum system has mass and charge density proportional to the modulus square of its wavefunction. It is shown that the mass and charge density is not real but effective, formed by the ergodic motion of a localized particle with the total mass and charge of the system. Moreover, it is argued that the ergodic motion (...) is not continuous but discontinuous and random. This result suggests a new interpretation of the wavefunction, according to which the wavefunction is a description of random discontinuous motion of particles, and the modulus square of the wavefunction gives the probability density of the particles being in certain locations. It is shown that the suggested interpretation of the wavefunction disfavors the de Broglie-Bohm theory and the many-worlds interpretation but favors the dynamical collapse theories, and the random discontinuous motion of particles may provide an appropriate random source to collapse the wavefunction. (shrink)
In this paper I wish to connect the recent debate in the philosophy of quantum mechanics concerning the nature of the wavefunction to the historical debate in the philosophy of science regarding the tenability of scientific realism. Being realist about quantum mechanics is particularly challenging when focusing on the wavefunction. According to the wavefunction ontology approach, the wavefunction is a concrete physical entity. In contrast, according to an alternative (...) viewpoint, namely the primitive ontology approach, the wavefunction does not represent physical entities. In this paper, I argue that the primitive ontology approach can naturally be interpreted as an instance of the so-called ‘explanationism’ realism, which has been proposed as a response to the pessimistic-meta induction argument against scientific realism. If my arguments are sound, then one could conclude that: (1) contrarily to what is commonly though, if explanationism realism is a good response to the pessimistic-meta induction argument, it can be straightforwardly extended also to the quantum domain; (2) the primitive ontology approach is in better shape than the wavefunction ontology approach in resisting the pessimistic-meta induction argument against scientific realism. (shrink)
Scientific realism is the view that our best scientific theories can be regarded as (approximately) true. This is connected with the view that science, physics in particular, and metaphysics could (and should) inform one another: on the one hand, science tells us what the world is like, and on the other hand, metaphysical principles allow us to select between the various possible theories which are underdetermined by the data. Nonetheless, quantum mechanics has always been regarded as, at best, puzzling, if (...) not contradictory. As such, it has been considered for a long time at odds with scientific realism, and thus a naturalized quantum metaphysics was deemed impossible. Luckily, now we have many quantum theories compatible with a realist interpretation. However, scientific realists assumed that the wave-function, regarded as the principal ingredient of quantum theories, had to represent a physical entity, and because of this they struggled with quantum superpositions. In this paper I discuss a particular approach which makes quantum mechanics compatible with scientific realism without doing that. In this approach, the wave-function does not represent matter which is instead represented by some spatio-temporal entity dubbed the primitive ontology: point-particles, continuous matter fields, space-time events. I argue how within this framework one develops a distinctive theory-construction schema, which allows to perform a more informed theory evaluation by analyzing the various ingredients of the approach and their inter-relations. (shrink)
An analysis of the classical-quantum correspondence shows that it needs to identify a preferred class of coordinate systems, which defines a torsionless connection. One such class is that of the locally-geodesic systems, corresponding to the Levi-Civita connection. Another class, thus another connection, emerges if a preferred reference frame is available. From the classical Hamiltonian that rules geodesic motion, the correspondence yields two distinct Klein-Gordon equations and two distinct Dirac-type equations in a general metric, depending on the connection used. Each of (...) these two equations is generally-covariant, transforms the wavefunction as a four-vector, and differs from the Fock-Weyl gravitational Dirac equation (DFW equation). One obeys the equivalence principle in an often-accepted sense, whereas the DFW equation obeys that principle only in an extended sense. (shrink)
