This paper introduces an exact correspondence between a general class of stochastic systems and quantum theory. This correspondence provides a new framework for using Hilbert-space methods to formulate highly generic, non-Markovian types of stochastic dynamics, with potential applications throughout the sciences. This paper also uses the correspondence in the other direction to reconstruct quantum theory from physical models that consist of trajectories in configuration spaces undergoing stochastic dynamics. The correspondence thereby yields a new formulation of quantum theory, alongside the Hilbert-space, (...) path-integral, and quasiprobability formulations. In addition, this reconstruction approach opens up new ways of understanding quantum phenomena like interference, decoherence, entanglement, noncommutative observables, and wave-function collapse. (shrink)
This paper introduces several new classes of mathematical structures that have close connections with physics and with the theory of dynamical systems. The most general of these structures, called generalized stochastic systems, collectively encompass many important kinds of stochastic processes, including Markov chains and random dynamical systems. This paper then states and proves a new theorem that establishes a precise correspondence between any generalized stochastic system and a unitarily evolving quantum system. This theorem therefore leads to a new formulation of (...) quantum theory, alongside the Hilbert-space, path-integral, and quasiprobability formulations. The theorem also provides a first-principles explanation for why quantum systems are based on the complex numbers, Hilbert spaces, linear-unitary time evolution, and the Born rule. In addition, the theorem suggests that by selecting a suitable Hilbert space, together with an appropriate choice of unitary evolution, one can simulate any generalized stochastic system on a quantum computer, thereby potentially opening up an extensive set of novel applications for quantum computing. (shrink)
I argue that Immanuel Kant's critical philosophy—in particular the doctrine of transcendental idealism which grounds it—is best understood as an `epistemic' or `metaphilosophical' doctrine. As such it aims to show how one may engage in the natural sciences and in metaphysics under the restriction that certain conditions are imposed on our cognition of objects. Underlying Kant's doctrine, however, is an ontological posit, of a sort, regarding the fundamental nature of our cognition. This posit, sometimes called the `discursivity thesis', while considered (...) to be completely obvious and uncontroversial by some, has nevertheless been denied by thinkers both before and after Kant. One such thinker is Jakob Friedrich Fries, an early neo-Kantian thinker who, despite his rejection of discursivity, also advocated for a metaphilosophical understanding of critical philosophy. As I will explain, a consequence for Fries of the denial of discursivity is a radical reconceptualisation of the method of critical philosophy; whereas this method is a priori for Kant, for Fries it is in general empirical. I discuss these issues in the context of quantum theory, and I focus in particular on the views of the physicist Niels Bohr and the Neo-Friesian philosopher Grete Hermann. I argue that Bohr's understanding of quantum mechanics can be seen as a natural extension of an orthodox Kantian viewpoint in the face of the challenges posed by quantum theory, and I compare this with the extension of Friesian philosophy that is represented by Hermann's view. -/- A shorter version of this paper, focusing specifically on the views of Grete Hermann, has been published as: Cuffaro, Michael (2023). Grete Hermann, Quantum Mechanics, and the Evolution of Kantian Philosophy. In Jeanne Peijnenburg & Sander Verhaegh (eds.), Women in the History of Analytic Philosophy. Cham: Springer. pp. 114-145. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to argue that the (alleged) indeterminism of quantum mechanics, claimed by adherents of the Copenhagen interpretation since Born (1926), can be proved from Chaitin's follow-up to Goedel's (first) incompleteness theorem. In comparison, Bell's (1964) theorem as well as the so-called free will theorem-originally due to Heywood and Redhead (1983)-left two loopholes for deterministic hidden variable theories, namely giving up either locality (more precisely: local contextuality, as in Bohmian mechanics) or free choice (i.e. uncorrelated measurement (...) settings, as in 't Hooft's cellular automaton interpretation of quantum mechanics). The main point is that Bell and others did not exploit the full empirical content of quantum mechanics, which