Because it fails to solve the wave-particle problem, orthodox quantum theory is obliged to be about observables and not quantumbeables. As a result the theory is imprecise, ambiguous, ad hoc, lacking in explanatory power, restricted in scope and resistant to unification. A new version of quantum theory is needed that is about quantumbeables.
The centerpiece of Jeffrey Bub's book Interpreting the Quantum World is a theorem (Bub and Clifton 1996) which correlates each member of a large class of no-collapse interpretations with some 'privileged observable'. In particular, the Bub-Clifton theorem determines the unique maximal sublattice L(R,e) of propositions such that (a) elements of L(R,e) can be simultaneously determinate in state e, (b) L(R,e) contains the spectral projections of the privileged observable R, and (c) L(R,e) is picked out by R and e alone. (...) In this paper, we explore the issue of maximal determinate sets of observables using the tools provided by the algebraic approach to quantum theory; and we call the resulting algebras of determinate observables, "maximal *beable* subalgebras". The capstone of our exploration is a generalized version of Bub and Clifton's theorem that applies to arbitrary (i.e., both mixed and pure) quantum states, to Hilbert spaces of arbitrary (i.e., both finite and infinite) dimension, and to arbitrary observables (including those with a continuous spectrum). Moreover, in the special case covered by the original Bub-Clifton theorem, our theorem reproduces their result under strictly weaker assumptions. This added level of generality permits us to treat several topics that were beyond the reach of the original Bub-Clifton result. In particular: (a) We show explicitly that a (non-dynamical) version of the Bohm theory can be obtained by granting privileged status to the position observable. (b) We show that Clifton's (1995) characterization of the Kochen-Dieks modal interpretation is a corollary of our theorem in the special case when the density operator is taken as the privileged observable. (c) We show that the 'uniqueness' demonstrated by Bub and Clifton is only guaranteed in certain special cases -- viz., when the quantum state is pure, or if the privileged observable is compatible with the density operator. We also use our results to articulate a solid mathematical foundation for certain tenets of the orthodox Copenhagen interpretation of quantum theory. For example, the uncertainty principle asserts that there are strict limits on the precision with which we can know, simultaneously, the position and momentum of a quantum-mechanical particle. However, the Copenhagen interpretation of this fact is not simply that a precision momentum measurement necessarily and uncontrollably disturbs the value of position, and vice-versa; but that position and momentum can never in reality be thought of as simultaneously determinate. We provide warrant for this stronger 'indeterminacy principle' by showing that there is no quantum state that assigns a sharp value to both position and momentum; and, a fortiori, that it is mathematically impossible to construct a beable algebra that contains both the position observable and the momentum observable. We also prove a generalized version of the Bub-Clifton theorem that applies to "singular" states (i.e., states that arise from non-countably-additive probability measures, such as Dirac delta functions). This result allows us to provide a mathematically rigorous reconstruction of Bohr's response to the original EPR argument -- which makes use of a singular state. In particular, we show that if the position of the first particle is privileged (e.g., as Bohr would do in a position measuring context), the position of the second particle acquires a definite value by virtue of lying in the corresponding maximal beable subalgebra. But then (by the indeterminacy principle) the momentum of the second particle is not a beable; and EPR's argument for the simultaneous reality of both position and momentum is undercut. (shrink)
Work on the central problems of the philosophy of science has led the author to attempt to create an intelligible version of quantum theory. The basic idea is that probabilistic transitions occur when new stationary or particle states arise as a result of inelastic collisions.
A recent rethinking of the early history of Quantum Mechanics deemed the late 1920s agreement on the equivalence of Matrix Mechanics and Wave Mechanics, prompted by Schrödinger’s 1926 proof, a myth. Schrödinger supposedly failed to achieve the goal of proving isomorphism of the mathematical structures of the two theories, while only later developments in the early 1930s, especially the work of mathematician John von Neumman (1932) provided sound proof of equivalence. The alleged agreement about the Copenhagen Interpretation, predicated to (...) a large extent on this equivalence, was deemed a myth as well. If such analysis is correct, it provides considerable evidence that, in its critical moments, the foundations of scientific practice might not live up to the minimal standards of rigor, as such standards are established in the practice of logic, mathematics, and mathematical physics, thereby prompting one to question the rationality of the practice of physics. In response, I argue that Schrödinger’s proof concerned primarily a domain-specific ontological equivalence, rather than the isomorphism. It stemmed initially from the agreement of the eigenvalues of Wave Mechanics and energy-states of Bohr’s Model that was discovered and published by Schrödinger in his First and Second Communications of 1926. Schrödinger demonstrated in this proof that the laws of motion arrived at by the method of Matrix Mechanics could be derived successfully from eigenfunctions as well (while he only outlined the reversed derivation of eigenfunctions from Matrix Mechanics, which was necessary for the proof of isomorphism of the two theories). This result was intended to demonstrate the domain-specific ontological equivalence of Matrix Mechanics and Wave Mechanics, with respect to the domain of Bohr’s atom. And although the full-fledged mathematico-logical equivalence of the theories did not seem out of the reach of existing theories and methods, Schrödinger never intended to fully explore such a possibility in his proof paper. In a further development of Quantum Mechanics, Bohr’s complementarity and Copenhagen Interpretation captured a more substantial convergence of the subsequently revised (in light of the experimental results) Wave and Matrix Mechanics. I argue that both the equivalence and Copenhagen Interpretation can be deemed myths if one predicates the philosophical and historical analysis on a narrow model of physical theory which disregards its historical context, and focuses exclusively on its formal aspects and the exploration of the logical models supposedly implicit in it. (shrink)
I discuss the quantum mechanical theory of consciousness and freewill offered by Stapp (1993, 1995, 2000, 2004). First I show that decoherence-based arguments do not work against this theory. Then discuss a number of problems with the theory: Stapp's separate accounts of consciousness and freewill are incompatible, the interpretations of QM they are tied to are questionable, the Zeno effect could not enable freewill as he suggests because weakness of will would then be ubiquitous, and the holism of measurement (...) in QM is not a good explanation of the unity of consciousness for essentially the same reason that local interactions may seem incapable to account for it. (shrink)
We argue that human consciousness may be a property of single electron in the brain. We suppose that each electron in the universe has at least primitive consciousness. Each electron subjectively “observes” its quantum dynamics (energy, momentum, “shape” of wave function) in the form of sensations and other mental phenomena. However, some electrons in neural cells have complex “human” consciousnesses due to complex quantum dynamics in complex organic environment. We discuss neurophysiological and physical aspects of this hypothesis and (...) show that: (1) single chemically active electron has enough informational capacity to “contain” the richness of human subjective experience; (2) quantum states of some electrons might be directly influenced by human sensory data and have direct influence upon human behavior in real brain; (3) main physical and philosophical drawbacks of “conventional” “quantum theories of consciousness” may be solved by our hypothesis without much changes in their conceptual basis. We do not suggest any “new physics”, and our neuroscientific assumptions are similar to those used by other proponents of “quantum consciousness”. However, our hypothesis suggests radical changes in our view on human and physical reality. (shrink)
_René Descartes proposed an interactive dualism that posits an interaction between the_ _mind of a human being and some of the matter located in his or her brain. Isaac Newton_ _subsequently formulated a physical theory based exclusively on the material/physical_ _part of Descartes’ ontology. Newton’s theory enforced the principle of the causal closure_ _of the physical, and the classical physics that grew out of it enforces this same principle._ _This classical theory purports to give, in principle, a complete deterministic account (...) of the_ _physically described properties of nature, expressed exclusively in terms of these_ _physically described properties themselves. Orthodox contemporary physical theory_ _violates this principle in two separate ways. First, it injects random elements into the_ _dynamics. Second, it allows, and also requires, abrupt probing actions that disrupt the_ _mechanistically described evolution of the physically described systems. These probing_ _actions are called Process 1 interventions by von Neumann. They are psycho-physical_ _events. Neither the content nor the timing of these events is determined either by any_ _known law, or by the afore-mentioned random elements. Orthodox quantum mechanics_ _considers these events to be instigated by choices made by conscious agents. In von_ _Neumann’s formulation of quantum theory each such intervention acts upon the state of_ _the brain of some conscious agent. Thus orthodox von Neumann contemporary physics_ _posits an interactive dualism similar to that of Descartes. But in this quantum version the_ _effects of the conscious choices upon our brains are controlled, in part, by the known_ _basic rules of quantum physics. This theoretically specified mind-brain connection allows_ _many basic psychological and neuropsychological findings associated with the apparent_ _physical effectiveness of our conscious volitional efforts to be explained in a causal and_ _practically useful way.. (shrink)
We show that consciousness may violate the basic quantum principle, according to which the nonorthogonal quantum states can't be distinguished. This implies that the physical world is not causally closed without consciousness, and consciousness is a fundamental property of matter.
