Von Neumann's argument for the projection postulate

Philosophy of Science 33 (1/2):22-39 (1966)
Much of the recent discussion of problematic aspects of quantum-mechanical measurement centers around that feature of quantum theory which is called "the projection postulate." This is roughly the claim that a change of a certain sort occurs in the state of a physical system when a measurement is made on the system. In this paper an argument for the projection postulate due to von Neumann is considered. Attention is focused on trying to provide an understanding of the notion of "the state of a physical system" which is compatible with the argument von Neumann offers. An attempt is made to formulate the argument in terms of an objectivistic interpretation of probability concepts. It is seen that such an interpretation does not provide a suitable way of understanding the argument. An attempt is made to illustrate the source of this failure in terms of a non-quantum-mechanical example
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DOI 10.1086/288068
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