consists of long series of outcomes of repeated measurements (idealized as infinite binary sequences): their arguments only used the long-run relative frequencies derived from such series, and hence merely asked hidden variable theories to reproduce single-case Born probabilities defined by certain entangled bipartite states. If we idealize binary outcome strings of a fair quantum coin flip as infinite sequences, quantum mechanics predicts that these typically (i.e. almost surely) have a property called 1-randomness in logic, which is much stronger than uncomputability. This is the key to my claim, which is admittedly based on a stronger (yet compelling) notion of determinism than what is common in the literature on hidden variable theories. (shrink)
In this paper, I reconstruct the development and the complex character of Zilsel’s conception of scientific laws. This concept functions as a fil rouge for understanding Zilsel’s philosophy throughout different times (here, the focus is on his Viennese writings and how they pave the way to the more renown American ones) and across his many fields of work (from physics to politics). A good decade before Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle was going to mark the outbreak of indeterminism in quantum physics, Edgar (...) Zilsel started to develop a complex logical-philosophical theory in which statistical and causal laws were given an indeterministic foundation (Zilsel 1916). However, in developing his thoughts on the emergence of regularities from disorder, Zilsel arrives at a profound ambiguity with respect to the ontological or the epistemic nature of laws and order in the world: Whether this order is to be conceived of as an empirical finding or as the product of reason – this would have to remain unclear. This tension between rationalism and empiricism, as well as a tension between a realist and an anti-realist conception of lawfulness, can be identified in both Zilsel’s Viennese and American writings: a tension which touches the core of the “application problem” that would keep haunting Zilsel until his premature death. (shrink)
This chapter is about Grete Hermann, a philosopher-mathematician who productively and mutually beneficially interacted with the founders of quantum mechanics in the early period of that theory's elaboration. Hermann was a neo-Kantian philosopher. At the heart of Immanuel Kant's critical philosophy lay the question of the conditions under which we can be said to know something objectively, a question Hermann found to be particularly pressing in quantum mechanics. Hermann's own approach to Neo-Kantianism was Neo-Friesian. Jakob Friedrich Fries, like Kant, had (...) understood critical philosophy to be an essentially epistemic project. Fries departed from Kant in his account of the elements involved in our cognition. In this chapter it is discussed how, beginning from a neo-Friesian understanding of critical philosophy, Hermann is led to conclude that quantum mechanics shows us that physical knowledge is fundamentally split; that the objects of quantum mechanics are only objects from a particular perspective and in the context of a particular physical interaction. It will be seen how Hermann's solution to the problem of objectivity in quantum mechanics is a natural one from a neo-Friesian point of view, even though it disagrees with those offered by more orthodox versions of Kantian doctrine. (shrink)
L’article de Karl Popper « Indeterminism in Quantum Physics and in Classical Physics » est tombé injustement dans l’oubli. Popper jugeait le déterminisme faux : l’avenir est ouvert. En principe, remplacer la variante de Laplace de la pré-détermination par une prédétermination prévisible permet de rendre scienti-fique, donc réfutable, le déterminisme « scientifique ». Popper a affirmé qu’il l’avait réfuté. Maintenant, un système métaphysique peut avoir une extension – au sens mathématique – qui le rend explicatif et testable. Si une extension (...) existe, alors elle n’est pas unique, et de nombreuses autres extensions alterna-tives existent. La preuve de Popper n’est alors pas concluante. (shrink)
Karl Popper’s “Indeterminism in Quantum Physics and in Classical Physics” suffers unjust neglect. He judged determinism false: the future is open. In principle, replacing Laplace's variant of predetermination with predictable predetermination renders “scientific” determinism scientific and so refutable. Popper claimed that he had refuted it. Now a metaphysical system may have an extension—in the mathematical sense—that may render it explanatory and testable. If it exists, then it is not unique but has many alternative extensions. Popper’s proof is then inconclusive.