The textbook presentation of quantum mechanics, in a nutshell, is this. The physical state of any isolated system evolves deterministically in accordance with Schrödinger's equation until a "measurement" of some physical magnitude M (e.g. position, energy, spin) is made. Restricting attention to the case where the values of M are discrete, the system's pre-measurement state-vector f is a linear combination, or "superposition", of vectors f1, f2,... that individually represent states that..
This paper offers a critical assessment of the current state of the debate about the identity and individuality of material objects. Its main aim, in particular, is to show that, in a sense to be carefully specified, the opposition between the Leibnizian ‘reductionist’ tradition, based on discernibility, and the sort of ‘primitivism’ that denies that facts of identity and individuality must be analysable has become outdated. In particular, it is argued that—contrary to a widespread consensus—‘naturalised’ metaphysics supports both the acceptability (...) of non-qualitatively grounded (both ‘contextual’ and intrinsic) identity and a pluralistic approach to individuality and individuation. A case study is offered that focuses on non-relativistic quantum mechanics, in the context of which primitivism about identity and individuality, rather than being regarded as unscientific, is on the contrary suggested to be preferable to the complicated forms of reductionism that have recently been proposed. More generally, by assuming a plausible form of anti-reductionism about scientific theories and domains, it is claimed that science can be regarded as compatible with, or even as suggesting, the existence of a series of equally plausible grades of individuality. The kind of individuality that prevails in a certain context and at a given level can be ascertained only on the basis of the specific scientific theory at hand. (shrink)
Rudyard Kipling, the famous English author of The 'Jungle Book', born in India, wrote one day these words: 'Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet'. In my Essay I show that Kipling was not completely right. I try to show the common ground between Buddhist philosophy and quantum physics. There is a surprising paralelism between the philosophical concept of reality articulated by Nagarjuna and the physical concept of reality implied by quantum (...) physics. For neither is there a fundamental core to reality; rather, reality concists of systems of interacting objects. Such concepts of reality cannot be reconciled with the substantial, subjective, holistic or instrumentalistic concepts of reality that underlie modern modes of thought. (shrink)
It has been widely thought that consciousness has no causal efficacy in the physical world. However, this may be not the case. In this paper, we show that a conscious being can distinguish definite perceptions and their quantum superpositions, while a physical measuring system without consciousness cannot distinguish such nonorthogonal quantum states. The possible existence of this distinct quantum physical effect of consciousness may have interesting implications for the science of consciousness. In particular, it suggests that consciousness (...) is not emergent but a fundamental feature of the universe. This may provide a possible quantum basis for panpsychism. (shrink)
René Descartes proposed an interactive dualism that posits an interaction between the mind of a human being and some of the matter located in his or her brain. Isaac Newton subsequently formulated a physical theory based exclusively on the material/physical part of Descartes’ ontology. Newton’s theory enforced the principle of the causal closure of the physical, and the classical physics that grew out of it enforces this same principle. This classical theory purports to give, in principle, a complete deterministic account (...) of the physically described properties of nature, expressed exclusively in terms of these physically described properties themselves. Orthodox contemporary physical theory violates this principle in two separate ways. First, it injects random elements into the dynamics. Second, it allows, and also requires, abrupt probing actions that disrupt the mechanistically described evolution of the physically described systems. These probing actions are called Process 1 interventions by von Neumann. They are psycho-physical events. Neither the content nor the timing of these events is determined either by any known law, or by the afore-mentioned random elements. Orthodox quantum mechanics considers these events to be instigated by choices made by conscious agents. In von Neumann’s formulation of quantum theory each such intervention acts upon the state of the brain of some conscious agent. Thus orthodox von Neumann contemporary physics posits an interactive dualism similar to that of Descartes. But in this quantum version the effects of the conscious choices upon our brains are controlled, in part, by the known basic rules of quantum physics. This theoretically specified mind-brain connection allows many basic psychological and neuropsychological findings associated with the apparent physical effectiveness of our conscious volitional efforts to be explained in a causal and practically useful way.. (shrink)
Quantum indeterminism may make available the option of an interactionism that does not have to pay the price of a force over and above those forces that are acknowledged in physics in order to explain how intentions can be physically effective. I show how this option might work in concrete terms and offer a criticism of it.
The central thesis of this paper is that contemporary theoretical physics is grounded in philosophical presuppositions that make it difficult to effectively address the problems of subject-object interaction and discontinuity inherent to quantum gravity. The core objectivist assumption implicit in relativity theory and quantum mechanics is uncovered and we see that, in string theory, this assumption leads into contradiction. To address this challenge, a new philosophical foundation is proposed based on the phenomenology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Martin Heidegger. (...) Then, through the application of qualitative topology and hypernumbers, phenomenological ideas about space, time, and dimension are brought into focus so as to provide specific solutions to the problems of force-field generation and unification. The phenomenological string theory that results speaks to the inconclusiveness of conventional string theory and resolves its core contradiction. (shrink)
I offer an account of how the quantum theory we have helps us explain so much. The account depends on a pragmatist interpretation of the theory: This takes a quantum state to serve solely as a source of sound advice to physically situated agents on the content and appropriate degree of belief about matters concerning which they are currently inevitably ignorant. The general account of how to use quantum states and probabilities to explain otherwise puzzling regularities is (...) then illustrated by showing how we can explain single particle interference phenomena, the stability of matter, and interference of Bose-Einstein condensates. Finally I note some open problems and relate this account to alternative approaches to explanation that emphasize the importance of causation, of unification, and of structure. (shrink)
One of the most prospective directions of study of C.G. Jung’s synchronicity phenomenon is reviewed considering the latest achievements of modern science. The attention is focused mainly on the quantum entanglement and related phenomena – quantum coherence and quantum superposition. It is shown that the quantum non-locality capable of solving the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox represents one of the most adequate physical mechanisms in terms of conformity with the Jung’s synchronicity hypothesis. An attempt is made on psychophysiological substantiation (...) of synchronicity within the context of molecular biology. An original concept is proposed, stating that biological molecules involved in cell division during mitosis and meiosis, particularly DNA may be considered material carriers of consciousness. This assumption may be formulated on the basis of phenomenology of Jung’s analytical psychology. (shrink)
b>: Replacing faulty nineteenth century physics by its orthodox quantum successor converts the earlier materialist conception of nature to a structure that does not enforce the principle of the causal closure of the physical. The quantum laws possess causal gaps, and these gaps are filled in actual scientific practice by inputs from our streams of consciousness. The form of the quantum laws permits and suggests the existence of an underlying reality that is built not on substances, but (...) on psychophysical events, and on objective tendencies for these events to occur. These events constitute intrinsic mind-brain connections. They are fundamental links between brain processes described in physical terms and events in our streams of consciousness. This quantum ontology confers upon our conscious intentions the causal efficacy assigned to them in actual scientific practice, and creates a substance- free interactive dualism. This putative quantum ontology has previously been shown to have impressive explanatory power in both psychology and neuroscience. Here it is used to reconcile the existence of physically efficacious conscious free will with causal anomalies of both the Libet and Einstein-Rosen-Podolsky types. (shrink)
The measurement problem of quantum theory is discussed, and the difficulty of trying to solve it within the confines of a local, Lorentz-invariant physics is emphasised. This leads to the obvious suggestion to seek a solution beyond physics, in particular, by introducing the concept of consciousness. The resulting dualistic model, in the natural form suggested by quantum theory, is shown to differ in several respects from the classical model of Descartes, and to suggest solutions to some of the (...) long-standing problems concerning the relation of consciousness to the physical world. (shrink)
This paper attempts to build a bridge between the interpretation of quantum theory and the philosophy of mind. In contrast to other such attempts, the bridge which this paper suggests does not consist in extending features of quantum theory to the philosophy of mind. The argument of this paper is that the discussion about a revision of the Cartesian tradition in current philosophy of mind is relevant to the interpretation of quantum theory: taking this discussion into account (...) sharpens up the task for the interpretation of quantum physics as far as the scope of what is known as quantum holism is concerned. In particular, considering this discussion makes out a strong case against the interpretation that considers quantum holism to be universal in the physical realm. (shrink)
Niels Bohr, founding father of modern atomic physics and quantum theory, was as original a philosopher as he was a physicist. This study explores several dimensions of Bohr's vision: the formulation of quantum theory and the problems associated with its interpretation, the notions of complementarity and correspondence, the debates with Einstein about objectivity and realism, and his sense of the infinite harmony of nature. Honner focuses on Bohr's epistemological lesson, the conviction that all our description of nature is (...) dependent on the words we use and the ways we can unambiguously use them. (shrink)
Replies are given to arguments advanced in this journal that claim to show that it is to nonlinear classical mechanics rather than quantum mechanics that one must look for the physical underpinnings of conscious ness..