We indicate a new way in the solution of the problem of the quantum measurement . In past papers we used the well-known formalism of the density matrix using an algebraic approach in a two states quantum spin system S, considering the particular case of three anticommuting elements. We demonstrated that, during the wave collapse, we have a transition from the standard Clifford algebra, structured in its space and metrics, to the new spatial structure of the Clifford dihedral algebra. (...) This structured geometric transition, which occurs during the interaction of the S system with the macroscopic measurement system M, causes the destruction of the interferential factors. In the present paper we construct a detailed model of the (S+M) interaction evidencing the particular role of the Time Ordering in the (S+M) coupling since we have a time asymmetric interaction . We demonstrate that , during the measurement , the physical circumstance that the fermion creation and annihilation operators of the S system must be destroyed during such interaction has a fundamental role . (shrink)
Quantum physicists have made many attempts to solve the quantum measurement problem, but no solution seems to have received widespread acceptance. The time has come for a new approach. In Sense Perception and Reality: A Theory of Perceptual Relativity, Quantum Mechanics and the Observer Dependent Universe I suggest the quantum measurement problem is caused by a failure to understand that each species has its own sensory world and that when we say the wavefunction collapses and brings a (...) particle into existence we mean the particle is brought into existence in the human sensory world by the combined operation of the human sensory apparatus, particle detectors and the experimental set up. This is similar to the Copenhagen Interpretation suggested by Niels Bohr and others, but the understanding that the collapse of the wavefunction brings a particle into existence in the human sensory world removes the need for a dividing line between the quantum world and the macro world. The same rules can apply to both worlds and the ideas stated in this paper considerably strengthen the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics. (shrink)
The rise and fall of spectators performing “the wave” in a football stadium offers an analogy for how brain waves ripple across the cortex and lower brain. In both, the underlying actors (humans, neurons) serve multiple roles.
Effects associated in quantum mechanics with a divisible probability wave are explained as physically real consequences of the equal but opposite reaction of the apparatus as a particle is measured. Taking as illustration a Mach-Zehnder interferometer operating by refraction, it is shown that this reaction must comprise a fluctuation in the reradiation field of complementary effect to the changes occurring in the photon as it is projected into one or other path. The evolution of this fluctuation through the experiment (...) will explain the alternative states of the particle discerned in self interference, while the maintenance of equilibrium in the face of such fluctuations becomes the source of the Born probabilities. In this scheme, the probability wave is a mathematical artifact, epistemic rather than ontic, and akin in this respect to the simplifying constructions of geometrical optics. (shrink)
Background: how mind functions is subject to continuing scientific discussion. A simplistic approach says that, since no convincing way has been found to model subjective experience, mind cannot exist. A second holds that, since mind cannot be described by classical physics, it must be described by quantum physics. Another perspective concerns mind's hypothesized ability to interact with the world of quanta: it should be responsible for reduction of quantum wave packets; physics producing 'Objective Reduction' is postulated to form the (...) basis for mind-matter interactions. This presentation describes results derived from a new approach to these problems. It is based on well-established biology involving physics not previously applied to the fields of mind, or consciousness studies, that of critical feedback instability. -/- Methods: 'self-organized criticality' in complexity biology places system loci of control at critical instabilities, physical properties of which, including information properties, are presented. Their elucidation shows that they can model hitherto unexplained properties of experience. -/- Results: All results depend on physical properties of critical instabilities. First, at least one feed-back or feed-forward loop must have feedback gain, g = 1: information flows round the loop impress perfect images of system states back on themselves: they represent processes of perfect self-observation. This annihilates system quanta: system excitations are instability fluctuations, which cannot be quantized. Major results follow: -/- 1. Information vectors