Two dogmas about quantum mechanics

In Simon Saunders, Jonathan Barrett, Adrian Kent & David Wallace (eds.), Many Worlds?: Everett, Quantum Theory & Reality. Oxford University Press (2007)

Authors
Jeffrey Bub
University of Maryland, College Park
Abstract
We argue that the intractable part of the measurement problem -- the 'big' measurement problem -- is a pseudo-problem that depends for its legitimacy on the acceptance of two dogmas. The first dogma is John Bell's assertion that measurement should never be introduced as a primitive process in a fundamental mechanical theory like classical or quantum mechanics, but should always be open to a complete analysis, in principle, of how the individual outcomes come about dynamically. The second dogma is the view that the quantum state has an ontological significance analogous to the significance of the classical state as the 'truthmaker' for propositions about the occurrence and non-occurrence of events, i.e., that the quantum state is a representation of physical reality. We show how both dogmas can be rejected in a realist information-theoretic interpretation of quantum mechanics as an alternative to the Everett interpretation. The Everettian, too, regards the 'big' measurement problem as a pseudo-problem, because the Everettian rejects the assumption that measurements have definite outcomes, in the sense that one particular outcome, as opposed to other possible outcomes, actually occurs in a quantum measurement process. By contrast with the Everettians, we accept that measurements have definite outcomes. By contrast with the Bohmians and the GRW 'collapse' theorists who add structure to the theory and propose dynamical solutions to the 'big' measurement problem, we take the problem to arise from the failure to see the significance of Hilbert space as a new kinematic framework for the physics of an indeterministic universe, in the sense that Hilbert space imposes kinematic objective probabilistic constraints on correlations between events.
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References found in this work BETA

Bohmian Mechanics.Sheldon Goldstein - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Problem of Hidden Variables in Quantum Mechanics.Simon Kochen & E. P. Specker - 1967 - Journal of Mathematics and Mechanics 17:59--87.
Everett and Structure.David Wallace - 2003 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 34 (1):87-105.
Quantum Theory of Probability and Decisions.David Deutsch - 1999 - Proceedings of the Royal Society of London:3129--37.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Quantum Revolution in Philosophy.David Wallace - 2020 - Analysis 80 (2):381-388.
Quantum States for Primitive Ontologists: A Case Study.Gordon Belot - 2012 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (1):67-83.
Drawing the Line Between Kinematics and Dynamics in Special Relativity.Michel Janssen - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 40 (1):26-52.
Drawing the Line Between Kinematics and Dynamics in Special Relativity.Michel Janssen - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 40 (1):26-52.
Quantum Monism: An Assessment.Claudio Calosi - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (12):3217-3236.

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