In Calosi and Wilson (Phil Studies 2019/2018), we argue that on many interpretations of quantum mechanics (QM), there is quantum mechanical indeterminacy (QMI), and that a determinable-based account of metaphysical indeterminacy (MI), as per Wilson 2013 and 2016, properly accommodates the full range of cases of QMI. Here we argue that this approach is superior to other treatments of QMI on offer, both realistic and deflationary, in providing the basis for an intelligible explanation of the interference patterns in the double-slit (...) experiment. We start with a brief overview of the motivations for QMI and for a determinable-based account of MI (§1). We then apply a developed 'glutty' implementation of determinable-based QMI to the superposition-based QMI present in the double-slit experiment, and positively compare the associated explanation of double-slit interference with that available on a metaphysical supervaluationist account of QMI (§2). We then present and respond to objections, due to Glick (2017) and Torza (2017), either to QMI (§3) or to our specific account of QMI (§4); in these sections we also positively compare our treatment of double-slit interference to that available on Glick's deflationary treatment of QMI. We conclude with some dialectical observations (§5). (shrink)
What exists at the fundamental level of reality? On the standard picture, the fundamental reality contains (among other things) fundamental matter, such as particles, fields, or even the quantum state. Non-fundamental facts are explained by facts about fundamental matter, at least in part. In this paper, I introduce a non-standard picture called the "cosmic void” in which the universe is devoid of any fundamental material ontology. Facts about tables and chairs are recovered from a special kind of laws that satisfy (...) strong determinism. All non-fundamental facts are completely explained by nomic facts. I discuss a concrete example of this picture in a strongly deterministic version of the many-worlds theory of quantum mechanics. I discuss some philosophical and scientific challenges to this view, as well as some connections to ontological nihilism. (shrink)
Human freedom is in tension with nomological determinism and with statistical determinism. The goal of this paper is to answer both challenges. Four contributions are made to the free-will debate. First, we propose a classification of scientific theories based on how much freedom they allow. We take into account that indeterminism comes in different degrees and that both the laws and the auxiliary conditions can place constraints. A scientific worldview pulls towards one end of this classification, while libertarianism pulls towards (...) the other end of the spectrum. Second, inspired by Hoefer, we argue that an interval of auxiliary conditions corresponds to a region in phase space, and to a bundle of possible block universes. We thus make room for a form of non-nomological indeterminism. Third, we combine crucial elements from the works of Hoefer and List; we attempt to give a libertarian reading of this combination. On our proposal, throughout spacetime, there is a certain amount of freedom that can be interpreted as the result of agential choices. Fourth, we focus on the principle of alternative possibilities throughout and propose three ways of strengthening it. (shrink)
The assertion that an experiment by Afshar et al. demonstrates violation of Bohr’s Principle of Complementarity is based on the faulty assumption that which-way information in a double-slit interference experiment can be retroactively determined from a future measurement.
Indeterminism of quantum mechanics is considered as an immediate corollary from the theorems about absence of hidden variables in it, and first of all, the Kochen – Specker theorem. The base postulate of quantum mechanics formulated by Niels Bohr that it studies the system of an investigated microscopic quantum entity and the macroscopic apparatus described by the smooth equations of classical mechanics by the readings of the latter implies as a necessary condition of quantum mechanics the absence of hidden variables, (...) and thus, quantum indeterminism. Consequently, the objectivity of quantum mechanics and even its possibility and ability to study its objects as they are by themselves imply quantum indeterminism. The so-called free-will theorems in quantum mechanics elucidate that the “valuable commodity” of free will is not a privilege of the experimenters and human beings, but it is shared by anything in the physical universe once the experimenter is granted to possess free will. The analogical idea, that e.g. an electron might possess free will to “decide” what to do, scandalized Einstein forced him to exclaim (in a letter to Max Born in 2016) that he would be а shoemaker or croupier rather than a physicist if this was true. Anyway, many experiments confirmed the absence of hidden variables and thus quantum indeterminism in virtue of the objectivity and completeness of quantum mechanics. Once quantum mechanics is complete and thus an objective science, one can ask what this would mean in relation to classical physics and its objectivity. In fact, it divides disjunctively what possesses free will from what does not. Properly, all physical objects belong to the latter area according to it, and their “behavior” is necessary and deterministic. All possible decisions, on the contrary, are concentrated in the experimenters (or human beings at all), i.e. in the former domain not intersecting the latter. One may say that the cost of the determinism and unambiguous laws of classical physics, is the indeterminism and free will of the experimenters and researchers (human beings) therefore necessarily being out of the scope and objectivity of classical physics. This is meant as the “deterministic subjectivity of classical physics” opposed to the “indeterminist objectivity of quantum mechanics”. (shrink)
