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
Related categories

66 found
Order:
1 — 50 / 66
  1. 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 (...)
  2. Kochen's Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.Frank Arntzenius - 1990 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1990:241 - 249.
    Kochen has suggested an interpretation of quantum mechanics in which he denies that wavepackets ever collapse, while affirming that measurements have definite results. In this paper I attempt to show that his interpretation is untenable. I then suggest ways in which to construct similar, but more satisfactory, hidden variable interpretations.
  3. 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 (...)
  4. 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 (...)
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Six Possible Worlds of Quantum Mechanics.J. S. Bell - 1992 - Foundations of Physics 22 (10):1201-1215.
  8. A Perspectival Version of the Modal Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics and the Origin of Macroscopic Behavior.Gyula Bene & Dennis Dieks - 2002 - 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 (...)
  9. Modal Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics and Relativity: A Reconsideration. [REVIEW]Joseph Berkovitz & Meir Hemmo - 2005 - 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 (...)
  10. Can Modal Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics Be Reconciled with Relativity?Joseph Berkovitz & Meir Hemmo - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (5):789-801.
  11. How to Reconcile Modal Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics with Relativity.Joseph Berkovitz & Meir Hemmo - unknown
    Recent no go theorems by Dickson and Clifton (1998), Arntzenius (1998) and Myrvold (2002) demonstrate that current modal interpretations are incompatible with relativity. In this paper we propose strategies for how to circumvent these theorems. We further show how these strategies can be developped into new modal interpretations in which the properties of systems are in general either holistic or relational. We explicitly write down an outline of dynamics for these properties which does not pick out a preferred foliation of (...)
  12. 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 (...)
  13. 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 (...)
  14. 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.
  15. Van Fraassen's Modal Model of Quantum Mechanics.Nancy Cartwright - 1974 - Philosophy of Science 41 (2):199-202.
  16. 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 (...)
  17. 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 (...)
  18. The Modal Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics - Dennis Dieks and Pieter E. Vermaas (Eds), the Modal Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic, 1998), VIII+377 Pp., ISBN 0-7923-5207-. [REVIEW]B. D'Espagnat - 2001 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 32 (1):121-125.
  19. For and Against Metaphysics in the Modal Interpretation of Quantum Mechancis.Christian de Ronde - 2010 - Philosophica 83:85-117.
  20. 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 (...)
  21. The Modal Interpretations of Quantum Theory.M. Dickson - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  22. Modal Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics.Michael Dickson - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  23. 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.
  24. Wavefunction Tails in the Modal Interpretation.Michael Dickson - 1994 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:366 - 376.
    I review the modal interpretation of quantum mechanics, some versions of which rely on the biorthonormal decomposition of a statevector to determine which properties are physically possessed. Some have suggested that these versions fail in the case of inaccurate measurements, i.e., when one takes tails of the wavefunction into account. I show that these versions of the modal interpretation are satisfactory in such cases. I further suggest that a more general result is possible, namely, that these versions of the modal (...)
  25. Lorentz-Invariance in Modal Interpretations.with Michael Dickson - 2004 - In Jeremy Butterfield & Hans Halvorson (eds.), Quantum Entanglements: Selected Papers. Clarendon Press.
  26. 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 (...)
  27. 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.
  28. The Modal Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.Dennis Dieks & Pieter Vermaas - 1998 - Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  29. The Contextual Character of Modal Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics.Graciela Domenech, Hector Freytes & Christian de Ronde - unknown
    In this article we discuss the contextual character of quantum mechanics in the framework of modal interpretations. We investigate its historical origin and relate contemporary modal interpretations to those proposed by M. Born and W. Heisenberg. We present then a general characterization of what we consider to be a modal interpretation. Following previous papers in which we have introduced modalities in the Kochen-Specker theorem, we investigate the consequences of these theorems in relation to the modal interpretations of quantum mechanics.
  30. 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 (...)
  31. 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.
  32. 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 (...)
