A critique of the disturbance theory of indeterminacy in quantum mechanics

Foundations of Physics 11 (1-2):1-20 (1981)

Harvey Brown
Oxford University
Heisenberg'sgendanken experiments in quantum mechanics have given rise to a widespread belief that the indeterminacy relations holding for the variables of a quantal system can be explained quasiclassically in terms of a disturbance suffered by the system in interaction with a quantal measurement, or state preparation, agent. There are a number of criticisms of this doctrine in the literature, which are critically examined in this article and found to be ininconclusive, the chief error being the conflation of this disturbance with the projection postulate. We present a critique of the disturbance theory based on the fact that the required disturbance will in general depend on the interaction time of the system and state-preparer. This point is exploited in the construction of a spin-interaction model which acts as a counterexample to the disturbance doctrine, while remaining faithful to the spirit of Heisenberg'sgedanken experiments. Several consequences of this result are discussed
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DOI 10.1007/BF00715192
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References found in this work BETA

The Physical Principles of the Quantum Theory.Werner Heisenberg - 1930 - Chicago: Ill., The University of Chicago Press.
The Logical Analysis of Quantum Mechanics.E. Scheibe - 1974 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 25 (4):352-358.
Measurements and Quantum States: Part I.Henry Margenau - 1963 - Philosophy of Science 30 (1):1-16.

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Citations of this work BETA

Holism in Microphysics.Silvio Seno Chibeni - 2004 - Epistemologia 27 (2):227-244.
Philosophen in der Mikrowelt — Ratlos?Manfred Stöckler - 1986 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 17 (1):68-95.
Philosophen in der Mikrowelt — ratlos?Manfred Stöckler - 1986 - Zeitschrift Für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 17 (1):68-95.

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