This book defends a radical new theory of contingency as a physical phenomenon. Drawing on the many-worlds approach to quantum theory and cutting-edge metaphysics and philosophy of science, it argues that quantum theories are best understood as telling us about the space of genuine possibilities, rather than as telling us solely about actuality. When quantum physics is taken seriously in the way first proposed by Hugh Everett III, it provides the resources for a new systematic metaphysical framework encompassing possibility, necessity, (...) actuality, chance, counterfactuals, and a host of related modal notions. -/- Rationalist metaphysicians argue that the metaphysics of modality is strictly prior to any scientific investigation; metaphysics establishes which worlds are possible, and physics merely checks which of these worlds is actual. Naturalistic metaphysicians respond that science may discover new possibilities and new impossibilities. This book's quantum theory of contingency takes naturalistic metaphysics one step further, allowing that science may discover what it is to be possible. As electromagnetism revealed the nature of light, as acoustics revealed the nature of sound, as statistical mechanics revealed the nature of heat, so quantum physics reveals the nature of contingency. (shrink)
Against what is commonly accepted in many contexts, it has been recently suggested that both deterministic and indeterministic quantum theories are not time‐reversal invariant, and thus time is handed in a quantum world. In this paper, I analyze these arguments and evaluate possible reactions to them. In the context of deterministic theories, first I show that this conclusion depends on the controversial assumption that the wave‐function is a physically real scalar field in configuration space. Then I argue that answers which (...) restore invariance by assuming the wave‐function is a ray in Hilbert space fall short. Instead, I propose that one should deny that the wave‐function represents physical systems, along the lines proposed by the so‐called primitive ontology approach. Moreover, in the context of indeterministic theories, I argue that time‐reversal invariance can be restored suitably redefining its meaning. (shrink)
On many currently live interpretations, quantum mechanics violates the classical supposition of value definiteness, according to which the properties of a given particle or system have precise values at all times. Here we consider whether either metaphysical supervaluationist or determinable-based approaches to metaphysical indeterminacy can accommodate quantum metaphysical indeterminacy (QMI). We start by discussing the standard theoretical indicator of QMI, and distinguishing three seemingly different sources of QMI (S1). We then show that previous arguments for the conclusion that metaphysical supervaluationism (...) cannot accommodate QMI, due to Darby 2010 and Skow 2010, are unsuccessful, in leaving open several supervaluationist responses. We go on to provide more comprehensive argumentation for the negative conclusion. Here, among other results, we establish that the problems for supervaluationism extend far beyond the concern that is the focus of Darby's and Skow's discussions (according to which a supervaluationist approach is incompatible with the orthodox interpretation, in light of the Kochen-Specker theorem) to also attach to common understandings of other interpretations on which there is QMI (S2). We then argue that a determinable-based account can successfully accommodate all three varieties of QMI (S3). We close by observing the positive mutual bearing of our results on the coherence and intelligibility of both quantum mechanics and metaphysical indeterminacy (S4). (shrink)
This publication is an appreciation of the natural philosophy and epistemology of the philosopher Grete (Henry-)Hermann. A student of the mathematician Emmy Noether and the philosopher Leonard Nelson, she was one of the early interpreters of quantum mechanics. Werner Heisenberg memorialized her in his book "The Part and the Whole". For the first time, her writings on natural philosophy and epistemology are collected in one volume. An extensive introduction by various authors introduces the work of Grete Henry-Hermann. This edition is (...) supplemented by excerpts from correspondence on natural philosophical and epistemological topics, including correspondence with Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, Werner Heisenberg, and Gustav Heckmann. Contents ● Grete Henry-Hermann's contribution to the interpretation of quantum mechanics ● Grete Henry-Hermann's work on the relationship between modern physics and transcendental philosophy ● Grete Hermann's dissertation: The Question of the Finitely Many Steps in the Theory of Polynomial Ideals (1925) ● Discussions on the question of free will and the significance of behavioral research for the critique of reason ● Excerpts from correspondence from 1925 to 1982. (shrink)
The received view in physicalist philosophy of mind assumes that causation can only take place at the physical domain and that the physical domain is causally closed. It is often thought that this leaves no room for mental states qua mental to have a causal influence upon the physical domain, leading to epiphenomenalism and the problem of mental causation. However, in recent philosophy of causation there has been growing interest in a line of thought that can be called causal antifundamentalism: (...) causal notions cannot play a role in physics, because the fundamental laws of physics are radically different from causal laws. Causal anti-fundamentalism seems to challenge the received view in physicalist philosophy of mind and thus raises the possibility of there being genuine mental causation after all. This paper argues that while causal anti-fundamentalism provides a possible route to mental causation, we have reasons to think that it is incorrect. Does this mean that we have to accept the received view and give up the hope of genuine mental causation? I will suggest that the ontological interpretation of quantum theory provides us both with a view about the nature of causality in fundamental physics, as well as a view how genuine mental causation can be compatible with our fundamental (quantum) physical ontology. (shrink)
I discuss David Chalmers’ “scrutability thesis,” roughly that a Laplacean intellect could know every truth about the universe from a “compact class” of basic truths. It is argued that despite Chalmers’ remarks to the contrary, the thesis is problematic owing to quantum indeterminacy. Chalmers attempts to “frontload” various principles into the compact class to help out. But though frontloading may succeed in principle, Chalmers does not frontload enough to avoid the problem.