representing criticality states must include at least one attached information loop denoting self-observation. -/- 2. Such loop structures are attributed a function, 'registering the state's own existence', explaining -/- a. Subjective 'awareness of one's own presence' -/- b. How content-free states of awareness can be remembered (Jon Shear) -/- c. Subjective experience of time duration (Immanuel Kant) -/- d. The 'witness' property of experience – often mentioned by athletes 'in the zone' -/- e. The natural association between consciousness and intelligence -/- This novel, physically and biologically sound approach seems to satisfactorily model subjectivity. -/- Further significant results follow: -/- 1. Registration of external information in excited states of systems at criticality reduces external wave-packets: the new model exhibits 'Objective Reduction' of wave packets. -/- 2. High internal coherence (postulated by Domash & Penrose) leading to a. Non-separable information vector bundles. b. Non-reductive states (Chalmers's criterion for experience). -/- 3. Information that is: a. encoded in coherence negentropy; b. non-digitizable, and therefore c. computationally without digital equivalent (posited by Penrose). -/- Discussion and Conclusions: instability physics implies anharmonic motion, preventing excitation quantization, and totally different from the quantum physics of simple harmonic motion at stability. Instability excitations are different from anything hitherto conceived in information science. They can model aspects of mind never previously treated, including genuine subjectivity, objective reduction of wave-packets, and inter alia all properties given above. (shrink)
I critically evaluate Bickle’s version of scientific theory reduction. I press three main points. First, a small point, Bickle modifies the new wave account of reduction developed by Paul Churchland and Clifford Hooker by treating theories as set-theoretic structures. But that structuralist gloss seems to lose what was distinctive about the Churchland-Hooker account, namely, that a corrected theory must be specified entirely by terms and concepts drawn from the basic reducing theory. Set-theoretic structures are not terms or concepts but (...) the structures that they describe. Second, and more serious, a familiar problem for classical positivist account of reduction resurfaces within this newest wave of thinking, namely, commitment to property identities and inter-theoretic bridge laws (a problem I discussed at more length in "Collapse of the New Wave"). Indeed, this problem is exacerbated by Bickle’s conciliatory treatment of property plasticity, since he is willing to grant that a large number of special science terms denote multiply realized properties, at least if realistically construed. Still, in the end, Bickle sidesteps the reduction of properties by appealing to Hooker’s "function-to-structure token reduction." This is an interesting move with an intriguing concept of reduction. But problems remain. For, third, Bickle and Hooker's function-to-structure token reduction is actually a guised form of eliminative materialism. But that should be unacceptable since the position extends well beyond any modest revisionism for suspect items from a folk theory, say, in folk psychology or folk biology. Instead, it applies to functional terms and concepts employed throughout well-developed and explanatorily successful sciences. (shrink)
It is argued that the de Broglie wave is not the independent wave usually supposed, but the relativistically induced modulation of an underlying carrier wave that moves with the velocity of the particle. In the rest frame of the particle this underlying structure has the form of a standing wave. De Broglie also assumed the existence of this standing wave, but it would appear that he failed to notice its survival as a carrier wave (...) in the Lorentz transformed wave structure. Identified as a modulation, the de Broglie wave acquires a physically reasonable ontology, evidencing a more natural unity between matter and radiation than might otherwise be contemplated, and avoiding the necessity of recovering the particle velocity from a superposition of such waves. Because the Schrödinger and other wave equations for massive particles were conceived as equations for the de Broglie wave, this interpretation of the wave is also relevant to such issues in quantum mechanics as the meaning of the wavefunction, the nature of wave-particle duality, and the possibility of well-defined particle trajectories. (shrink)
I argue that space has three dimensions, and quantum mechanics does not show otherwise. Specifically, I argue that the mathematical wavefunction of quantum mechanics corresponds to a property that an N-particle system has in three-dimensional space.