In the Critique of Pure Reason Kant argues that the empirical knowledge of the world depends on a priori conditions of human sensibility and understanding, i. e., our capacities of sense experience and concept formation. The objective knowledge presupposes, on one hand, space and time as a priori conditions of sensibility and, on another hand, a priori judgments, like the principle of causality, as constitutive conditions of understanding. The problem is that in the XX century the physical science completely changed (...) how we conceive our knowledge of the world. Face to this new situation, what was changed in our classical reason? However, if the transcendental point of view is adopted, in the specific case of quantum mechanics, we have to wonder about the general conditions of this theory that make possible such knowledge, which predictive value is much more accurate than the classical physics. The aim of this work is firstly to show the Kantian implications on Bohr’s interpretation of quantum phenomena and secondly to provide an overview of the key elements for understanding the transcendental locus of ordinary language in the quantum mechanics context, in order to give support to a transcendental pragmatic position in the analysis of science. (shrink)
Rob Clifton was one of the most brilliant and productive researchers in the foundations and philosophy of quantum theory, who died tragically at the age of 38. Jeremy Butterfield and Hans Halvorson collect fourteen of his finest papers here, drawn from the latter part of his career (1995-2002), all of which combine exciting philosophical discussion with rigorous mathematical results. Many of these papers break wholly new ground, either conceptually or technically. Others resolve a vague controversy intoa precise technical problem, (...) which is then solved; still others solve an open problem that had been in the air for soem time. All of them show scientific and philosophical creativity of a high order, genuinely among the very best work in the field. The papers are grouped into four Parts. First come four papers about the modal interpretation of quantum mechanics. Part II comprises three papers on the foundations of algebraic quantum field theory, with an emphasis on entanglement and nonlocality. The two papers in Part III concern the concept of a particle in relativistic quantum theories. One paper analyses localization; the other analyses the Unruh effect (Rindler quanta) using the algebraic approach to quantum theory. Finally, Part IV contains striking new results about such central issues as complementarity, Bohr's reply to the EPR argument, and no hidden variables theorems; and ends with a philosophical survey of the field of quantum information. The volume includes a full bibliography of Clifton's publications. Quantum Entanglements offers inspiration and substantial reward to graduates and professionals in the foundations of physics, with a background in philosophy, physics, or mathematics. (shrink)
The Everett interpretation of quantum theory requires either the existence of an infinite number of conscious minds associated with each brain or the existence of one universal consciousness. Reasons are given, and the two ideas are compared.
It is usually taken for granted that orthodox quantum theory poses a serious problem for scientific realism, in that the theory is empirically extraordinarily successful, and yet has instrumentalism built into it. This paper stand this view on its head. I argue that orthodox quantum theory suffers from a number of serious (if not always noticed) defects precisely because of its inbuilt instrumentalism. This defective character of orthdoox quantum theory thus undermines instrumentalism, and supports scientific realism. I (...) go on to consider whether there is here the basis of a general argument against instrumentalism. (shrink)
There have been suggestions that the unity of consciousness may be related to the kind of holism depicted only in quantum physics. This argument will be clarified and strengthened. It requires the brain to contain a quantum system with the right properties — a Bose-Einstein condensate. It probably does contain one such system, as both theory and experiment have indicated. In fact, we cannot pay full attention to a quantum whole and its parts simultaneously, though we may (...) oscillate between the two. In a quantum theory of consciousness, emergent meanings arise as an inevitable consequence of Heisenberg''s Uncertainty Principle. (shrink)
Quantum field theory (QFT) combines quantum mechanics with Einstein's special theory of relativity and underlies elementary particle physics. This book presents a philosophical analysis of QFT. It is the first treatise in which the philosophies of space-time, quantum phenomena, and particle interactions are encompassed in a unified framework. Describing the physics in nontechnical terms, and schematically illustrating complex ideas, the book also serves as an introduction to fundamental physical theories. The philosophical interpretation both upholds the reality of (...) the quantum world and acknowledges the irreducible cognitive elements in its representation. The interpretation is based on an analysis of our ways of thinking as the are embedded in the logical structure of QFT. The author argues that philosophical categories are significant only if they play active and essential roles in our knowledge and hence constitute part of the theories in actual use. Thus she regards physical theories as primary, extracts their categorical structure, and uses it to rethink key philosophical questions. Among the questions this book tries to answer are: What are the quantum properties independent of measurements? How do we refer to individual things in a continuous field? How do theories relate to objects? What are the general conditions of the world and of our ways of thinking that make possible our knowledge of the microscopic realm, which is so intangible and counterintuitive? As a penetrating analysis of vital themes in contemporary science, the book will engage the interest of students and professionals in physics and philosophy alike. (shrink)
An account is given of a recent proposal to complete modern quantum theory by adding a characterisation of consciousness. The resulting theory is applied to give mechanisms for typical parapsychological phenomena, and ways of testing it are discussed.