La mécanique quantique est une théorie physique contemporaine réputée pour ses défis au sens commun et ses paradoxes. Depuis bientôt un siècle, plusieurs interprétations de la théorie ont été proposées par les physiciens et les philosophes, offrant des images quantiques du monde, ou des métaphysiques, radicalement différentes. L'existence d'un hasard fondamental, ou d'une multitude de mondes en-dehors du nôtre, dépend ainsi de l'interprétation adoptée. Cet article, en s'appuyant sur le livre Boyer-Kassem (2015), Qu'est-ce que la mécanique quantique ?, présente trois (...) principales interprétations quantiques, empiriquement équivalentes : l'interprétation dite orthodoxe, l'interprétation de Bohm, et l'interprétation des mondes multiples. (shrink)
La mécanique quantique est une théorie physique contemporaine réputée pour ses défis au sens commun et ses paradoxes. Depuis bientôt un siècle, plusieurs interprétations de la théorie ont été proposées par les physiciens et les philosophes, offrant des images quantiques du monde, ou des ontologies, radicalement différentes. L'existence d'un hasard fondamental, ou d'une multitude de mondes en-dehors du nôtre, dépend ainsi de l'interprétation adoptée. Après avoir discuté de la définition de l'interprétation d'une théorie physique, ce livre présente trois principales interprétations (...) quantiques, empiriquement équivalentes : l'interprétation dite orthodoxe, l'interprétation de Bohm, et l'interprétation des mondes multiples. Des textes d'Albert & Galchen, ainsi que de Mermin, présentent le concept de non-localité et invitent à une analyse de l'argument d'Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen et du théorème de Bell. (shrink)
Bell’s Theorem from Physics 36:1–28 (1964) and the (Strong) Free Will Theorem of Conway and Kochen from Notices AMS 56:226–232 (2009) both exclude deterministic hidden variable theories (or, in modern parlance, ‘ontological models’) that are compatible with some small fragment of quantum mechanics, admit ‘free’ settings of the archetypal Alice and Bob experiment, and satisfy a locality condition akin to parameter independence. We clarify the relationship between these theorems by giving reformulations of both that exactly pinpoint their resemblance and their (...) differences. Our reformulation imposes determinism in what we see as the only consistent way, in which the ‘ontological state’ initially determines both the settings and the outcome of the experiment. The usual status of the settings as ‘free’ parameters is subsequently recovered from independence assumptions on the pertinent (random) variables. Our reformulation also clarifies the role of the settings in Bell’s later generalization of his theorem to stochastic hidden variable theories. (shrink)
It is put forward that modern elementary particle physics cannot be completely unified with the laws of gravity and general relativity without addressing the question of the ontological interpretation of quantum mechanics itself. The position of superstring theory in this general question is emphasized: superstrings may well form exactly the right mathematical system that can explain how quantum mechanics can be linked to a deterministic picture of our world. Deterministic interpretations of quantum mechanics are usually categorically rejected, because of Bell’s (...) powerful observations, and indeed these apply here also, but we do emphasize that the models we arrive at are super-deterministic, which is exactly the case where Bell expressed his doubts. Strong correlations at space-like separations could explain the apparent contradictions. (shrink)
Bell’s theorem admits several interpretations or ‘solutions’, the standard interpretation being ‘indeterminism’, a next one ‘nonlocality’. In this article two further solutions are investigated, termed here ‘superdeterminism’ and ‘supercorrelation’. The former is especially interesting for philosophical reasons, if only because it is always rejected on the basis of extra-physical arguments. The latter, supercorrelation, will be studied here by investigating model systems that can mimic it, namely spin lattices. It is shown that in these systems the Bell inequality can be violated, (...) even if they are local according to usual definitions. Violation of the Bell inequality is retraced to violation of ‘measurement independence’. These results emphasize the importance of studying the premises of the Bell inequality in realistic systems. (shrink)
