About this topic
Summary The modal interpretation is a realist interpretation of quantum mechanics where the quantum state is taken to represent the possible values of certain observables. There are a wide variety of different modal interpretations, differing over which observables have determinate values under which conditions.
Key works Fraassen 1979 proposes the original modal interpretation. Dieks & Vermaas 1998 is a valuable anthology. Vermaas 1999 is a thorough study. Dieks 2007 is a recent survey article.
Introductions Lombardi & Dieks forthcoming
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66 found
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1 — 50 / 66
  1. added 2019-06-06
    Interpreting the Modal Kochen–Specker Theorem: Possibility and Many Worlds in Quantum Mechanics.Christian de Ronde, Hector Freytes & Graciela Domenech - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 45:11-18.
    In this paper we attempt to physically interpret the Modal Kochen–Specker theorem. In order to do so, we analyze the features of the possible properties of quantum systems arising from the elements in an orthomodular lattice and distinguish the use of “possibility” in the classical and quantum formalisms. Taking into account the modal and many worlds non-collapse interpretation of the projection postulate, we discuss how the MKS theorem rules the constraints to actualization, and thus, the relation between actual and possible (...)
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  2. added 2019-06-06
    Modal Interpretation of Repeated Measurement: A Rejoinder to Leeds and Healey.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1997 - Philosophy of Science 64 (4):669-676.
    A recent article argues that the modal interpretation of quantum mechanics does not do justice to immediately repeated non-disturbing measurements. This objection has been raised before, but the article presents it in a new, detailed, precise form. I show that the objection is mistaken.
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  3. added 2018-06-12
    Van Fraassen and Ruetsche on Preparation and Measurement.Bradley Monton - 1999 - Philosophy of Science 66 (3):91.
    Ruetsche (1996) has argued that van Fraassen's (1991) Copenhagen Variant of the Modal Interpretation (CVMI) gives unsatisfactory accounts of measurement and of state preparation. I defend the CVMI against Ruetsche's first argument by using decoherence to show that the CVMI does not need to account for the measurement scenario which Ruetsche poses. I then show, however, that there is a problem concerning preparation, and the problem is more serious than the one Ruetsche focuses on. The CVMI makes no substantive predictions (...)
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  4. added 2018-02-17
    Revised Proof of the Uniqueness Theorem for ‘No Collapse’ Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics.Jeffrey Bub, Rob Clifton & Sheldon Goldstein - 2000 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 31 (1):95-98.
    We show that the Bub-Clifton uniqueness theorem (1996) for 'no collapse' interpretations of quantum mechanics can be proved without the 'weak separability' assumption.
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  5. added 2018-02-17
    A Uniqueness Theorem for ‘No Collapse’ Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics.Jeffrey Bub & Rob Clifton - 1996 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 27 (2):181-219.
    We prove a uniqueness theorem showing that, subject to certain natural constraints, all 'no collapse' interpretations of quantum mechanics can be uniquely characterized and reduced to the choice of a particular preferred observable as determine (definite, sharp). We show how certain versions of the modal interpretation, Bohm's 'causal' interpretation, Bohr's complementarity interpretation, and the orthodox (Dirac-von Neumann) interpretation without the projection postulate can be recovered from the theorem. Bohr's complementarity and Einstein's realism appear as two quite different proposals for selecting (...)
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  6. added 2017-01-24
    A Modal Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics Based on a Principle of Entropy Minimization.R. W. Spekkens & J. E. Sipe - 2001 - Foundations of Physics 31 (10):1431-1464.
    Within many approaches to the interpretation of quantum mechanics, especially modal interpretations, one singles out a particular decomposition of the state vector in order to fix the properties that are well-defined for the system. We present a novel proposal for this preferred decomposition. Given a distinguished factorization of the Hilbert space, it is the decomposition that minimizes the Ingarden–Urbanik entropy from among all product decompositions with respect to the distinguished factorization. We incorporate this choice of preferred decomposition into a framework (...)
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  7. added 2017-01-24
    Non-Orthogonal Core Projectors for Modal Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics.R. W. Spekkens & J. E. Sipe - 2001 - Foundations of Physics 31 (10):1403-1430.
    Modal interpretations constitute a particular approach to associating dynamical variables with physical systems in quantum mechanics. Given the “quantum logical” constraints that are typically adopted by such interpretations, only certain sets of variables can be taken to be simultaneously definite-valued, and only certain sets of values can be ascribed to these variables at a given time. Moreover, each allowable set of variables and values can be uniquely specified by a single “core” projector in the Hilbert space associated with the system. (...)