In Process and Reality and other works, Alfred North Whitehead struggled to come to terms with the impact the new science of quantum mechanics would have on metaphysics.This ambitious book is the first extended analysis of the intricate relationships between relativity theory, quantum mechanics, and Whitehead's cosmology. Michael Epperson illuminates the intersection of science and philosophy in Whitehead's work-and details Whitehead's attempts to fashion an ontology coherent with quantum anomalies.Including a nonspecialist introduction to quantum mechanics, Epperson (...) adds an essential new dimension to our understanding of Whitehead-and of the constantly enriching encounter between science and philosophy in our century. (shrink)
In this new edition, Arthur Fine looks at Einstein's philosophy of science and develops his own views on realism. A new Afterword discusses the reaction to Fine's own theory. "What really led Einstein . . . to renounce the new quantum order? For those interested in this question, this book is compulsory reading."--Harvey R. Brown, American Journal of Physics "Fine has successfully combined a historical account of Einstein's philosophical views on quantum mechanics and a discussion of some of (...) the philosophical problems associated with the interpretation of quantum theory with a discussion of some of the contemporary questions concerning realism and antirealism. . . . Clear, thoughtful, [and] well-written."--Allan Franklin, Annals of Science "Attempts, from Einstein's published works and unpublished correspondence, to piece together a coherent picture of 'Einstein realism.' Especially illuminating are the letters between Einstein and fellow realist Schrodinger, as the latter was composing his famous 'Schrodinger-Cat' paper."--Nick Herbert, New Scientist "Beautifully clear. . . . Fine's analysis is penetrating, his own results original and important. . . . The book is a splendid combination of new ways to think about quantum mechanics, about realism, and about Einstein's views of both."--Nancy Cartwright, Isis. (shrink)
This paper tries to get a grip on two seemingly conflicting intuitions about reductionism in quantum mechanics. On the one hand it is received wisdom that quantum mechanics puts an end to ‘reductionism’. Quantum-entanglement is responsible for such features of quantum mechanics as holism, the failure of supervenience and emergence. While I agree with these claims I will argue that it is only part of the story. Quantum mechanics provides us with thorough-going reductionist explanations. I (...) will distinguish two kinds of micro-explanation (or micro-‘reduction’). I will argue that even though quantum-entanglement provides an example for the failure of one kind of micro-explanation it does not affect the other. Contrary to a recent paper by Kronz and Tiehen I claim that the explanation of the dynamics of quantum mechanical systems is just as reductionist as it used to be in classical mechanics. (shrink)
This paper attempts an interpretation of Everett's relative state formulation of quantum mechanics that avoids the commitment to new metaphysical entities like âworldsâ or âmindsâ. Starting from Everett's quantum mechanical model of an observer, it is argued that an observer's belief to be in an eigenstate of the measurement (corresponding to the observation of a well-defined measurement outcome) is consistent with the fact that she objectively is in a superposition of such states. Subjective states corresponding to such beliefs (...) are constructed. From an analysis of these subjective states and their dynamics it is argued that Everett's pure wave mechanics is subjectively consistent with von Neumann's classical formulation of quantum mechanics. It follows from the argument that the objective state of a system is in principle unobservable. Nevertheless, an adequate concept of empirical reality can be constructed. (shrink)
Aiming to unravel the mystery of quantum mechanics, this book is concerned with questions about action-at-a-distance, holism, and whether quantum mechanics gives a complete account of microphysical reality. With rigorous arguments and clear thinking, the author provides an introduction to the philosophy of physics.
As is well known, Einstein was dissatisfied with the foundation of quantum theory and sought to find a basis for it that would have satisfied his need for a causal explanation. In this paper this abandoned idea is investigated. It is found that it is mathematically not dead at all. More in particular: a quantum mechanical U(1) gauge invariant Dirac equation can be derived from Einstein's gravity field equations. We ask ourselves what it means for physics, the history (...) of physics and for the actual discussion on foundations. (shrink)
What is quantum mechanics about? The most natural way to interpret quantum mechanics realistically as a theory about the world might seem to be what is called wave function ontology: the view according to which the wave function mathematically represents in a complete way fundamentally all there is in the world. Erwin Schroedinger was one of the first proponents of such a view, but he dismissed it after he realized it led to macroscopic superpositions (if the wave function (...) evolves in time according to the equations that has his name). The Many-Worlds interpretation1 accepts the existence of such macroscopic superpositions but takes it that they can never be observed. Superposed objects and superposed observers split together in different worlds of the type of the one we appear to live in. For these who, like Schroedinger, think that macroscopic superpositions are a problem, the common wisdom is that there are two alternative views: "Either the wave function, as given by the Schroedinger equation, is not everything, or is not right" [Bell 1987]. The deBroglie-Bohm theory, now commonly known as Bohmian Mechanics, takes the first option: the description provided by a Schroedinger-evolving wave function is supplemented by the information provided by the configuration of the particles. The second possibility consists in assuming that, while the wave function provides the complete description of the system, its temporal evolution is not given by the Schroedinger equation. Rather, the usual Schroedinger evolution is interrupted by random and sudden "collapses". The most promising theory of this kind is the GRW theory, named after the scientists that developed it: Gian Carlo Ghirardi, Alberto Rimini and Tullio Weber.. It seems tempting to think that in GRW we can take the wave function ontologically seriously and avoid the problem of macroscopic superpositions just allowing for quantum jumps. In this paper we will argue that such "bare" wave function ontology is not possible, neither for GRW nor for any other quantum theory: quantum mechanics cannot be about the wave function simpliciter. That is, we need more structure than the one provided by the wave function. As a response, quantum theories about the wave function can be supplemented with structure, without taking it as an additional ontology. We argue in reply that such "dressed-up" versions of wave function ontology are not sensible, since they compromise the acceptability of the theory as a satisfactory fundamental physical theory. Therefore we maintain that: 1- Strictly speaking, it is not possible to interpret quantum theories as theories about the wave function; 2- Even if the wave function is supplemented by additional non-ontological structures, there are reasons not to take the resulting theory seriously. Moreover, we will argue that any of the traditional responses to the measurement problem of quantum mechanics (Bohmian mechanics, GRW and Many-Worlds), contrarily to what commonly believed, share a common structure. That is, we maintain that: 3- All quantum theories should be regarded as theories in which physical objects are constituted by a primitive ontology. The primitive ontology is mathematically represented in the theory by a mathematical entity in three-dimensional space, or space-time. (shrink)
The basic theme of Popper's philosophy--that something can come from nothing--is related to the present situation in physical theory. Popper carries his investigation right to the center of current debate in quantum physics. He proposes an interpretation of physics--and indeed an entire cosmology--which is realist, conjectural, deductivist and objectivist, anti-positivist, and anti-instrumentalist. He stresses understanding, reminding us that our ignorance grows faster than our conjectural knowledge.
The objective of this report is twofold. In the first place it aims to demonstrate that a four-dimensional local U(1) gauge invariant relativistic quantum mechanical Dirac-type equation is derivable from the equations for the classical electromagnetic field. In the second place, the transformational consequences of this local U(1) invariance are used to obtain solutions of different Maxwell equations.
This paper investigates the possibiity of developing a fully micro realistic version of elementary quantum mechanics. I argue that it is highly desirable to develop such a version of quantum mechanics, and that the failure of all current versions and interpretations of quantum mechanics to constitute micro realistic theories is at the root of many of the interpretative problems associated with quantum mechanics, in particular the problem of measurement. I put forward a propensity micro realistic version (...) of quantum mechanics, and suggest how it might be possible to discriminate, on expermental grounds, between this theory and other versions of quantum mechanics. (shrink)
Recent years saw the rise of an interest in the roles and significance of thought experiments in different areas of human thinking. Heisenberg's gamma ray microscope is no doubt one of the most famous examples of a thought experiment in physics. Nevertheless, this particular thought experiment has not received much detailed attention in the philosophical literature on thought experiments up to date, maybe because of its often claimed inadequacies. In this paper, I try to do two things: to provide an (...) interesting interpretation of the roles played by Heisenberg's gamma ray microscope in interpreting quantum mechanics – partly based on Thomas Kuhn’s views on the function of thought experiments – and to contribute to the ongoing discussions on the roles and significance of thought experiments in physics. (shrink)
Contrary to Bell’s theorem it is demonstrated that with the use of classical probability theory the quantum correlation can be approximated. Hence, one may not conclude from experiment that all local hidden variable theories are ruled out by a violation of inequality result.