Starting with 1985, we discovered the possible existence of electrons with net helicity in biomolecules as amino acids and their possibility to discern between the two quantum spin states. It is well known that the question of a possible fundamental role of quantum mechanics in biological matter constitutes still a long debate. In the last ten years we have given a rather complete quantum mechanical elaboration entirely based on Clifford algebra whose basic entities are isomorphic to the well known spin (...) Pauli matrices. A number of our recent results indicate the possible logical origin of quantum mechanics and the direct admission of quantum mechanics in the field of cognitive sciences. In February 2011 the authors Gölder et al., published their important discovery on Science about Spin Selectivity in Electron Transmission Through Self-Assembled Monolayers of Double-Stranded DNA confirming in such manner that the principles of quantum mechanics apply to biological systems. (shrink)
This paper explores the issue of the unification of three languages of physics, the geometric language of forces, geometric language of fields or 4-dimensional space-time, and probabilistic language of quantum mechanics. On the one hand, equations in each language may be derived from the Principle of Least Action (PLA). On the other hand, Feynman's path integral method could explain the physical meaning of PLA. The axioms of classical and relativistic mechanics can be considered as consequences of Feynman's formulation of quantum (...) mechanics. (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)
The paper revisits the old controversy over causality and determinism and argues, in the first place, that non˗deterministic theories of modern science are largely irrelevant to the philosophical issue of the causality principle. As it seems to be the ‘moral’ of the uncertainty principle, the reason why a deterministic theory cannot be applied to the description of certain physical systems is that it is impossible to capture such properties of the system, which are required by a desired theory. These properties (...) constitute what is called ‘the state’ of a system. However, the notion of a state of a system is relative: it depends on a particular theory which one would like to use to describe given kinds of phenomena. This implies that, even in the case where the desired state of a system is fundamentally impossible to be captured, neither ontological nor epistemological determinism may be excluded. Some following critical considerations are also offered with regard to the claim that uncertainty is “rooted in the things themselves”. The cradle of modern discussions about causality and determinism is, of course, quantum mechanics. Because, as it appears, a judgment on deterministic or non˗deterministic character of a theory can be made only after some interpretation of this theory has been given, the paper briefly reminds some chosen interpretations of quantum mechanics (Schrödinger's, probabilistic, statistical, Copenhagen, and the interpretation of quantum ensembles). Many of such interpretations, offered in the past, have now been rejected, and some gained more credibility than the others. Nonetheless, even the claim that indeterminism is irremovable from the description of the micro-world doesn't imply the rejection of the most general formula of the philosophical causality principle. There is no direct implication between theses of the epistemology of scientific knowledge and those of the ontology of the real world. (shrink)
We review a rough scheme of quantum mechanics using the Clifford algebra. Following the steps previously published in a paper by another author , we demonstrate that quantum interference arises in a Clifford algebraic formulation of quantum mechanics. In 1932 J. von Neumann showed that projection operators and, in particular, quantum density matrices can be interpreted as logical statements. In accord with a previously obtained result by V. F Orlov , in this paper we invert von Neumann’s result. Instead of (...) constructing logic from quantum mechanics , we construct quantum mechanics from an extended classical logic. It follows that the origins of the two most fundamental quantum phenomena , the indeterminism and the interference of probabilities, lie not in the traditional physics by itself but in the logical structure as realized here by the Clifford algebra. (shrink)
Recently we have given proof of two theorems characterizing the Clifford algebra. By using such two theorems we have reformulated the well known von Neumann postulate on quantum measurements giving evidence of the algebraic manner in which quantum wave function collapse of quantum mechanics happens. In the present paper we introduce logic in Clifford algebra interpreting its idempotents as logical statements. Using the previously mentioned theorems we demonstrate that the two basic foundations of quantum mechanics, as the indeterminism and the (...) quantum interference, do not arise from physics itself but from logic. We advance the principles that there are levels of our reality in which we lose our possibility of unconditionally define the truth. At this level of reality we cannot separate matter per se from the basic foundations of the logic that we use to describe it. This logical relativism does not characterize classical mechanics but quantum physics. According to Y. F. Orlov, at quantum level the truths of logical statements about dynamic variables become dynamic variables themselves. (shrink)