  33. Hidden Variables and the Modal Interpretation of Quantum Theory.Bas C. Fraassen - 1979 - Synthese 42 (1):155 - 165.
    The modal interpretation of quantum mechanics has two variants: the Copenhagen variant (CV) and the anti-Copenhagen variant (ACV). Healey uses the Bell-Wigner locality condition to criticize the latter, which I do not advocate. 2 The conclusions of Healey's admirably written article are therefore welcome to me. But if I had wished to advocate the ACV, I do not think that his arguments would have dissuaded me. Specifically, as I shall explain, we should distinguish between Physical Locality and Metaphysical Locality. The (...)
  34. 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 (...)
  35. 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.
  36. Maximal Beable Subalgebras of Quantum-Mechanical Observables.Hans Halvorson & Rob Clifton - 1999 - International Journal of Theoretical Physics 38:2441-2484.
    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 (...)
  37. The Modal Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.Gary M. Hardegree - 1976 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1976:82 - 103.
    This paper presents a general formal semantic scheme for the interpretation of quantum mechanics, in terms of which van Fraassen's Copenhagen and anti-Copenhagen variants of the modal interpretation are examined. The general character of the modal interpretation is motivated in a discussion of classical statistical mechanics, the distinction being made between statistical states and micro-states. The notion of a quasi-classical (micro) state is introduced in a discussion of the theorem of Gleason and Kochen and Specker. It is shown that, according (...)
  38. 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.
  39. Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics in Terms of Beable Algebras.Yuichiro Kitajima - 2005 - International Journal of Theoretical Physics 44 (8):1141-1156.
    In terms of beable algebras Halvorson and Clifton [International Journal of Theoretical Physics 38 (1999) 2441–2484] generalized the uniqueness theorem (Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 27 (1996) 181–219] which characterizes interpretations of quantum mechanics by preferred observables. We examine whether dispersion-free states on beable algebras in the generalized uniqueness theorem can be regarded as truth-value assignments in the case where a preferred observable is the set of all spectral projections of a density operator, and in the case (...)
  40. A Remark on the Modal Interpretation of Algebraic Quantum Field Theory.Yuichiro Kitajima - 2004 - Physics Letters A 331 (3-4):181-186.
    Clifton determined the maximal beable algebra for each faithful normal state in a local algebra [Phys. Lett. A 271 (2000) 167, Proposition 1]. In the present Letter we will determine the maximal beable algebra for any normal state under the same conditions as Clifton's.
  41. 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.
  42. 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 (...)
  43. 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 (...)
  44. A Note on Van Fraassen's Modal Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.Stephen Leeds & Richard Healey - 1996 - Philosophy of Science 63 (1):91-104.
  45. Compatibility Between Environment-Induced Decoherence and the Modal-Hamiltonian Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.Olimpia Lombardi, Juan Sebastián Ardenghi, Sebastian Fortin & Mario Castagnino - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (5):1024-1036.
    Given the impressive success of environment-induced decoherence, nowadays no interpretation of quantum mechanics can ignore its results. The modal-Hamiltonian interpretation has proved to be effective for solving several interpretative problems but, since its actualization rule applies to closed systems, it seems to stand at odds of EID. The purpose of this paper is to show that this is not the case: the states einselected by the interaction with the environment according to EID are the eigenvectors of an actual-valued observable belonging (...)
  46. 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 (...)
  47. Modal Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics.Olimpia Lombardi & Dennis Dieks - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  48. Reconstructing Bohr’s Reply to EPR in Algebraic Quantum Theory.Ozawa Masanao & Yuichiro Kitajima - 2012 - Foundations of Physics 42 (4):475-487.
  49. 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 (...)
  50. Chasing Chimeras.Wayne C. Myrvold - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (3):635-646.
    Earman and Ruetsche ([2005]) have cast their gaze upon existing no-go theorems for relativistic modal interpretations, and have found them inconclusive. They suggest that it would be more fruitful to investigate modal interpretations proposed for "really relativistic theories," that is, algebraic relativistic quantum field theories. They investigate the proposal of Clifton ([2000]), and extend Clifton's result that, for a host of states, his proposal yields no definite observables other than multiples of the identity. This leads Earman and Ruetsche to a (...)
1 — 50 / 66