Carlo Rovelli's relational interpretation of quantum mechanics holds that a system's states or the values of its physical quantities as normally conceived only exist relative to a cut between a system and an observer or measuring instrument. Furthermore, on Rovelli's account, the appearance of determinate observations from pure quantum superpositions happens only relative to the interaction of the system and observer. Jeffrey Barrett () has pointed out that certain relational interpretations suffer from what we might call the ‘determinacy (...) problem', but Barrett misclassifies Rovelli's interpretation by lumping it in with Mermin's view, as Rovelli's view is quite different and has resources to escape the particular criticisms that Barrett makes of Mermin's view. Rovelli's interpretation still leaves us with a paradox having to do with the determinacy of measurement outcomes, which can be accepted only if we are willing to give up on certain elements of the ‘absolute’ view of the world. (shrink)
This paper deals with the version of Jung’s synchronicity in which correlation between mental processes of two different persons takes place not just in the case when at a certain moment of time the subjects are located at a distance from each other, but also in the case when both persons are alternately (and sequentially, one after the other) located in the same point of space. In this case, a certain period of time lapses between manifestation of mental process in (...) one person and manifestation of mental process in the other person. Transmission of information from one person to the other via classical communication channel is ruled out. The author proposes a hypothesis, whereby such manifestation of synchronicity may become possible thanks to existence of quantum entanglement between the past and the future within the light cone. This hypothesis is based on the latest perception of the nature of quantum vacuum. (shrink)
Quantum Theory and the Flight from Realism is a critical introduction to the long-standing debate concerning the conceptual foundations of quantum mechanics, and the problems it has posed for physicists and philosophers from Einstein to the present. Quantum theory has been a major influence on postmodernism, and presents significant challenges for realists. Clarifying these debates for the non-specialist, Christopher Norris examines the premises of orthodox quantum theory and its impact on various philosophical developments. He subjects a (...) wide range of opponents and supporters of realism to a high and equal level of scrutiny. Combining rigor and intellectual generosity, he draws out the merits and weaknesses from opposing arguments. (shrink)
For nearly six decades, the conscious observer has played a central and essential rôle in quantum measurement theory. I outline some difficulties which the traditional account of measurement presents for material theories of mind before introducing a new development which promises to exorcise the ghost of consciousness from physics and relieve the cognitive scientist of the burden of explaining why certain material structures reduce wavefunctions by virtue of being conscious while others do not. The interactive decoherence of complex (...) class='Hi'>quantum systems reveals that the oddities and complexities of linear superposition and state vector reduction are irrelevant to computational aspects of the philosophy of mind and that many conclusions in related fields are ill founded. (shrink)
In the paper we will employ set theory to study the formal aspects of quantum mechanics without explicitly making use of space-time. It is demonstrated that von Neuman and Zermelo numeral sets, previously efectively used in the explanation of Hardy’s paradox, follow a Heisenberg quantum form. Here monadic union plays the role of time derivative. The logical counterpart of monadic union plays the part of the Hamiltonian in the commutator. The use of numerals and monadic union in the (...) classical probability resolution of Hardy’s paradox  is supported with the present derivation of a commutator for sets. (shrink)
In this paper I put forward a new micro realistic, 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)
In this paper I do a bit of theoretical work in neo-Bohrian interpretation quantum mechanics, making explicit and clarifying a concept that does important work in Bohr's own discussions of quantum theory and complementarity, and has been discussed by certain of Bohr's contemporary interpreters. It is not an attempt at Bohr exegesis, but an attempt to make a contribution to foundations of physics that begins from Bohr's suggestive and insightful, though sometimes murky, ideas.
David Wallace has given a decision-theoretic argument for the Born Rule in the context of Everettian quantum mechanics (EQM). This approach promises to resolve some long-standing problems with probability in EQM, but it has faced plenty of resistance. One kind of objection (the ‘Incoherence problem’) charges that the requisite notion of decision-theoretic uncertainty is unavailable in the Everettian picture, so that the argument cannot gain any traction; another kind of objection grants the proof’s applicability and targets the premises. In (...) this paper I propose some novel principles connecting the physics of EQM with the metaphysics of modality, and argue that in the resulting framework the Incoherence problem does not arise. These principles also help to justify one of the most controversial premises of Wallace’s argument, ‘branching indifference’. Absent any a priori reason to align the metaphysics with the physics in some other way, we can adopt the proposed principles on grounds of theoretical utility. The upshot is that Everettians can, after all, make clear sense of objective probability. (shrink)
According to orthodox quantum mechanics, 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 quantum mechanics. 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)
In this paper, possible objections to the propensity microrealistic version of quantum mechanics proposed in Part I are answered. This version of quantum mechanics is compared with the statistical, particle microrealistic viewpoint, and a crucial experiment is proposed designed to distinguish between these to microrealistic versions of quantum mechanics.
Written by an internationally renowned philosopher, this volume offers a three-part philosophical interpretation of quantum physics. The first part reviews the basics of quantum mechanics, outlining their philosophical interpretation and summarizing their results; the second outlines the mathematical methods of quantum mechanics; and the third section blends the philosophical ideas of the first part and the mathematical formulations of the second part to develop a variety of interpretations of quantum mechanics. 1944 edition.
This book gives a comprehensive account of SchrÃ¶dinger's successive interpretations of quantum mechanics, culminating in their final synthesis in the 1950s. SchrÃ¶dinger's original position in the realism-anti-realism debate is analyzed. His views on the wave-corpuscle issue are contrasted with Bohr's, and his conceptions of the measurement problem are systematically compared with current no-collapse interpretations.
We contrast person-centered categories with objective categories related to physics: consciousness vs. mechanism, observer vs. observed, agency vs. event causation. semantics vs. syntax, beliefs and desires vs. dispositions. How are these two sets of categories related? This talk will discuss just one such dichotomy: consciousness vs. mechanism. Two extreme views are dualism and reductionism. An intermediate view is emergence. Here, consciousness is part of the natural order (as against dualism), but consciousness is not definable only in terms of physical mass, (...) length, and time (as against reductionism). There are several detailed theories of emergence. One is based on the Great Chain of Being and on organic evolutionary hierarchy. The theory here is based instead on the concept of relational holism in quantum mechanics. The resulting brain model has two interacting systems: a computational system and a quantum system (a Bose-Einstein condensate), perhaps interacting via EEG waves. Thus, we need both person-centered and matter-centered categories to describe human beings. Some possible experimental tests are discussed. (shrink)
A fully micro realistic, 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 (rather than with measuring instruments). 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 (i) there are strong general reasons for (...) preferring quantum "smearon" theory to orthodox quantum theory; (ii) 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)
After introducing the empiricist point of view in philosophy of science, and the concepts and methods of the semantic approach to scientific theories, van Fraassen discusses quantum theory in three stages. He first examines the question of whether and how empirical phenomena require a non-classical theory, and what sort of theory they require. He then discusses the mathematical foundations of quantum theory with special reference to developments in the modelling of interaction, composite systems, and measurement. Finally, the author (...) broaches the main questions of interpretation. After offering a critique of earlier interpretations, he develops a new one--the modal interpretation--which attempts to stay close to the original Copenhagen ideas without implying a radical incompleteness in quantum theory. He again gives special attention to the character of composite, many-body systems and especially to the peculiar character of assemblies of identical particles in quantum statistics. (shrink)
This volume introduces some of the basic philosophical and conceptual questions underlying the formulation of quantum mechanics, one of the most baffling and far-reaching aspects of modern physics. The book consists of articles by leading thinkers in this field, who have been inspired by the profound work of the late John Bell. Some of the deepest issues concerning the nature of physical reality are debated, including the theory of physical measurements, how to test quantum mechanics, and how classical (...) and quantum physics are related. This book will be of interest to students with a background in quantum physics, who wish to explore in more detail its philosophical aspects, practising scientists who are not content with blindly applying the rules of quantum mechanics, and anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the philosophy of physics. (shrink)
Quantum field theory, one of the most rapidly developing areas of contemporary physics, is full of problems of great theoretical and philosophical interest. This collection of essays is the first systematic exploration of the nature and implications of quantum field theory. The contributors discuss quantum field theory from a wide variety of standpoints, exploring in detail its mathematical structure and metaphysical and methodological implications.
A new version of quantum theory is proposed, according to which probabilistic events occur whenever new statioinary or bound states are created as a result of inelastic collisions. The new theory recovers the experimental success of orthodox quantum theory, but differs form the orthodox theory for as yet unperformed experiments.