We propose to experimentally test non-deterministic time evolution in quantum mechanics by consecutive measurements of non-commuting observables on the same prepared state. While in the standard theory the measurement outcomes are uncorrelated, in a super-deterministic hidden variables theory the measurements would be correlated. We estimate that for macroscopic experiments the correlation time is too short to have been noticed yet, but that it may be possible with a suitably designed microscopic experiment to reach a parameter range where one would expect (...) a super-deterministic modification of quantum mechanics to become relevant. (shrink)
This book chapter has no abstract. Sections: Introduction - Core Rules - Quantum-Mechanical Probabilities Are Conditional - The Principle of Evolution - Interpretational Strategy - A Scattering Experiment - There Only Is Room For One - A Two-Slit Experiment - Spatial Distinctions: Relative and Contingent - Spatial Distinctions: Not All the Way Down - Fuzzy Observables - The Shapes of Things - Space - The Macroworld - The Emergence of the Macroworld - Assigning Reality - Closing Words.
The principle of sufficient reason asserts that anything that happens does so for a reason: no definite state of affairs can come into being unless there is a sufficient reason why that particular thing should happen. This principle is usually attributed to Leibniz, although the first recorded Western philosopher to use it was Anaximander of Miletus. The demand that nature be rational, in the sense that it be compatible with the principle of sufficient reason, conflicts with a basic feature of (...) contemporary orthodox physical theory, namely the notion that nature’s response to the probing action of an observer is determined by pure chance, and hence on the basis of absolutely no reason at all. This appeal to pure chance can be deemed to have no rational fundamental place in reason-based Western science. It is argued here, on the basis of other basic principles of quantum physics, that in a world that conforms to the principle of sufficient reason, the usual quantum statistical rules will naturally emerge at the pragmatic level, in cases where the reason behind nature’s choice of response is unknown, but that the usual statistics can become biased when the reason for the choice is empirically identifiable. It is explained here that if the statistical laws of quantum mechanics were to be biased in this way then the basically forward-in-time unfolding of empirical reality described by orthodox quantum mechanics would generate the appearances of backward-time-effects of the kind that have been reported in the scientific literature. (shrink)
The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics assumes the existence of the classical deterministic Newtonian world. We argue that in fact the Newton determinism in classical world does not hold and in the classical mechanics there is fundamental and irreducible randomness. The classical Newtonian trajectory does not have a direct physical meaning since arbitrary real numbers are not observable. There are classical uncertainty relations: Δq>0 and Δp>0, i.e. the uncertainty (errors of observation) in the determination of coordinate and momentum is always (...) positive (non zero).A “functional” formulation of classical mechanics was suggested. The fundamental equation of the microscopic dynamics in the functional approach is not the Newton equation but the Liouville equation for the distribution function of the single particle. Solutions of the Liouville equation have the property of delocalization which accounts for irreversibility. The Newton equation in this approach appears as an approximate equation describing the dynamics of the average values of the position and momenta for not too long time intervals. Corrections to the Newton trajectories are computed. An interpretation of quantum mechanics is attempted in which both classical and quantum mechanics contain fundamental randomness. Instead of an ensemble of events one introduces an ensemble of observers. (shrink)
Zuerst werden die Argumente rekonstruiert, die dafür sprechen, Einsteins Wort, dass Gott nicht würfelt, als Ausdruck eines überholten deterministischen Weltbildes anzusehen. Anschließend werden Forschungsergebnisse der letzten Jahrzehnte benannt, die für eine Neubewertung seiner Position zur dominanten Interpretation der Quantenmechanik sprechen. Den Abschluß bildet die Diskussion der Möglichkeiten einer Reinterpretation seines Satzes vom nicht würfelnden Gott.