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  8. added 2017-01-19
    Continuity and Discontinuity of Definite Properties in the Modal Interpretation.Matthew Donald - unknown
    Technical results about the time dependence of eigenvectors of reduced density operators are considered, and the relevance of these results is discussed for modal interpretations of quantum mechanics which take the corresponding eigenprojections to represent definite properties. Continuous eigenvectors can be found if degeneracies are avoided. We show that, in finite dimensions, the space of degenerate operators has co-dimension 3 in the space of all reduced operators, suggesting that continuous eigenvectors almost surely exist. In any dimension, even when degeneracies are (...)
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  9. added 2017-01-18
    Van Fraassen's Modal Model of Quantum Mechanics.Nancy Cartwright - 1974 - Philosophy of Science 41 (2):199-202.
  10. added 2017-01-15
    Probability in Modal Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics.Dennis Dieks - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (2):292-310.
    Modal interpretations have the ambition to construe quantum mechanics as an objective, man-independent description of physical reality. Their second leading idea is probabilism: quantum mechanics does not completely fix physical reality but yields probabilities. In working out these ideas an important motif is to stay close to the standard formalism of quantum mechanics and to refrain from introducing new structure by hand. In this paper we explain how this programme can be made concrete. In particular, we show that the Born (...)
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  11. added 2017-01-15
    Lorentz-Invariance in Modal Interpretations.with Michael Dickson - 2004 - In Jeremy Butterfield & Hans Halvorson (eds.), Quantum Entanglements: Selected Papers. Clarendon Press.
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  12. added 2017-01-15
    A Philosopher's Understanding of Quantum Mechanics. Possibilities and Impossibilities of a Modal Interpretation.T. Placek - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 33 (4):739-744.
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  13. added 2017-01-15
    The Modal Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.Bernard D’Espagnat - 2001 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 32 (1):121-125.
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  14. added 2017-01-15
    Two No-Go Theorems for Modal Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics.Pieter E. Vermaas - 1999 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 30 (3):403-431.
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  15. added 2016-12-08
    Interpretación Modal de la Mecánica Cuántica.Laraudogoitia Yon Pérez - 1985 - Theoria 1 (1):235-251.
    In this paper, we present a (propositionaI) modal-Iogic approximation to Quantum Mechanics from a reduced and characteristic number of “crucial experiments” and so independently of the lattice of subspaces of Hilbert space. Kripke’s semantics, which determinates this system, allows to define, from a new point of view, the notions of “measurement process” and “virtual world” and admits a natural interpretation which in turn can help us to understand the measurement problem. In this way, we can attempt a “many-worlds” interpretation of (...)
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  16. added 2015-04-05
    The Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics: Modal Interpretations.Stuart Murray Gluck - 2004 - Dissertation, The Johns Hopkins University
    This dissertation begins with the argument that a preferred way of doing metaphysics is through philosophy of physics. An understanding of quantum physics is vital to answering questions such as: What counts as an individual object in physical ontology? Is the universe fundamentally indeterministic? Are indiscernibles identical? This study explores how the various modal interpretations of quantum mechanics answer these sorts of questions; modal accounts are one of the two classes of interpretations along with so-called collapse accounts. This study suggests (...)
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  17. added 2015-04-05
    Property Definiteness in Quantum Mechanics: Modal Interpretations.Nicholas Lee Reeder - 1996 - Dissertation, University of Minnesota
    Recently, several writers have independently proposed similar solutions to the quantum-mechanical measurement problem. This dissertation examines the conception of physical properties implicit in these proposals, which are known as modal interpretations of quantum mechanics. The dissertation focuses on Richard Healey's interpretation, which I regard as the most promising of the proposals. ;Chapter One reviews the measurement problem and the way in which modal interpretations address the problem. ;Chapter Two discusses certain mathematical theorems that impose strict limits on the number of (...)
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  18. added 2015-04-05
    On the Verge of Collapse: Modal Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics.Laura Ruetsche - 1995 - Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
    The conjunction of Schrodinger dynamics and the usual way of thinking about the conditions under which quantum systems exhibit determinate values implies that measurements don't have outcomes. The orthodox fix to this quantum measurement problem is von Neumann's postulate of measurement collapse, which suspends Schrodinger dynamics in measurement contexts. Contending that the fundamental dynamical law of quantum theory breaks down every time we test the theory empirically, the collapse postulate is unsatisfactory. Recently philosophers and physicists have proposed a less violent (...)