This book is about how to understand quantum mechanics by means of a modal interpretation. Modal interpretations provide a general framework within which quantum mechanics can be considered as a theory that describes reality in terms of physical systems possessing definite properties. Quantum mechanics is standardly understood to be a theory about probabilities with which measurements have outcomes. Modal interpretations are relatively new attempts to present quantum mechanics as a theory which, like other physical theories, describes (...) an observer-independent reality. In this book, Pieter Vermaas summarises the results of this work. The book will be of great value to undergraduates, graduate students and researchers in philosophy of science, and physics departments with an interest in learning about modal interpretations of quantum mechanics. (shrink)
E. Schrödinger's ideas on interpreting quantum mechanics have been recently re-examined by historians and revived by philosophers of quantum mechanics. Such recent re-evaluations have focused on Schrödinger's retention of space–time continuity and his relinquishment of the corpuscularian understanding of microphysical systems. Several of these historical re-examinations claim that Schrödinger refrained from pursuing his 1926 wave-mechanical interpretation of quantum mechanics under pressure from the Copenhagen and Göttingen physicists, who misinterpreted his ideas in their dogmatic pursuit of the complementarity (...) doctrine and the principle of uncertainty. My analysis points to very different reasons for Schrödinger's decision and, accordingly, to a rather different understanding of the dialogue between Schrödinger and N. Bohr, who refuted Schrödinger's arguments. Bohr's critique of Schrödinger's arguments predominantly focused on the results of experiments on the scattering of electrons performed by Bothe and Geiger, and by Compton and Simon. Although he shared Schrödinger's rejection of full-blown classical entities, Bohr argued that these results demonstrated the corpuscular nature of atomic interactions. I argue that it was Schrödinger's agreement with Bohr's critique, not the dogmatic pressure, which led him to give up pursuing his interpretation for 7 yr. Bohr's critique reflected his deep understanding of Schrödinger's ideas and motivated, at least in part, his own pursuit of his complementarity principle. However, in 1935 Schrödinger revived and reformulated the wave-mechanical interpretation. The revival reflected N. F. Mott's novel wave-mechanical treatment of particle-like properties. R. Shankland's experiment, which demonstrated an apparent conflict with the results of Bothe–Geiger and Compton–Simon, may have been additional motivation for the revival. Subsequent measurements have proven the original experimental results accurate, and I argue that Schrödinger may have perceived even the reformulated wave-mechanical approach as too tenuous in light of Bohr's critique. (shrink)
In this transdisciplinary article which stems from philosophical considerations (that depart from phenomenology -after Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger and Rosen- and Hegelian dialectics), we develop a conception based on topological (the Moebius surface and the Klein bottle) and geometrical considerations (based on torsion and non-orientability of manifolds), and multivalued logics which we develop into a unified world conception that surmounts the Cartesian cut and Aristotelian logic. The role of torsion appears in a self-referential construction of space and time, which will be further (...) related to the commutator of the True and False operators of matrix logic, still with a quantum superposed state related to a Moebius surface, and as the physical field at the basis of Spencer-Brown’s primitive distinction in the protologic of the calculus of distinction. In this setting, paradox, self-reference, depth, time and space, higher-order non-dual logic, perception, spin and a time operator, the Klein bottle, hypernumbers due to Mus`es which include non-trivial square roots of ±1 and in particular non-trivial nilpotents, quantum field operators, the transformation of cognition to spin for two-state quantum systems, are found to be keenly interwoven in a world conception compatible with the philosophical approach taken for basis of this article. The Klein bottle is found not only to be the topological in-formation for self-reference and paradox whose logical counterpart in the calculus of indications are the paradoxical imaginary time waves, but also a classicalquantum transformer (Hadamard’s gate in quantum computation) which is indispensable to be able to obtain a complete multivalued logical system, and still to generate the matrix extension of classical connective Boolean logic. We further find that the multivalued logic that stems from considering the paradoxical equation in the calculus of distinctions, and in particular, the imaginary solutions to this equation, generates the matrix logic which supersedes the classical logic of connectives and which has for particular subtheories fuzzy and quantum logics. Thus, from a primitive distinction in the vacuum plane and the axioms of the calculus of distinction, we can derive by incorporating paradox, the world conception succintly described above. (shrink)
Contrary to the widespread belief, the problem of the emergence of classical mechanics from quantum mechanics is still open. In spite of many results on the ¯h → 0 asymptotics, it is not yet clear how to explain within standard quantum mechanics the classical motion of macroscopic bodies. In this paper we shall analyze special cases of classical behavior in the framework of a precise formulation of quantum mechanics, Bohmian mechanics, which contains in its own structure the (...) possibility of describing real objects in an observer-independent way. (shrink)
Prologue: Stormclouds : London, April 1900 -- Quantum of action: The most strenuous work of my life : Berlin, December 1900 ; Annus Mirabilis : Bern, March 1905 ; A little bit of reality : Manchester, April 1913 ; la Comédie Française : Paris, September 1923 ; A strangely beautiful interior : Helgoland, June 1925 ; The self-rotating electron : Leiden, November 1925 ; A late erotic outburst : Swiss Alps, Christmas 1925 -- Quantum interpretation: Ghost field : (...) Oxford, August 1926 ; All this damned quantum jumping : Copenhagen, October 1926 ; The uncertainty principle : Copenhagen, February 1927 ; The 'Kopenhagener geist' : Copenhagen, June 1927 ; There is no quantum world : Lake Como, September 1927 -- Quantum debate: The debate commences : Brussels, October 1927 ; An absolute wonder : Cambridge, Christmas 1927 ; The photon box : Brussels, October 1930 ; A bolt from the blue : Princeton, May 1935 ; The paradox of Schrödinger's cat : Oxford, August 1935 -- Interlude: The first war of physics : Christmas 1938-August 1945 -- Quantum fields: Shelter Island : Long Island, June 1947 ; Pictorial semi-vision thing : New York, January 1949 ; A beautiful idea : Princeton, February 1954 ; Some strangeness in the proportion : Rochester, August 1960 ; Three quarks for Muster Mark! : New York, March 1963 ; The 'God particle' : Cambridge, Massachusetts, Autumn 1967 -- Quantum particles: Deep inelastic scattering : Stanford, August 1968 ; Of charm and weak neutral currents : Harvard, February 1970 ; The magic of colour : Princeton/Harvard, April 1973 ; The November revolution : Long Island/Stanford, November 1974 ; Intermediate vector bosons : Geneva, January/June 1983 ; The standard model : Geneva, September 2003 -- Quantum reality: Hidden variable : Princeton, Spring 1951 ; Bertlmann's socks : Boston, September 1964 ; The Aspect experiments : Paris, September 1982 ; The quantum eraser : Baltimore, January 1999 ; Lab cats : Stony Brook/Delft, July 2000 ; The persistent illusion : Vienna, December 2006 -- Quantum cosmology: The wavefunction of the universe : Princeton, July 1966 ; Hawking radiation : Oxford, February 1974 ; The first superstring revolution : Aspen, August 1984 ; Quanta of space and time : Santa Barbara, February 1986 ; Crisis? What crisis? : Durham, Summer 1994 -- A quantum of solace? : Geneva, March 2010. (shrink)
Our conscious minds exist in the Universe, therefore they should be identified with physical states that are subject to physical laws. In classical theories of mind, the mental states are identified with brain states that satisfy the deterministic laws of classical mechanics. This approach, however, leads to insurmountable paradoxes such as epiphenomenal minds and illusionary free will. Alternatively, one may identify mental states with quantum states realized within the brain and try to resolve the above paradoxes using the standard (...) Hilbert space formalism of quantum mechanics. In this essay, we first show that identification of mind states with quantum states within the brain is biologically feasible, and then elaborating on the mathematical proofs of two quantum mechanical no-go theorems, we explain why quantum theory might have profound implications for the scientific understanding of one’s mental states, self identity, beliefs and free will. (shrink)
The most successful theory in all of science--and the basis of one third of our economy--says the strangest things about the world and about us. Can you believe that physical reality is created by our observation of it? Physicists were forced to this conclusion, the quantum enigma, by what they observed in their laboratories. Trying to understand the atom, physicists built quantum mechanics and found, to their embarrassment, that their theory intimately connects consciousness with the physical world. (...) class='Hi'>Quantum Enigma explores what that implies and why some founders of the theory became the foremost objectors to it. Schrodinger showed that it "absurdly" allowed a cat to be in a "superposition" simultaneously dead and alive. Einstein derided the theory's "spooky interactions." With Bell's Theorem, we now know Schrodinger's superpositions and Einstein's spooky interactions indeed exist. Authors Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner explain all of this in non-technical terms with help from some fanciful stories and bits about the theory's developers. They present the quantum mystery honestly, with an emphasis on what is and what is not speculation. Physics' encounter with consciousness is its skeleton in the closet. Because the authors open the closet and examine the skeleton, theirs is a controversial book. Quantum Enigma's description of the experimental quantum facts, and the quantum theory explaining them, is undisputed. Interpreting what it all means, however, is controversial. Every interpretation of quantum physics encounters consciousness. Rosenblum and Kuttner therefore turn to exploring consciousness itself--and encounter quantum physics. Free will and anthropic principles become crucial issues, and the connection of consciousness with the cosmos suggested by some leading quantum cosmologists is mind-blowing. Readers are brought to a boundary where the particular expertise of physicists is no longer a sure guide. They will find, instead, the facts and hints provided by quantum mechanics and the ability to speculate for themselves. (shrink)
The twilight of certainty -- Einstein and light -- The Bohr atom and old quantum theory -- Uncertain synthesis -- Dualities -- Elements of physical reality -- Creation and annihilation -- Quantum mechanics goes to work -- Symmetries and resonances -- "The most profound discovery of science" -- Bits, qubits, and the ultimate computer -- Unfinished. business.
