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Summary The relational interpretation is a realist no-collapse approach to quantum mechanics defended primarily by Carlo Rovelli. It has commonalities with Everettian quantum mechanics, but instead of treating all the worlds as equally real it treats their existence as a relative matter: the only determinate facts about measurement outcomes are relative to an observer state.
Key works The relational interpretation was first set out in Rovelli 1996
Introductions Laudisa 2008
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  1. added 2020-03-02
    Perspectival Objectivity Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Observer-Dependent Reality.Peter W. Evans - forthcoming - European Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Building on self-professed perspectival approaches to both scientific knowledge and causation, I explore the potentially radical suggestion that perspectivalism can be extended to account for a type of objectivity in science. Motivated by recent claims from quantum foundations that quantum mechanics must admit the possibility of observer-dependent facts, I develop the notion of 'perspectival objectivity', and suggest that an easier pill to swallow, philosophically speaking, than observer-dependency is perspective-dependency, allowing for a notion of observer-independence indexed to an agent perspective. Working (...)
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  2. added 2019-12-19
    Can We Make Sense of Relational Quantum Mechanics?Quentin Ruyant - 2018 - Foundations of Physics 48 (4):440-455.
    The relational interpretation of quantum mechanics proposes to solve the measurement problem and reconcile completeness and locality of quantum mechanics by postulating relativity to the observer for events and facts, instead of an absolute “view from nowhere”. The aim of this paper is to clarify this interpretation, and in particular, one of its central claims concerning the possibility for an observer to have knowledge about other observer’s events. I consider three possible readings of this claim, and develop the most promising (...)
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  3. added 2019-01-28
    Boolean Information Sieves: A Local-to-Global Approach to Quantum Information.Elias Zafiris - 2010 - International Journal of General Systems 39 (8):873-895.
    We propose a sheaf-theoretic framework for the representation of a quantum observable structure in terms of Boolean information sieves. The algebraic representation of a quantum observable structure in the relational local terms of sheaf theory effectuates a semantic transition from the axiomatic set-theoretic context of orthocomplemented partially ordered sets, la Birkhoff and Von Neumann, to the categorical topos-theoretic context of Boolean information sieves, la Grothendieck. The representation schema is based on the existence of a categorical adjunction, which is used as (...)
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  4. added 2019-01-28
    Quantum Observables Algebras and Abstract Differential Geometry: The Topos-Theoretic Dynamics of Diagrams of Commutative Algebraic Localizations.Elias Zafiris - 2007 - International Journal of Theoretical Physics 46 (2):319-382.
    We construct a sheaf-theoretic representation of quantum observables algebras over a base category equipped with a Grothendieck topology, consisting of epimorphic families of commutative observables algebras, playing the role of local arithmetics in measurement situations. This construction makes possible the adaptation of the methodology of Abstract Differential Geometry (ADG), à la Mallios, in a topos-theoretic environment, and hence, the extension of the “mechanism of differentials” in the quantum regime. The process of gluing information, within diagrams of commutative algebraic localizations, generates (...)
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  5. added 2019-01-28
    Generalized Topological Covering Systems on Quantum Events' Structures.Elias Zafiris - 2006 - Journal of Physics A: Mathematics and Applications 39 (6):1485-1505.
    Homologous operational localization processes are effectuated in terms of generalized topological covering systems on structures of physical events. We study localization systems of quantum events' structures by means of Gtothendieck topologies on the base category of Boolean events' algebras. We show that a quantum events algebra is represented by means of a Grothendieck sheaf-theoretic fibred structure, with respect to the global partial order of quantum events' fibres over the base category of local Boolean frames.
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  6. added 2019-01-28
    Category-Theoretic Analysis of the Notion of Complementarity for Quantum Systems.Elias Zafiris - 2006 - International Journal of General Systems 35 (1):69-89.
    In this paper we adopt a category-theoretic viewpoint in order to analyze the semantics of complementarity for quantum systems. Based on the existence of a pair of adjoint functors between the topos of presheaves of the Boolean kind of structure and the category of the quantum kind of structure, we establish a twofold complementarity scheme which constitutes an instance of the concept of adjunction. It is further argued that the established scheme is inextricably connected with a realistic philosophical attitude, although (...)