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  19. added 2015-03-24
    The Modal Interpretations of Quantum Theory.M. Dickson - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  20. added 2015-03-24
    Reviews-A Philosopher's Understanding of Quantum Mechanics: Possibilities and Impossibilities of a Modal Interpretation.Pieter Vermaas & Hans Halvorson - 2001 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (2):387-392.
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  21. added 2015-03-23
    Modal Interpretations.Pieter E. Vermaas - 2003 - In A. Rojszczak, J. Cachro & G. Kurczewski (eds.), Philosophical Dimensions of Logic and Science. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 195--211.
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  22. added 2015-03-23
    Virtual Reality: Consequences of No-Go Theorems for the Modal Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.Guido Bacciagaluppi & Pieter E. Vermaas - 1999 - In Maria Luisa Dalla Chiara (ed.), Language, Quantum, Music. pp. 117--128.
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  23. added 2015-03-19
    For and Against Metaphysics in the Modal Interpretation of Quantum Mechancis.Christian de Ronde - 2010 - Philosophica 83:85-117.
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  24. added 2015-03-09
    Do Quantum-Mechanical Systems Always Possess Definite Properties Dictated by Their States?Tomasz Bigaj - 2006 - Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 91 (1):375-394.
    In the article the possibility of breaking the eigenvalue-eigenstate link in quantum mechanics is considered. An argument is presented to the effect that there are some non-maximal observables for which the implication from eigenstates to eigenvalues is not valid, i.e. such that although the probability of revealing certain value upon measurement is one, they don't possess this value before the measurement. It is shown that the existence of such observables leads to contextuality, i.e. the thesis that one Hermitean operator can (...)
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  25. added 2015-03-09
    Six Possible Worlds of Quantum Mechanics.J. S. Bell - 1992 - Foundations of Physics 22 (10):1201-1215.
  26. added 2015-02-10
    Dynamics for Modal Interpretations.Guido Bacciagaluppi & Michael Dickson - 1999 - Foundations of Physics 29 (8):1165-1201.
    An outstanding problem in so-called modal interpretations of quantum mechanics has been the specification of a dynamics for the properties introduced in such interpretations. We develop a general framework (in the context of the theory of stochastic processes) for specifying a dynamics for interpretations in this class, focusing on the modal interpretation by Vermaas and Dieks. This framework admits many empirically equivalent dynamics. We give some examples, and discuss some of the properties of one of them. This approach is applicable (...)
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  27. added 2014-08-27
    Observation and Superselection in Quantum Mechanics.N. P. Landsman - 1995 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 26 (1):45-73.
    We attempt to clarify the main conceptual issues in approaches to ‘objectification’ or ‘measurement’ in quantum mechanics which are based on superselection rules. Such approaches venture to derive the emergence of classical ‘reality’ relative to a class of observers; those believing that the classical world exists intrinsically and absolutely are advised against reading this paper. The prototype approach (K. Hepp, Helv. Phys. Acta45 (1972), 237–248) where superselection sectors are assumed in the state space of the apparatus is shown to be (...)
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  28. added 2014-07-23
    Delocalized Properties in the Modal Interpretation of a Continuous Model of Decoherence.Guido Bacciagaluppi - 2000 - Foundations of Physics 30 (9):1431-1444.
    I investigate the character of the definite properties defined by the Basic Rule in the Vermaas and Dieks' (1995) version of the modal interpretation of quantum mechanics, specifically for the case of the continuous model of decoherence by Joos and Zeh (1985). While this model suggests that the characteristic length that might be associated with the localisation of an individual system is the coherence length of the state (which converges rapidly to the thermal de Broglie wavelength), I show in an (...)
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  29. added 2014-04-02
    The Modal Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics and its Generalization to Density Operators.Pieter E. Vermaas & Dennis Dieks - 1995 - Foundations of Physics 25 (1):145-158.
    We generalize the modal interpretation of quantum mechanics so that it may be applied to composite systems represented by arbitrary density operators. We discuss the interpretation these density operators receive and relate this to the discussion about the interpretation of proper and improper mixtures in the standard interpretation.
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  30. added 2014-03-30
    Modal Interpretations, Decoherence and Measurements.Guido Bacciagaluppi & Meir Hemmo - 1996 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 27 (3):239-277.
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  31. added 2014-03-26
    Two No-Go Theorems for Modal Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics.Pieter E. Vermaas - 1999 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 30 (3):403-431.