We make a first attempt to axiomatically formulate the Montevideo interpretation of quantum mechanics. In this interpretation environmental decoherence is supplemented with loss of coherence due to the use of realistic clocks to measure time to solve the measurement problem. The resulting formulation is framed entirely in terms of quantum objects without having to invoke the existence of measurable classical quantities like the time in ordinary quantum mechanics. The formulation eliminates any privileged role to the measurement process (...) giving an objective definition of when an event occurs in a system. (shrink)
This is one of the most important books on quantum mechanics to have appeared in recent years. It offers a dramatically new interpretation that resolves puzzles and paradoxes associated with the measurement problem and the behavior of coupled systems. A crucial feature of this interpretation is that a quantum mechanical measurement can be certain to have a particular outcome even when the observed system fails to have the property corresponding to that outcome just prior to the measurement interaction.
A re-evaluation of the notion of vacuum in quantum electrodynamics is presented, focusing on the vacuum of the quantized electromagnetic field. In contrast to the ‘nothingness’ associated to the idea of classical vacuum, subtle aspects are found in relation to the vacuum of the quantized electromagnetic field both at theoretical and experimental levels. These are not the usually called vacuum effects. The view defended here is that the so-called vacuum effects are not due to the ground state of the (...) quantized electromagnetic field. Nevertheless it is possible to maintain an empirically demonstrable notion of vacuum state that is consistent with the interpretation of the formalism of the theory. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is threefold. Firstly, it aims to present, in an educational and non-technical fashion, the main ideas at the basis of Aerts’ creation-discovery view and hidden measurement approach : a fundamental explanatory framework whose importance, in this author’s view, has been seriously underappreciated by the physics community, despite its success in clarifying many conceptual challenges of quantum physics. Secondly, it aims to introduce a new quantum machine—that we call the δ quantum machine —which (...) is able to reproduce the transmission and reflection probabilities of a one-dimensional quantum scattering process by a Dirac delta-function potential. The machine is used not only to demonstrate the pertinence of the above mentioned explanatory framework, in the general description of physical systems, but also to illustrate (in the spirit of Aerts’ ∊-model) the origin of classical and quantum structures, by revealing the existence of processes which are neither classical nor quantum, but irreducibly intermediate. We do this by explicitly introducing what we call the k-model and by proving that its processes cannot be modelized by a classical or quantum scattering system. The third purpose of this work is to exploit the powerful metaphor provided by our quantum machine, to investigate the intimate relation between the concept of potentiality and the notion of non-spatiality , that we characterize in precise terms, introducing for this the new concept of process-actuality. (shrink)
Logical implications are closely related to modal operators. Lattice-valued logic LL and quantum logic QL were formulated in Titani S (1999) Lattice Valued Set Theory. Arch Math Logic 38:395–421, Titani S (2009) A Completeness Theorem of Quantum Set Theory. In: Engesser K, Gabbay DM, Lehmann D (eds) Handbook of Quantum Logic and Quantum Structures: Quantum Logic. Elsevier Science Ltd., pp. 661–702, by introducing the basic implication → which represents the lattice order. In this paper, we (...) fomulate a predicate orthologic provided with the basic implication, which corresponds to complete ortholattices, and then formulate a quantum logic which is equivalent to QL, by using a modal operator instead of the basic implication. (shrink)
I argue that the many worlds explanation of quantum computation is not licensed by, and in fact is conceptually inferior to, the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics from which it is derived. I argue that the many worlds explanation of quantum computation is incompatible with the recently developed cluster state model of quantum computation. Based on these considerations I conclude that we should reject the many worlds explanation of quantum computation.
We argue that it is fundamentally impossible to recover information about quantum superpositions when a quantum system has interacted with a sufficiently large number of degrees of freedom of the environment. This is due to the fact that gravity imposes fundamental limitations on how accurate measurements can be. This leads to the notion of undecidability: there is no way to tell, due to fundamental limitations, if a quantum system evolved unitarily or suffered wavefunction collapse. This in turn (...) provides a solution to the problem of outcomes in quantum measurement by providing a sharp criterion for defining when an event has taken place. We analyze in detail in examples two situations in which in principle one could recover information about quantum coherence: a) “revivals” of coherence in the interaction of a system with the measurement apparatus and the environment and b) the measurement of global observables of the system plus apparatus plus environment. We show in the examples that the fundamental limitations due to gravity and quantum mechanics in measurement prevent both revivals from occurring and the measurement of global observables. It can therefore be argued that the emerging picture provides a complete resolution to the measurement problem in quantum mechanics. (shrink)
The main goal of quantum logic is the bottom-up reconstruction of quantum mechanics in Hilbert space. Here we discuss the question whether quantum logic is an empirical structure or a priori valid. There are good reasons for both possibilities. First, with respect to the possibility of a rational reconstruction of quantum mechanics, quantum logic follows a priori from quantum ontology and can thus not be considered as a law of nature. Second, since quantum (...) logic allows for a reconstruction of quantum mechanics, self-referential consistency requires that the empirical content of quantum mechanics must be compatible with the presupposed quantum ontology. Hence, quantum ontology contains empirical components that are also contained in quantum logic. Consequently, in this sense quantum logic is also a law of nature. (shrink)
When I look at the scale of the apparatus I know what it reads. Those absurdly delicate, hopelessly inaccessible, global correlations obviously vanish when they connect up with me. Whether this is because consciousness is beyond the range of phenomena that quantum mechanics is capable of dealing with, or because it has infinitely many degrees of freedom or special super selection rules of its own, I would not presume to guess. But this is a puzzle about consciousness that should (...) not get mixed up with efforts to understand quantum mechanics as a theory of subsystem correlations in the nonconscious world. ( David Mermin 1998). (shrink)
Quantum physics is believed to be the fundamental theory underlying our understanding of the physical universe. However, it is based on concepts and principles that have always been difficult to understand and controversial in their interpretation. This book aims to explain these issues using a minimum of technical language and mathematics. After a brief introduction to the ideas of quantum physics, the problems of interpretation are identified and explained. The rest of the book surveys, describes and criticises a (...) range of suggestions that have been made with the aim of resolving these problems; these include the traditional, or 'Copenhagen' interpretation, the possible role of the conscious mind in measurement, and the postulate of parallel universes. This new edition has been revised throughout to take into account developments in this field over the past fifteen years, including the idea of 'consistent histories' to which a completely new chapter is devoted. (shrink)
In the article I discuss possible amendments and corrections to Lewis’s semantics for counterfactuals that are necessary in order to account for the indeterministic and non-local character of the quantum world. I argue that Lewis’s criteria of similarity between possible worlds produce incorrect valuations for alternate-outcome counterfactuals in the EPR case. Later I discuss an alternative semantics which rejects the notion of miraculous events and relies entirely on the comparison of the agreement with respect to individual facts. However, a (...) controversy exists whether to include future indeterministic events in the criteria of similarity. J. Bennett has suggested that an indeterministic event count toward similarity only if it is a result of the same causal chain as in the actual world. I claim that a much better agreement with the demands of the quantum-mechanical indeterminism can be achieved when we stipulate that possible worlds which differ only with respect to indeterministic facts that take place after the antecedent-event should always be treated as equally similar to the actual world. In the article I analyze and dismiss some common-sense counterexamples to this claim. Finally, I critically evaluate Bennett’s proposal regarding the truth-conditions for true-antecedent counterfactuals. (shrink)
Von Neumann in 1932 was the first to outline the possible non-existence of dispersion free ensembles in quantum mechanics, and he used this basic evidence to give a preliminary proof on incompatibility between quantum mechanics and local hidden variables theory. In the present paper, we give a detailed theoretical elaboration on the manner in which such a fundamental subject could be explored at perceptive and cognitive levels in humans. We also discuss a general design of the experiment that (...) we have in progress so to give direct indications to other researchers engaged in such field. (shrink)