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 wavefunction 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 quantum mechanics, the dynamic unity of the universe and the subsystems, and the alleged conflict between Humean supervenience and quantum entanglement. (shrink)
In a quantum universe with a strong arrow of time, it is standard to postulate that the initial wavefunction 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 wavefunction 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 Quantum Mechanics. According to this perspective, there is a natural choice for the initial quantum state of the universe, which is given by not a wavefunction 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)
We give a new argument supporting a gravitational role in quantum collapse. It is demonstrated that the discreteness of space-time, which results from the proper combination of quantum theory and general relativity, may inevitably result in the dynamical collapse of thewave function. Moreover, the minimum size of discrete space-time yields a plausible collapse criterion consistent with experiments. By assuming that the source to collapse the wavefunction is the inherent random motion of particles described by the (...) class='Hi'>wavefunction, we further propose a concrete model of wavefunction collapse in the discrete space-time. It is shown that the model is consistent with the existing experiments and macroscopic experiences. (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 wavefunction 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 quantum mechanics. I will also compare the present account to Mark Balaguer’s (1996) nominalization of quantum mechanics and discuss how it might bear on the debate about “wavefunction 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)
The aim of this paper is to summarize a particular approach of doing metaphysics through physics - the primitive ontology approach. The idea is that any fundamental physical theory has a well-defined architecture, to the foundation of which there is the primitive ontology, which represents matter. According to the framework provided by this approach when applied to quantum mechanics, the wavefunction is not suitable to represent matter. Rather, the wavefunction has a nomological character, given (...) that its role in the theory is to implement the law of evolution for the primitive ontology. (shrink)
This is basically a paper about artistic evaluation and how multiple interpretations can give rise to inconsistent and conflicting meanings. Images like Joel-Peter Witkin’s First Casting for Milo (2004) challenge the viewer to look closely, understand the formal properties at work, and then extract a meaning that ultimately asks, Is the model exploited or empowered? Is Karen Duffy, pictured here, vulnerable and “enfreaked” or is she potentially subversive, transgressive, and perhaps self-empowered? I will offer an argument in agreement with artist/author/ (...) performer Ann Millett-Gallant that favors the latter interpretation, but will augment and complicate the issue by also introducing a pointed question or two taken from a recent analysis by Cynthia Freeland on objectification. I judge the works by photographer Joel-Peter Witkin to be representations of disabled persons who are empowered through agency and pride, but I also worry about the risk of multiple, conflicting interpretations on the part of viewers who do not, or cannot, entertain such enlightened readings. Like second wave feminist views about pornography that depicted women in demeaning ways, or feminist critiques of Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party , Witkin’s photos can be judged as potentially offensive. But they are also objects of beauty—both in terms of aesthetic properties (they are magnificent studies in black and white, shadows, the human body, with many classical references) and because of the feeling of beauty and pride felt by the posers, who become performers of their own beauty and pride. I argue that beauty trumps offensiveness. Pride wins. But I’m not sure that everyone will agree. (shrink)
Ever since the early days of quantum mechanics it has been suggested that consciousness could be linked to the collapse of the wavefunction. However, no detailed account of such an interplay is usually provided. In this paper we present an objective collapse model where the collapse operator depends on integrated information, which has been argued to measure consciousness. By doing so, we construct an empirically adequate scheme in which superpositions of conscious states are dynamically suppressed. Unlike other (...) proposals in which “consciousness causes the collapse of the wavefunction,” our model is fully consistent with a materialistic view of the world and does not require the postulation of entities suspicious of laying outside of the quantum realm. (shrink)
It is shown that the superposed wavefunction of a measuring device, in each branch of which there is a definite measurement result, does not correspond to many mutually unobservable but equally real worlds, as the superposed wavefunction can be observed in our world by protective measurement.
