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Interpreting the Quantum
, 1997
"... This paper is a commentary on the foundational significance of the CliftonBubHalvorson theorem characterizing quantum theory in terms of three informationtheoretic constraints. I argue that: (1) a quantum theory is best understood as a theory about the possibilities and impossibilities of informa ..."
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This paper is a commentary on the foundational significance of the CliftonBubHalvorson theorem characterizing quantum theory in terms of three informationtheoretic constraints. I argue that: (1) a quantum theory is best understood as a theory about the possibilities and impossibilities of information transfer, as opposed to a theory about the mechanics of nonclassical waves or particles, (2) given the informationtheoretic constraints, any mechanical theory of quantum phenomena that includes an account of the measuring instruments that reveal these phenomena must be empirically equivalent to a quantum theory, and (3) assuming the informationtheoretic constraints are in fact satisfied in our world, no mechanical theory of quantum phenomena that includes an account of measurement interactions can be acceptable, and the appropriate aim of physics at the fundamental level then becomes the representation and manipulation of information.
Quantum information and computation
 arXiv:quantph/0512125. Forthcoming in Butterfield and Earman (eds.) Handbook of Philosophy of Physics
, 2005
"... This Chapter deals with theoretical developments in the subject of quantum information and quantum computation, and includes an overview of classical information and some relevant quantum mechanics. The discussion covers topics in quantum communication, quantum cryptography, and quantum computation, ..."
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This Chapter deals with theoretical developments in the subject of quantum information and quantum computation, and includes an overview of classical information and some relevant quantum mechanics. The discussion covers topics in quantum communication, quantum cryptography, and quantum computation, and concludes by considering whether a perspective in terms of quantum information
Two Dogmas About Quantum Mechanics
"... We argue that the intractable part of the measurement problem—the ‘big ’ measurement problem—is a pseudoproblem 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 fundament ..."
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We argue that the intractable part of the measurement problem—the ‘big ’ measurement problem—is a pseudoproblem 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 nonoccurrence 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 informationtheoretic interpretation of quantum mechanics as an alternative to the Everett interpretation. The Everettian, too, regards the ∗Email address:
PURE QUANTUM INTERPRETATIONS ARE NOT VIABLE
, 903
"... Abstract. Pure interpretations of quantum theory, which reject the classical part of the Copenhagen interpretation without adding new structure to it’s quantum part, are not viable. This is a consequence of a nonuniqueness result for the canonical operators. 1. Introduction: The ..."
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Abstract. Pure interpretations of quantum theory, which reject the classical part of the Copenhagen interpretation without adding new structure to it’s quantum part, are not viable. This is a consequence of a nonuniqueness result for the canonical operators. 1. Introduction: The
A SYMMETRY PROBLEM IN THE COPENHAGEN INTERPRETATION
, 909
"... Abstract. A nonuniqueness result for the canonical structure in quantum theory shows that the classical part of the Copenhagen interpretation contains physically important information not contained in it’s quantum part. As a consequence, we cannot compute the symmetry group of a quantum theory cons ..."
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Abstract. A nonuniqueness result for the canonical structure in quantum theory shows that the classical part of the Copenhagen interpretation contains physically important information not contained in it’s quantum part. As a consequence, we cannot compute the symmetry group of a quantum theory considering only the quantum part. The unavoidable vagueness of the classical part therefore leads to a similar vagueness in the definition of the symmetry group. This makes it at least problematic, if not impossible, to establish the true symmetry group of a quantum theory in the Copenhagen interpretation. Different from the old measurement problem, the symmetry group is to important physically to be rejected as a metaphysical pseudoproblem. 1.
Collapse theories as beable theories ∗
"... I discuss the interpretation of spontaneous collapse theories, with particular reference to Bell’s suggestion that the stochastic jumps in the evolution of the wave function should be considered as local beables of the theory. I develop this analogy in some detail for the case of nonrelativistic GR ..."
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I discuss the interpretation of spontaneous collapse theories, with particular reference to Bell’s suggestion that the stochastic jumps in the evolution of the wave function should be considered as local beables of the theory. I develop this analogy in some detail for the case of nonrelativistic GRWtype theories, using a generalisation of Bell’s notion of beables to POV measures. In the context of CSLtype theories, I am very grateful to Décio Krause for this excellent opportunity to complete a project I had been involved with for some time. Indeed, while Sections 4 and 5 of this paper are new and were written at the Centre for Time, Department of Philosophy, University of Sydney, Sections 1–3 were written during my tenure of an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship at the University and the IGPP of Freiburg, and were presented at the Twelfth U.K. Conference on the Philosophy of Physics, Leeds, September 2003. Since then, I have become aware that ideas on the analogy between collapse theories and beable theories have been discussed independently both before and since (Kent 1989, Dowker and Henson 2004, Dowker and Herbauts 2004, 2005, Tumulka 2006, Allori et al. 2008). Gambetta and Wiseman (2004) have also independently generalised beable theories to the case of POVMs, similarly to what done in Section 3.2. I am extremely grateful to Lajos Diósi for pointing out the serious mistake of my original conjecture that the approach to GRWtype theories described in Section 3 could be extended to CSL. The end of that section has been revised accordingly, and I discuss a different approach to CSL in Section 4. Finally, I wish to thank Fay Dowker, Wayne Myrvold and Alberto Rimini for discussions on these topics in the early phases of my work on this paper, and Owen Maroney, Max Schlosshauer, Ward Struyve and Hans Westman for more recent discussions.