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  7. added 2019-01-28
    Interpreting Observables in a Quantum World From the Categorial Standpoint.Elias Zafiris - 2004 - International Journal of Theoretical Physics 43 (1):265-298.
    We develop a relativistic perspective on structures of quantum observables, in terms of localization systems of Boolean coordinatizing charts. This perspective implies that the quantum world is comprehended via Boolean reference frames for measurement of observables, pasted together along their overlaps. The scheme is formalized categorically, as an instance of the adjunction concept. The latter is used as a framework for the specification of a categorical equivalence signifying an invariance in the translational code of communication between Boolean localizing contexts and (...)
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  8. added 2019-01-27
    Boolean Localization Of Quantum Events: A Processual Sheaf-Theoretic Approach.Elias Zafiris - 2016 - In David Ray Griffin, Michael Epperson & Timothy E. Eastman (eds.), Physics and Speculative Philosophy: Potentiality in Modern Science. De Gruyter. pp. 107-126.
  9. added 2019-01-27
    Loops, Projective Invariants, and the Realization of the Borromean Topological Link in Quantum Mechanics.Elias Zafiris - 2016 - Quantum Studies: Mathematics and Foundations 3 (4):337-359.
    All the typical global quantum mechanical observables are complex relative phases obtained by interference phenomena. They are described by means of some global geometric phase factor, which is thought of as the “memory” of a quantum system undergoing a “cyclic evolution” after coming back to its original physical state. The origin of a geometric phase factor can be traced to the local phase invariance of the transition probability assignment in quantum mechanics. Beyond this invariance, transition probabilities also remain invariant under (...)
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  10. added 2019-01-27
    Differential Sheaves and Connections: A Natural Approach to Physical Geometry.Anastasios Mallios & Elias Zafiris - 2015 - World Scientific.
    This unique book provides a self-contained conceptual and technical introduction to the theory of differential sheaves. This serves both the newcomer and the experienced researcher in undertaking a background-independent, natural and relational approach to "physical geometry". In this manner, this book is situated at the crossroads between the foundations of mathematical analysis with a view toward differential geometry and the foundations of theoretical physics with a view toward quantum mechanics and quantum gravity. The unifying thread is provided by the theory (...)
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  11. added 2018-02-19
    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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  12. added 2018-02-19
    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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  13. added 2018-02-17
    Quantum Frames.Matthew J. Brown - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 45:1-10.
    The framework of quantum frames can help unravel some of the interpretive difficulties i the foundation of quantum mechanics. In this paper, I begin by tracing the origins of this concept in Bohr's discussion of quantum theory and his theory of complementarity. Engaging with various interpreters and followers of Bohr, I argue that the correct account of quantum frames must be extended beyond literal space–time reference frames to frames defined by relations between a quantum system and the exosystem or external (...)
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  14. added 2017-09-27
    Making Sense of the Mental Universe.Bernardo Kastrup - 2017 - Philosophy and Cosmology 19 (1):33-49.
    In 2005, an essay was published in Nature asserting that the universe is mental and that we must abandon our tendency to conceptualize observations as things. Since then, experiments have confirmed that — as predicted by quantum mechanics — reality is contextual, which contradicts at least intuitive formulations of realism and corroborates the hypothesis of a mental universe. Yet, to give this hypothesis a coherent rendering, one must explain how a mental universe can — at least in principle — accommodate (...)
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  15. added 2016-12-21
    Grete Henry-Hermann: Philosophie – Mathematik – Quantenmechanik : Texte Zur Naturphilosophie Und Erkenntnistheorie, Mathematisch-Physikalische Beiträge Sowie Ausgewählte Korrespondenz Aus den Jahren 1925 Bis 1982.Herrmann Kay (ed.) - 2019 - Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden.
    Die vorliegende Veröffentlichung stellt eine Würdigung der Naturphilosophie und Erkenntnistheorie der Philosophin Grete Henry-Hermann dar. Die Schülerin der Mathematikerin Emmy Noether und des Philosophen Leonard Nelson gehört zu den frühen Interpret(inn)en der Quantenmechanik. Werner Heisenberg setzte ihr in seinem Buch „Der Teil und das Ganze“ ein Denkmal. Erstmals sind in einem Band ihre naturphilosophischen und erkenntnistheoretischen Schriften zusammengefasst. Eine umfangreiche Einleitung verschiedener Autoren führt in das Werk von Grete Henry-Hermann ein. Ergänzt wird diese Ausgabe durch Auszüge aus der Korrespondenz über (...)
