Decoherence and the Copenhagen cut

Synthese 190 (16):3625-3649 (2013)
While it is widely agreed that decoherence will not solve the measurement problem, decoherence has been used to explain the “emergence of classicality” and to eliminate the need for a Copenhagen edict that some systems simply have to be treated as classical via a quantum-classical “cut”. I argue that decoherence still relies on such a cut. Decoherence accounts derive classicality only in virtue of their incompleteness, by omission of part of the entangled system of which the classical-appearing subsystem is a part. I argue that this omission is only justified by implicit classical assumptions that objectify a subsystem and are employed via either a traditional Copenhagen cut or a functionally equivalent imposition of separability on a system in a non-separable state. I argue that decoherence cannot derive classicality without assuming it in some other form, and I provide an analysis of when it is appropriate to make these otherwise implicit classical assumptions by adopting a minimalistic Copenhagen-style approach to measurement. Finally, I argue that, ironically, the conditions for making these assumptions may be better satisfied in standard measurement situations than in cases of environmental monitoring
Keywords Decoherence  Heisenberg cut  Copenhagen interpretation  Bohr  Measurement  Classical assumptions
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-012-0216-6
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References found in this work BETA
Jeffrey Bub (1998). Interpreting the Quantum World. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49 (4):637-641.
Kristian Camilleri (2009). A History of Entanglement: Decoherence and the Interpretation Problem. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 40 (4):290-302.

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