The 'Decoherence' Approach to the Measurement Problem in Quantum Mechanics


Abstract
Decoherence results from the dissipative interaction between a quantum system and its environment. As the system and environment become entangled, the reduced density operator describing the system "decoheres" into a mixture (with the interference terms damped out). This formal result prompts some to exclaim that the measurement problem is solved. I will scrutinize this claim by examining how modal and relative-state interpretations can use decoherence. Although decoherence cannot rescue these interpretations from general metaphysical difficulties, decoherence may help these interpretations to pick out a preferred basis. I will explore whether decoherence solves nagging technical problems associated with selecting a preferred basis.
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Self-Induced Decoherence: A New Approach.Mario Castagnino & Olimpia Lombardi - 2004 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 35 (1):73-107.
Modal Interpretations, Decoherence and Measurements.Guido Bacciagaluppi & Meir Hemmo - 1996 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 27 (3):239-277.
Modal Interpretations, Decoherence and Measurements.Guido Bacciagaluppi & Meir Hemmo - 1996 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 27 (3):239-277.

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