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  16. added 2016-07-31
    Bohr’s Relational Holism and the Classical-Quantum Interaction.Mauro Dorato - manuscript
    In this paper I present and critically discuss the main strategies that Bohr used and could have used to fend off the charge that his interpretation does not provide a clear-cut distinction between the classical and the quantum domain. In particular, in the first part of the paper I reassess the main arguments used by Bohr to advocate the indispensability of a classical framework to refer to quantum phenomena. In this respect, by using a distinction coming from an apparently unrelated (...)
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  17. added 2015-04-17
    Die Einheit des Wirklichen - Carl Friedrich v. Weizsäckers Denkweg.Mathias Schüz - 1986 - Neske - Klett.
  18. added 2015-03-09
    Physical Relations or Functional Relations? A Non-Metaphysical Construal of Rovelli’s Relational Quantum Mechanics.Michel Bitbol - unknown
    Rovelli’s RQM is first characterized by contrast with both Everett’s and Bohr’s interpretations of quantum mechanics. Then, it is shown that a basic difficulty arises from the choice of formulating RQM in a naturalistic framework. Even though, according to Rovelli’s interpretation, statements about the world only make sense relative to certain naturalized observers described by means of quantum mechanics, this very meta-statement seems to make sense relative to a sort of super-observer which does not partake of the naturalized status of (...)
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  19. added 2015-03-03
    Events and the Ontology of Quantum Mechanics.Mauro Dorato - 2015 - Topoi 34 (2):369-378.
    In the first part of the paper I argue that an ontology of events is precise, flexible and general enough so as to cover the three main alternative formulations of quantum mechanics as well as theories advocating an antirealistic view of the wave function. Since these formulations advocate a primitive ontology of entities living in four-dimensional spacetime, they are good candidates to connect that quantum image with the manifest image of the world. However, to the extent that some form of (...)
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  20. added 2014-12-26
    Reconciling Spacetime and the Quantum: Relational Blockworld and the Quantum Liar Paradox. [REVIEW]William Mark Stuckey, Michael Silbserstein & Michael Cifone - 2008 - Foundations of Physics 38 (4):348-383.
    The Relational Blockworld (RBW) interpretation of non-relativistic quantum mechanics (NRQM) is introduced. Accordingly, the spacetime of NRQM is a relational, non-separable blockworld whereby spatial distance is only defined between interacting trans-temporal objects. RBW is shown to provide a novel statistical interpretation of the wavefunction that deflates the measurement problem, as well as a geometric account of quantum entanglement and non-separability that satisfies locality per special relativity and is free of interpretative mystery. We present RBW’s acausal and adynamical resolution of the (...)
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  21. added 2014-12-26
    The Relational Blockworld Interpretation of Non-Relativistic Quantum Mechanics.W. M. Stuckey, Michael Silberstein & Michael Cifone - unknown
    We introduce a new interpretation of non-relativistic quantum mechanics (QM) called Relational Blockworld (RBW). We motivate the interpretation by outlining two results due to Kaiser, Bohr, Ulfeck, Mottelson, and Anandan, independently. First, the canonical commutation relations for position and momentum can be obtained from boost and translation operators,respectively, in a spacetime where the relativity of simultaneity holds. Second, the QM density operator can be obtained from the spacetime symmetry group of the experimental configuration exclusively. We show how QM, obtained from (...)
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  22. added 2014-12-16
    Multisolipsism.Andrew Soltau - unknown
    A perspective on Everett's relative state formulation is proposed, leading to a simple relational quantum mechanics. There are inevitably a large number of different versions of the world in which a specific observer could exist, and in the universe of the unitary wave function they are all existing and coincident. If these different versions of the world are superposed, the effective physical environment in the functional frame of reference of this observer would be highly indeterminate, since every possible variation of (...)
