Interpretation and Decoherence: A Contribution to the Debate Vassallo & Esfeld Versus Crull

Foundations of Physics 47 (11):1423-1427 (2017)

Two recent papers appeared in FOOP disagree regarding the role played by decoherence in quantum physics. On the one hand, Elise Crull considers that decoherence, by itself, solves many conceptual problems in quantum physics, with no need of interpretative considerations. On the other hand, Antonio Vassallo and Michael Esfeld reply by correctly claiming that, although decoherence is a powerful tool to deal with conceptual problems, it does not dispense us from interpreting the formalism. In this brief note we want to contribute to the debate with further considerations from another viewpoint. In this work we show that the discussions "decoherence versus interpretation" revolve around whether the theory of decoherence requires interpretive considerations to solve the measurement problem. In general, those discussions take the theory of decoherence for granted, as if it would not involve any difficulty. Therefore, they commonly focus on the "interpretation" wing: even in the case that the open system decoheres in a given basis, the whole closed system is still in a superposition and, thus, without an adequate interpretation, it cannot be said that the observables defined by that basis behave classically. Here we have focused on the "decoherence" wing: given the conceptual challenges that the theory must face and the alternative approaches to the orthodox view, the understanding of the very phenomenon of decoherence still requires a great deal of interpretive work.
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DOI 10.1007/s10701-017-0121-4
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References found in this work BETA

The Ergodic Hierarchy, Randomness and Hamiltonian Chaos.Joseph Berkovitz, Roman Frigg & Fred Kronz - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 37 (4):661-691.

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Yes, More Decoherence: A Reply to Critics.Elise M. Crull - 2017 - Foundations of Physics 47 (11):1428-1463.

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