    Modal interpretations take quantum mechanics as a theory which assigns at all times definite values to magnitudes of quantum systems. In the case of single systems, modal interpretations manage to do so without falling prey to the Kochen and Specker no-go theorem, because they assign values only to a limited set of magnitudes. In this paper I present two further no-go theorems which prove that two modal interpretations become nevertheless problematic when applied to more than one system. The first theorem (...)
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  32. added 2014-03-26
    Logical Foundations for Modal Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics.Michael Dickson - 1996 - Philosophy of Science 63 (3):329.
    This paper proposes a logic, motivated by modal interpretations, in which every quantum mechanics propositions has a truth-value. This logic is completely classical, hence violates the conditions of the Kochen-Specker theorem. It is shown how the violation occurs, and it is argued that this violation is a natural and acceptable consequence of modal interpretations. It is shown that despite its classicality, the proposed logic is empirically indistinguishable from quantum logic.
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  33. added 2014-03-26
    Possible Worlds in the Modal Interpretation.Meir Hemmo - 1996 - Philosophy of Science 63 (3):337.
    An outline for a modal interpretation in terms of possible worlds is presented. The so-called Schmidt histories are taken to correspond to the physically possible worlds. The decoherence function defined in the histories formulation of quantum theory is taken to prescribe a non-classical probability measure over the set of the possible worlds. This is shown to yield dynamics in the form of transition probabilities for occurrent events in each world. The role of the consistency condition is discussed.
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  34. added 2014-03-26
    A Note on Van Fraassen's Modal Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.Stephen Leeds & Richard Healey - 1996 - Philosophy of Science 63 (1):91-104.
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  35. added 2014-03-26
    Van Fraassen on Preparation and Measurement.Laura Ruetsche - 1996 - Philosophy of Science 63 (3):346.
    Van Fraassen's 1991 modal interpretation of Quantum Mechanics offers accounts of measurement and state preparation. I argue that both accounts overlook a class of interactions I call General Unitary Measurements, or GUMs. Ironically, GUMs are significant for van Fraassen's account of measurement because they challenge it, and significant for his account of preparation because they simplify it. Van Fraassen's oversight prompts a question about modal interpretations: developed to account for ideal measurement outcomes, can they consistently account as well for the (...)
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  36. added 2014-03-26
    Independently Motivating the Kochen—Dieks Modal Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.Rob Clifton - 1995 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (1):33-57.
    The distinguishing feature of ‘modal’ interpretations of quantum mechanics is their abandonment of the orthodox eigenstate–eigenvalue rule, which says that an observable possesses a definite value if and only if the system is in an eigenstate of that observable. Kochen's and Dieks' new biorthogonal decomposition rule for picking out which observables have definite values is designed specifically to overcome the chief problem generated by orthodoxy's rule, the measurement problem, while avoiding the no-hidden-variable theorems. Otherwise, their new rule seems completely ad (...)
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  37. added 2014-03-25
    The Properties of Modal Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics.Rob Clifton - 1996 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (3):371-398.
    Orthodox quantum mechanics includes the principle that an observable of a system possesses a well-defined value if and only if the presence of that value in the system is certain to be confirmed on measurement. Modal interpretations reject the controversial ‘only if’ half of this principle to secure definite outcomes for quantum measurements that leave the apparatus entangled with the object it has measured. However, using a result that turns on the construction of a Kochen–Specker contradiction, I argue that modal (...)
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  38. added 2014-03-24
    Modal Interpretations and Relativity.Wayne C. Myrvold - 2002 - Foundations of Physics 32 (11):1773-1784.
    A proof is given, at a greater level of generality than previous 'no-go' theorems, of the impossibility of formulating a modal interpretation that exhibits 'serious' Lorentz invariance at the fundamental level. Particular attention is given to modal interpretations of the type proposed by Bub.
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  39. added 2014-03-24
    A Perspectival Version of the Modal Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics and the Origin of Macroscopic Behavior.Gyula Bene & Dennis Dieks - 2001 - Foundations of Physics 32 (5):645-671.
    We study the process of observation (measurement), within the framework of a “perspectival” (“relational,” “relative state”) version of the modal interpretation of quantum mechanics. We show that if we assume certain features of discreteness and determinism in the operation of the measuring device (which could be a part of the observer's nerve system), this gives rise to classical characteristics of the observed properties, in the first place to spatial localization. We investigate to what extent semi-classical behavior of the object system (...)