We investigate the validity of the field explanation of the wavefunction by analyzing the mass and charge density distributions of a quantum system. It is argued that a charged quantum system has effective mass and charge density distributing in space, proportional to the square of the absolute value of its wavefunction. This is also a consequence of protective measurement. If the wavefunction is a physical field, then the mass and charge density (...) will be distributed in space simultaneously for a charged quantum system, and thus there will exist a remarkable electrostatic self-interaction of its wavefunction, though the gravitational self-interaction is too weak to be detected presently. This not only violates the superposition principle of quantum mechanics but also contradicts experimental observations. Thus we conclude that the wavefunction cannot be a description of a physical field. In the second part of this paper, we further analyze the implications of these results for the main realistic interpretations of quantum mechanics, especially for de Broglie-Bohm theory. It has been argued that de Broglie-Bohm theory gives the same predictions as quantum mechanics by means of quantum equilibrium hypothesis. However, this equivalence is based on the premise that the wavefunction, regarded as a Ψ-field, has no mass and charge density distributions, which turns out to be wrong according to the above results. For a charged quantum system, both Ψ-field and Bohmian particle have charge density distribution. This then results in the existence of an electrostatic self-interaction of the field and an electromagnetic interaction between the field and Bohmian particle, which contradicts both the predictions of quantum mechanics and experimental observations. Therefore, de Broglie-Bohm theory as a realistic interpretation of quantum mechanics is probably wrong. Lastly, we suggest that the wavefunction is a description of some sort of ergodic motion (e.g. random discontinuous motion) of particles, and we also briefly analyze the implications of this suggestion for other realistic interpretations of quantum mechanics including many-worlds interpretation and dynamical collapse theories. (shrink)
Under so-called primitive ontology approaches, in fully describing the history of a quantum system, one thereby attributes interesting properties to regions of spacetime. Primitive ontology approaches, which include some varieties of Bohmian mechanics and spontaneous collapse theories, are interesting in part because they hold out the hope that it should not be too difficult to make a connection between models of quantum mechanics and descriptions of histories of ordinary macroscopic bodies. But such approaches are dualistic, positing a quantum state as (...) well as ordinary material degrees of freedom. This paper lays out and compares some options that primitive ontologists have for making sense of the quantum state. (shrink)
The foundation of irreversible, probabilistic time -- the classical time of conscious observation -- is the reversible and deterministic time of the quantum wavefunction. The tendency in physics is to regard time in the abstract, a mere parameter devoid of inherent direction, implying that a concept of real time begins with irreversibility. In reality time has no need for irreversibility, and every invocation of time implies becoming or flow. Neither symmetry under time reversal, of which Newton was (...) well aware, nor the absence of an absolute parameter, as in relativity, negates temporal passage. Far from encapsulating time, irreversibility is a secondary property dependent on the emergence of distinct moments from the ceaseless presence charted by the wavefunction. (shrink)
The sequential patterns of the sixty-four hexagrams in the Yijing, variously known as I Ching (the Book of Changes) are structured to embrace the universe of possibilities, scenarios and probabilities. Each hexagram equates to each moment in space-time. With the arrow of time, a string of hexagrams represent a string of moments. A probability curve can be formed from the string of hexagrams. Physicists call this mathematical entity a wavefunction which is constantly changing and proliferating. A (...) class='Hi'>wavefunction is mathematical representation of all possibilities that can happen to an observed entity when it interacts with an observer. The form of the wavefunction can be calculated by the Schrodinger wave equation for any part of the range of moments. The string of hexagrams deal with probabilities. Physicists deal mainly with two wave forms and functions – dynamic wave that follows the Schrodinger wave equation and the second phenomenon is the “collapse of the wavefunction” which is abrupt and discontinuous. Which part of the wave collapses is a matter of probability and chance. The wave transition from the first to the second is call the quantum jump. This exhibited phenomenon is very similar to how the hexagram in the Yijing. When unobserved, the sequential formation of the hexagrams, moment by moment, form a probability wave but when it is observed, it abruptly collapses. It is the abrupt collapse of all the development aspects of the wavefunction except the one that actualizes and that particular hexagram is therefore the mathematical representation of the observed entity. What spurs all the changes is the energy that flows through the system and all the interacting waves are interconnected and interdependent and they form the energy fields. Emphasis is on the stringed hexagrams, each possesses a sophisticated mathematical structure, suggesting at the same time that it would hold great significance as an integral part of the whole of the wave or energy field. The subject of this paper is on the quantum- informational theoretical framework of Yijing. (shrink)