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  23. added 2014-12-16
    The Quantum Mechanical Frame of Reference.Andrew Soltau - unknown
    Everett demonstrates the appearance of collapse, within the context of the unitary linear dynamics. However, he does not state clearly how observers are to have determinate measurement records, hence 50 years of debate. This, however, is inherent. He defines the observer as the record of observations, which, naturally, is the record of correlations established with the physical environment. As in Rovelli's Relational Quantum Mechanics, the correlations record is the sole determinant of the effective physical environment, here the quantum mechanical frame (...)
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  24. added 2014-12-16
    Times Two: The Tenses of Linear and Collapse Dynamics in Relational Quantum Mechanics.Andrew Soltau - manuscript
    The nature and topology of time remains an open question in philosophy, both tensed and tenseless concepts of time appear to have merit. A concept of time including both kinds of time evolution of physical systems in quantum mechanics subsumes the properties of both notions. The linear dynamics defines the universe probabilistically throughout space-time, and can be seen as the definition of a block universe. The collapse dynamics is the time evolution of the linear dynamics, and is thus of different (...)
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  25. added 2014-12-16
    Universe Superposition, Relational Quantum Mechanics, and the Reality of the No-Collapse Universe.Andrew Soltau - unknown
    A perspective on Everett's relative state formulation is proposed leading to a relational quantum mechanics. There are inevitably a large number of different versions of the universe in which a specific observer could exist, and in the universe of the unitary wave function they are all existing and coincident. If these different versions of the universe are superposed the result is a universe in which the superposition of all of the identical copies sums to a single observer. The effective universe (...)
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  26. added 2014-11-15
    The Metaphysics of Relations,.Anna Marmodoro & David Yates (eds.) - 2016 - Oxford University Press UK.
    Fifteen philosophers offer new essays exploring the metaphysics of relations from antiquity to the present day. They address topics as diverse as ancient and medieval reasons for scepticism about polyadic properties; recent attempts to reduce causal and spatiotemporal relations; recent work on the directionality of relational properties; powers ontologies and their associated problems; whether the most promising interpretations of quantum mechanics posit a fundamentally relational world; and whether the very idea of such a world is coherent. From those who question (...)
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  27. 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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  28. added 2014-03-14
    Relational Quantum Mechanics.Carlo Rovelli - 1996 - International Journal of Theoretical Physics 35 (8):1637--1678.
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  29. added 2014-03-09
    Objectivity in Perspective: Relationism in the Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. [REVIEW]Dennis Dieks - 2009 - Foundations of Physics 39 (7):760-775.
    Pekka Lahti is a prominent exponent of the renaissance of foundational studies in quantum mechanics that has taken place during the last few decades. Among other things, he and coworkers have drawn renewed attention to, and have analyzed with fresh mathematical rigor, the threat of inconsistency at the basis of quantum theory: ordinary measurement interactions, described within the mathematical formalism by Schrödinger-type equations of motion, seem to be unable to lead to the occurrence of definite measurement outcomes, whereas the same (...)
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  30. added 2013-09-16
    Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics and Emptiness.Michele Caponigro & Ravi Prakash - 2009 - NeuroQuantology Journal, June 2009 7 (2):198-203.
    The underlying physical reality is a central notion in the interpretations of quantum mechanics. The a priori physical reality notion affects the corresponding interpretation. This paper explore the possibility to establish a relationship between philosophical concept of physical reality in Nagarjuna's epistemology (emptiness) and the picture of underlying physical reality in Einstein, Rovelli and Zeilinger positions. This analysis brings us to conclude that the notion of property of a quantum object is untenable. We can only speak about relational property of (...)
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  31. added 2011-07-01
    Relational Quantum Mechanics and the Determinacy Problem.Matthew Brown - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (4):679-695.
    Carlo Rovelli's relational interpretation of quantum mechanics holds that a system's states or the values of its physical quantities as normally conceived only exist relative to a cut between a system and an observer or measuring instrument. Furthermore, on Rovelli's account, the appearance of determinate observations from pure quantum superpositions happens only relative to the interaction of the system and observer. Jeffrey Barrett ([1999]) has pointed out that certain relational interpretations suffer from what we might call the ‘determinacy problem', but (...)
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