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  40. added 2014-03-23
    Modal Semantics, Modal Dynamics and the Problem of State Preparation.Laura Ruetsche - 2003 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (1):25 – 41.
    It has been suggested that the Modal Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics (QM) is "incomplete" if it lacks a dynamics for possessed values. I argue that this is only one of two possible attitudes one might adopt toward a Modal Interpretation without dynamics. According to the other attitude, such an interpretation is a complete interpretation of QM as standardly formulated, an interpretation whose innovation is to attempt to make sense of the quantum realm without the expedient of novel physics. Then I (...)
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  41. added 2014-03-20
    Modal Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics and Relativity: A Reconsideration. [REVIEW]Joseph Berkovitz & Meir Hemmo - 2004 - Foundations of Physics 35 (3):373-397.
    Two of the main interpretative problems in quantum mechanics are the so-called measurement problem and the question of the compatibility of quantum mechanics with relativity theory. Modal interpretations of quantum mechanics were designed to solve both of these problems. They are no-collapse (typically) indeterministic interpretations of quantum mechanics that supplement the orthodox state description of physical systems by a set of possessed properties that is supposed to be rich enough to account for the classical-like behavior of macroscopic systems, but sufficiently (...)
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  42. added 2014-03-20
    Review of Quantum Measurement: Beyond Paradox. [REVIEW]Douglas Kutach - 2000 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 51 (4):947-951.
    Book Review of Quantum measurement: Beyond paradox.
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  43. added 2014-03-18
    A Philosopher's Understanding of Quantum Mechanics: Possibilities and Impossibilities of a Modal Interpretation Pieter Vermaas.Hans Halvorson - 2001 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (2):387-391.
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  44. added 2014-03-11
    Probability in Modal Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics.Dennis Dieks - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (2):292-310.
    Modal interpretations have the ambition to construe quantum mechanics as an objective, man-independent description of physical reality. Their second leading idea is probabilism: quantum mechanics does not completely fix physical reality but yields probabilities. In working out these ideas an important motif is to stay close to the standard formalism of quantum mechanics and to refrain from introducing new structure by hand. In this paper we explain how this programme can be made concrete. In particular, we show that the Born (...)
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  45. added 2014-03-09
    Quantum Mechanics: Modal Interpretation and Galilean Transformations. [REVIEW]Juan Sebastian Ardenghi, Mario Castagnino & Olimpia Lombardi - 2009 - Foundations of Physics 39 (9):1023-1045.
    The aim of this paper is to consider in what sense the modal-Hamiltonian interpretation of quantum mechanics satisfies the physical constraints imposed by the Galilean group. In particular, we show that the only apparent conflict, which follows from boost-transformations, can be overcome when the definition of quantum systems and subsystems is taken into account. On this basis, we apply the interpretation to different well-known models, in order to obtain concrete examples of the previous conceptual conclusions. Finally, we consider the role (...)
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  46. added 2014-03-09
    Can Modal Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics Be Reconciled with Relativity?Joseph Berkovitz & Meir Hemmo - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (5):789-801.
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  47. added 2014-03-09
    Relativistic Invariance and Modal Interpretations.John Earman & Laura Ruetsche - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (4):557-583.
    A number of arguments have been given to show that the modal interpretation of ordinary nonrelativistic quantum mechanics cannot be consistently extended to the relativistic setting. We find these arguments inconclusive. However, there is a prima facie reason to think that a tension exists between the modal interpretation and relativistic invariance; namely, the best candidate for a modal interpretation adapted to relativistic quantum field theory, a prescription due to Rob Clifton, comes out trivial when applied to a number of systems (...)
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  48. added 2014-03-07
    A Modal-Hamiltonian Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.Olimpia Lombardi & Mario Castagnino - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39 (2):380-443.
    The aim of this paper is to introduce a new member of the family of the modal interpretations of quantum mechanics. In this modal-Hamiltonian interpretation, the Hamiltonian of the quantum system plays a decisive role in the property-ascription rule that selects the definite-valued observables whose possible values become actual. We show that this interpretation is effective for solving the measurement problem, both in its ideal and its non-ideal versions, and we argue for the physical relevance of the property-ascription rule by (...)
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  49. added 2013-09-03
    Modal Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics.Olimpia Lombardi & Dennis Dieks - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  50. added 2013-09-03
    The Modal Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.Dennis Dieks & Pieter Vermaas - 1998 - Kluwer Academic Publishers.
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1 — 50 / 66