It is argued that seemingly “merely technical” issues about the existence and uniqueness of self-adjoint extensions of symmetric operators in quantum mechanics have interesting implications for foundations problems in classical and quantum physics. For example, pursuing these technical issues reveals a sense in which quantum mechanics can cure some of the forms of indeterminism that crop up in classical mechanics; and at the same time it reveals the possibility of a form of indeterminism in quantum mechanics that is quite distinct (...) from the indeterminism of state vector collapse. More generally, the examples considered indicate that the classical–quantum correspondence is more intricate and delicate than is generally appreciated. The aim of the article is to give a series of examples that reveal why the technical issues about self-adjointness are relevant to the philosophy of science and that help to make the issues accessible to philosophers of science. (shrink)
Various fault modes of determinism in classical physics are outlined. It is shown how quantum mechanics can cure some forms of classical indeterminism. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of HPS, University of Pittsburgh, 1017 Cathedral of Learning, Pittsburgh, PA 15260; e‐mail: [email protected].
Der Kern der libertarischen Freiheitsauffassung ist das So-oder-Anderskönnen unter gegebenen Bedingungen, also die Annahme von Zwei-Wege-Vermögen. Dieses definierende Merkmal wird in der jüngeren Freiheitsdebatte mit einer Reihe von Zusatzbehauptungen verknüpft, die dem Libertarier unterschoben werden, um die Unhaltbarkeit seiner Position zu erweisen. Ich unterscheide vier dieser Mythen: Dem Mythos des Dualismus zufolge leugnen Libertarier, dass Personen und ihre Entscheidungen Teil der natürlichen Welt sind. Dem Mythos der Unbedingtheit zufolge nehmen sie an, dass ein freier Wille ein durch nichts bedingter Wille (...) sei. Der Mythos des ersten Bewegers besagt, dass Akteure aus dem Nichts und unter Verletzung von Naturgesetzen Kausalketten in Gang setzen können. Dem Mythos der lokalen Kausallücke zufolge muss es für freie Entscheidungen eine spezielle Art von neuronaler Indeterminiertheit geben, also Lücken in einer ansonsten deterministischen Welt, die der freie Wille sich zunutze machen kann. – Um die libertarische Freiheitsauffassung fair evaluieren zu können, muss man sie von allen Zusätzen befreien, auf die sie nicht verpflichtet ist. (shrink)
In this paper we describe some first steps for bringing the framework of branching space-times to bear on quantum information theory. Our main application is quantum error correction. It is shown that branching space-times offers a new perspective on quantum error correction: as a supplement to the orthodox slogan, ``fight entanglement with entanglement'', we offer the new slogan, ``fight indeterminism with indeterminism''.
The causal indeterminacy suggested by quantum mechanics has led to its being the centerpiece of several proposals for divine action that does not contradict natural laws. However, even if the theoretical concerns about the reality of causal indeterminacy are ignored, quantum-level divine action fails to resolve the problem of ongoing, responsive divine activity. This is because most quantum-level actions require a significant period of time in order to reach macroscopic levels whether via chaotic amplification or complete divine control of quantum (...) events. Therefore, quantum-level divine action either requires divine foreknowledge of purportedly free or random events or imposes such limitations on divine actions that they become late, potentially impotent, and confused. I argue that the theological problem of divine action remains; even at its most promising, quantum mechanics offers insufficient resolution. This failure suggests a reexamination of the assumptions that God is temporal and lacks foreknowledge of future contingencies. (shrink)
In this paper we describe some first steps for bringing the framework of branching space-times (BST) to bear on quantum information theory. Our main application is quantum error correction. It is shown that BST offers a new perspective on quantum error correction: as a supplement to the orthodox slogan, “fight entanglement with entanglement”, we offer the new slogan, “fight indeterminism with indeterminism”.