David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
We investigate the validity of the field explanation of the wave function 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 wave function. This is also a consequence of protective measurement. If the wave function 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 wave function, 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 wave function 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 wave function, 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 wave function 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.
|Keywords||wave function de Broglie-Bohm theory Ψ-field mass and charge density protective measurement ergodic motion of particles many-worlds interpretation dynamical collapse theories|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Jeffrey A. Barrett (1995). The Distribution Postulate in Bohm's Theory. Topoi 14 (1):45-54.
Craig Callender & Robert Weingard (1994). The Bohmian Model of Quantum Cosmology. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:218 - 227.
V. Allori, S. Goldstein, R. Tumulka & N. Zanghi (2011). Many Worlds and Schrodinger's First Quantum Theory. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (1):1-27.
Sheldon Goldstein, Bohmian Mechanics. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Added to index2010-06-09
Total downloads214 ( #2,959 of 1,168,018 )
Recent downloads (6 months)13 ( #15,545 of 1,168,018 )
How can I increase my downloads?