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 wavefunction 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. (shrink)
Many non-physicalists, including Chalmers, hold that the zombie argument succeeds in rejecting the physicalist view of consciousness. Some non-physicalists, including, again, Chalmers, hold that quantum collapse interactionism, i.e., the idea that non-physical consciousness causes collapse of the wavefunction in phenomena such as quantum measurement, is a viable interactionist solution for the problem of the relationship between the physical world and the non-physical consciousness. In this paper, I argue that if QCI is true, the zombie argument fails. In (...) particular, I show that if QCI is true, a zombie world physically identical to our world is impossible because there is at least one law of nature, a fundamental law of physics in particular, that exist only in the zombie world but not in our world. This shows that philosophers like Chalmers are committing an error in endorsing the zombie argument and QCI at the same time. (shrink)
In this paper, we evaluate the project of resurgence of metaphysics based on the pecularity of the quantum domain, a project that is supported by some contemporary philosophers. Beyond the general arguments against scientific realism that are still applicable here, we show that this project is faced with the three following issues that, we believe, make it unrealizable: (a) the problem raised by the realistic interpretation of the wavefunction, as a description of a ‘concrete physical fact’ of (...) the independent reality; (b) the lack of any experimental counterpart of the (non-local) hidden variables quantum theories, and, in some cases, their incompatibility with the quantum predictions; and (c) the fact that the key-properties of quantum phenomena, like their non-locality, essentially depend on the observables that are used for their description and cannot then be assigned to any ‘independent’ reality. (shrink)
For a long time it was believed that it was impossible to be realist about quantum mechanics. It took quite a while for the researchers in the foundations of physics, beginning with John Stuart Bell [Bell 1987], to convince others that such an alleged impossibility had no foundation. Nowadays there are several quantum theories that can be interpreted realistically, among which Bohmian mechanics, the GRW theory, and the many-worlds theory. The debate, though, is far from being over: in what respect (...) should we be realist regarding these theories? Two diff erent proposals have been made: on the one hand, there are those who insist on a direct ontological interpretation of the wavefunction as representing physical bodies, and on the other hand there are those who claim that quantum mechanics is not really about the wavefunction. In this paper we will present and discuss one proposal of the latter kind that focuses on the notion of primitive ontology. (shrink)
We review our approach to quantum mechanics 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 wavefunction collapse postulated in standard quantum theory. In this manner we reach the objective to expose a self-consistent version of quantum mechanics. In (...) detail we realize a bare bone skeleton of quantum mechanics 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 wavefunction of standard quantum mechanics by using only the Clifford algebraic approach. In this manner we obtain a full exposition of standard quantum mechanics using only the basic axioms of Clifford algebra. We also discuss more advanced features of quantum mechanics. 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 quantum mechanics 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 quantum mechanics. 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 quantum mechanics derives from logic. We show that indeterminism and quantum interference have their origin in the logic. Therefore, it seems that we may conclude that quantum mechanics, 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 quantum mechanics 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)
One of the most serious challenges (if not the most serious challenge) for interactive psycho-physical dualism (henceforth interactive dualism or ID) is the so-called ‘interaction problem’. It has two facets, one of which this article focuses on, namely the apparent tension between interactions of non-physical minds in the physical world and physical laws of nature. One family of approaches to alleviate or even dissolve this tension is based on a collapse solution (‘consciousness collapse/CC) of the measurement problem in quantum mechanics (...) (QM). The idea is that the mind brings about the collapse of a superposed wavefunction onto one of its eigenstates. Thus, it is claimed, can the mind change the course of things without violating any law figuring in physical theory. I will first show that this hope is premature because energy and momentum are probably not conserved in collapse processes, and that even if this can be dealt with, the violations are either severe or produce further ontological problems. Second, I point out several conceptual difficulties for interactionist CC. I will also present solutions for those problems, but it will become clear that those solutions come at a high cost. Third, I shall briefly list some empirical problems which make life even harder for interactionist CC. I conclude with remarks about why no- collapse interpretations of QM don’t help either and what the present study has shown is the real issue for ID: namely to find a plausible integrative view of dualistic mental causation and laws of nature. (shrink)