This book examines in detail two of the fundamental questions raised by quantum mechanics. First, is the world indeterministic? Second, are there connections between spatially separated objects? In the first part, the author examines several interpretations, focusing on how each proposes to solve the measurement problem and on how each treats probability. In the second part, the relationship between probability (specifically determinism and indeterminism) and non-locality is examined, and it is argued that there is a non-trivial relationship between probability (...) and non-locality. The author then re-examines some of the interpretations of part one of the book in the light of this argument, and considers how they fare with regard to locality and Lorentz invariance. The book will appeal to anyone with an interest in the interpretation of quantum mechanics, including researchers in the philosophy of physics and theoretical physics, as well as graduate students in those fields. (shrink)
This paper argues that ontic structural realism (OSR) faces a dilemma: either it remains on the general level of realism with respect to the structure of a given theory, but then it is, like epistemic structural realism, only a partial realism; or it is a complete realism, but then it has to answer the question how the structure of a given theory is implemented, instantiated or realized and thus has to argue for a particular interpretation of the theory in question. (...) This claim is illustrated by examining how OSR fares with respect to the three main candidates for an ontology of quantum mechanics, namely many worlds-type interpretations, collapse-type interpretations and hidden variable-type interpretations. The result is that OSR as such is not sufficient to answer the question of what the world is like if quantum mechanics is correct. (shrink)
"Clear and coherent ... One of the most exciting aspects of the book is the author's account of how the consequences and implications of the breakthroughs in quantum mechanics challenged the mechanistic, deterministic philosophy fostered by classical science."-- The Science Teacher . Written by a respected Harvard physicist, this introductory account of the evolution of quantum physics also explores the subject's philosophical implications. The opening chapters trace the development of physics from antiquity onward, chronicling the origins (...) of quantum mechanics and the ways in which quantum theory was used to address previously unsolved problems and to interpret observable atomic phenomena. Succeeding chapters are devoted to matters at the forefront of research pertaining to elementary particles, and the text concludes with a look at the old and new concepts of physical science and their relationship to issues of philosophy and religion--including considerations of causality, determinism, and free will. 1968 ed. 36 black-and-white figures. 12 halftones. (shrink)
The strangeness of modern physics has sparked several popular books--such as The Tao of Physics--that explore its affinity with Eastern mysticism. But the founders of quantum mechanics were educated in the classical traditions of Western civilization and Western philosophy. In Nature Loves to Hide, physicist Shimon Malin takes readers on a fascinating tour of quantum theory--one that turns to Western philosophical thought to clarify this strange yet inescapable explanation of reality. Malin translates quantum mechanics into plain English, (...) explaining its origins and workings against the backdrop of the famous debate between Niels Bohr and the skeptical Albert Einstein. Then he moves on to build a philosophical framework that can account for the quantum nature of reality. He shows, for instance, how Platonic and Neoplatonic thought resonates with quantum theory. He draws out the linkage between the concepts of Neoplatonism and the more recent process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. The universe, Whitehead wrote, is an organic whole, composed not of lifeless objects, but "elementary experiences." Beginning with Whitehead's insight, Malin shows how this concept of "throbs of experience" expresses quantum reality, with its subatomic uncertainties, its constituents that are waves and also particles, its emphasis on acts of measurement. Once any educated person could explain the universe as a vast Newtonian web of cause and effect, but since quantum theory, reality again appears to be richer and more mysterious than we had thought. Writing with broad humanistic insight and deep knowledge of science, and using delightful conversations with fictional astronauts Peter and Julie to explain more difficult concepts, Shimon Malin offers a profound new understanding of the nature of reality--one that shows a deep continuity with aspects of our Western philosophical tradition going back 2500 years, and that feels more deeply satisfying, and truer, than the clockwork universe of Newton. (shrink)
An interesting link between two very different physical aspects of quantum mechanics is revealed; these are the absence of third-order interference and Tsirelson’s bound for the nonlocal correlations. Considering multiple-slit experiments—not only the traditional configuration with two slits, but also configurations with three and more slits—Sorkin detected that third-order (and higher-order) interference is not possible in quantum mechanics. The EPR experiments show that quantum mechanics involves nonlocal correlations which are demonstrated in a violation of the Bell or (...) CHSH inequality, but are still limited by a bound discovered by Tsirelson. It now turns out that Tsirelson’s bound holds in a broad class of probabilistic theories provided that they rule out third-order interference. A major characteristic of this class is the existence of a reasonable calculus of conditional probability or, phrased more physically, of a reasonable model for the quantum measurement process. (shrink)
The ESR model proposes a new theoretical perspective which incorporates the mathematical formalism of standard (Hilbert space) quantum mechanics (QM) in a noncontextual framework, reinterpreting quantum probabilities as conditional on detection instead of absolute. We have provided in some previous papers mathematical representations of the physical entities introduced by the ESR model, namely observables, properties, pure states, proper and improper mixtures, together with rules for calculating conditional and overall probabilities, and for describing transformations of states induced by measurements. (...) We study in this paper the relevant physical case of the quantum harmonic oscillator in our mathematical formalism. We reinterpret the standard quantum rules for probabilities, provide new expressions for absolute probabilities, and show how the standard state transformations must be modified according to the ESR model. (shrink)
It is standardly assumed in discussions of quantum theory that physical systems can be regarded as having well-defined Hilbert spaces. It is shown here that a Hilbert space can be consistently partitioned only if its components are assumed not to interact. The assumption that physical systems have well-defined Hilbert spaces is, therefore, physically unwarranted.
A quantum measurement-like event can produce any of a number of macroscopically distinct results, with corresponding macroscopically distinct gravitational fields, from the same initial state. Hence the probabilistically evolving large-scale structure of space-time is not precisely or even always approximately described by the deterministic Einstein equations.Since the standard treatment of gravitational wave propagation assumes the validity of the Einstein equations, it is questionable whether we should expect all its predictions to be empirically verified. In particular, one might expect the (...) stochasticity of amplified quantum indeterminacy to cause coherent gravitational wave signals to decay faster than standard predictions suggest. This need not imply that the radiated energy flux from gravitational wave sources differs from standard theoretical predictions. An underappreciated bonus of gravitational wave astronomy is that either detecting or failing to detect predicted gravitational wave signals would constrain the form of the semi-classical theory of gravity that we presently lack. (shrink)
Quantum logic is only applicable to microscopic phenomena while classical logic is exclusively used for everyday reasoning, including mathematics. It is shown that both logics are unified in the framework of modal interpretation. This proposed method deals with classical propositions as latently modalized propositions in the sense that they exhibit manifest modalities to form quantum logic only when interacting with other classical subsystems.
Methods developed in a previous paper are employed to define an exact correspondence between the states of a deterministic cellular automaton in 1+1 dimensions and those of a bosonic quantum field theory. The result may be used to argue that quantum field theories may be much closer related to deterministic automata than what is usually thought possible.
The aim of this work is to analyse the diffrerences between the formal structure of anticipation of perception in classical and in quantum context. I argue that a transcendental point of view can be supported in quantum context if objectivity is defined by an invariant anticipative structure, which has only a predictive character. The classical objectivity, which defined a set of properties having a descriptive meaning must be abandoned in quantum context. I will focus my analysis on (...) Kant's Principle of the Anticipations of Perception. (shrink)