New Prospects for a Causally Local Formulation of Quantum Theory

Abstract

It is difficult to extract reliable criteria for causal locality from the limited ingredients found in textbook quantum theory. In the end, Bell humbly warned that his eponymous theorem was based on criteria that “should be viewed with the utmost suspicion.” Remarkably, by stepping outside the wave-function paradigm, one can reformulate quantum theory in terms of old-fashioned configuration spaces together with ‘unistochastic’ laws. These unistochastic laws take the form of directed conditional probabilities, which turn out to provide a hospitable foundation for encoding microphysical causal relationships. This unistochastic reformulation provides quantum theory with a simpler and more transparent axiomatic foundation, plausibly resolves the measurement problem, and deflates various exotic claims about superposition, interference, and entanglement. Making use of this reformulation, this paper introduces a new principle of causal locality that is intended to improve on Bell's criteria, and shows directly that systems that remain at spacelike separation cannot exert causal influences on each other, according to that new principle. These results therefore lead to a general hidden-variables interpretation of quantum theory that is arguably compatible with causal locality.

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2024-03-03

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Jacob Barandes
Harvard University

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