We investigate the implications of protective measurement for de Broglie-Bohm theory, mainly focusing on the interpretation of the wavefunction. It has been argued that the de Broglie-Bohm theory gives the same predictions as quantum mechanics by means of quantum equilibrium hypothesis. However, this equivalence is based on the premise that the wavefunction, regarded as a Ψ-field, has no mass and charge density distributions. But this premise turns out to be wrong according to protective measurement; (...) a charged quantum system has effective mass and charge density distributing in space, proportional to the square of the absolute value of its wavefunction. Then in the de Broglie-Bohm theory both Ψ-field and Bohmian particle will have charge density distribution for a charged quantum system. This will result in the existence of an electrostatic self-interaction of the field and an electromagnetic interaction between the field and Bohmian particle, which not only violates the superposition principle of quantum mechanics but also contradicts experimental observations. Therefore, the de Broglie-Bohm theory as a realistic interpretation of quantum mechanics is problematic according to protective measurement. Lastly, we briefly discuss the possibility that the wavefunction is not a physical field but a description of some sort of ergodic motion (e.g. random discontinuous motion) of particles. (shrink)
The primary quantum mechanical equation of motion entails that measurements typically do not have determinate outcomes, but result in superpositions of all possible outcomes. Dynamical collapse theories (e.g. GRW) supplement this equation with a stochastic Gaussian collapse function, intended to collapse the superposition of outcomes into one outcome. But the Gaussian collapses are imperfect in a way that leaves the superpositions intact. This is the tails problem. There are several ways of making this problem more precise. But many authors (...) dismiss the problem without considering the more severe formulations. Here I distinguish four distinct tails problems. The first (bare tails problem) and second (structured tails problem) exist in the literature. I argue that while the first is a pseudo-problem, the second has not been adequately addressed. The third (multiverse tails problem) reformulates the second to account for recently discovered dynamical consequences of collapse. Finally the fourth (tails problem dilemma) shows that solving the third by replacing the Gaussian with a non-Gaussian collapse function introduces new conflict with relativity theory. (shrink)
‘Space does not exist fundamentally: it emerges from a more fundamental non-spatial structure.’ This intriguing claim appears in various research programs in contemporary physics. Philosophers of physics tend to believe that this claim entails either that spacetime does not exist, or that it is derivatively real. In this article, I introduce and defend a third metaphysical interpretation of the claim: reductionism about space. I argue that, as a result, there is no need to subscribe to fundamentality, layers of reality and (...) emergence in order to analyse the constitution of space by non-spatial entities. It follows that space constitution, if borne out, does not provide empirical evidence in favour of a stratified, Aristotelian in spirit, metaphysics. The view will be described in relation to two particular research programs in contemporary physics: wavefunction realism and loop quantum gravity. (shrink)
A longstanding issue in attempts to understand the Everett (Many-Worlds) approach to quantum mechanics is the origin of the Born rule: why is the probability given by the square of the amplitude? Following Vaidman, we note that observers are in a position of self-locating uncertainty during the period between the branches of the wavefunction splitting via decoherence and the observer registering the outcome of the measurement. In this period it is tempting to regard each branch as equiprobable, (...) but we argue that the temptation should be resisted. Applying lessons from this analysis, we demonstrate (using methods similar to those of Zurek's envariance-based derivation) that the Born rule is the uniquely rational way of apportioning credence in Everettian quantum mechanics. In doing so, we rely on a single key principle: changes purely to the environment do not affect the probabilities one ought to assign to measurement outcomes in a local subsystem. We arrive at a method for assigning probabilities in cases that involve both classical and quantum self-locating uncertainty. This method provides unique answers to quantum Sleeping Beauty problems, as well as a well-defined procedure for calculating probabilities in quantum cosmological multiverses with multiple similar observers. (shrink)
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