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Between classical and quantum
, 2008
"... The relationship between classical and quantum theory is of central importance to the philosophy of physics, and any interpretation of quantum mechanics has to clarify it. Our discussion of this relationship is partly historical and conceptual, but mostly technical and mathematically rigorous, inclu ..."
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The relationship between classical and quantum theory is of central importance to the philosophy of physics, and any interpretation of quantum mechanics has to clarify it. Our discussion of this relationship is partly historical and conceptual, but mostly technical and mathematically rigorous, including over 500 references. For example, we sketch how certain intuitive ideas of the founders of quantum theory have fared in the light of current mathematical knowledge. One such idea that has certainly stood the test of time is Heisenberg’s ‘quantumtheoretical Umdeutung (reinterpretation) of classical observables’, which lies at the basis of quantization theory. Similarly, Bohr’s correspondence principle (in somewhat revised form) and Schrödinger’s wave packets (or coherent states) continue to be of great importance in understanding classical behaviour from quantum mechanics. On the other hand, no consensus has been reached on the Copenhagen Interpretation, but in view of the parodies of it one typically finds in the literature we describe it in detail. On the assumption that quantum mechanics is universal and complete, we discuss three ways in which classical physics has so far been believed to emerge from quantum physics, namely
NonBoolean Descriptions for MindMatter Problems
"... A framework for the mindmatter problem in a holistic universe which has no parts is outlined. The conceptual structure of modern quantum theory suggests to use complementary Boolean descriptions as elements for a more comprehensive nonBoolean description of a world without an apriorigiven mindmat ..."
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Cited by 6 (0 self)
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A framework for the mindmatter problem in a holistic universe which has no parts is outlined. The conceptual structure of modern quantum theory suggests to use complementary Boolean descriptions as elements for a more comprehensive nonBoolean description of a world without an apriorigiven mindmatter distinction. Such a description in terms of a locally Boolean but globally nonBoolean structure makes allowance for the fact that Boolean descriptions play a privileged role in science. If we accept the insight that there are no ultimate building blocks, the existence of holistic correlations between contextually chosen parts is a natural consequence. The main problem of a genuinely nonBoolean description is to find an appropriate partition of the universe of discourse. If we adopt the idea that all fundamental laws of physics are invariant under time translations, then we can consider a partition of the world into a tenseless and a tensed domain. In the sense of a regulative principle, the material domain is defined as the tenseless domain with its homogeneous time. The tensed domain contains the mental domain with a tensed time characterized by a privileged position, the Now. Since this partition refers to two complementary descriptions which are not given apriori,wehavetoexpectcorrelations between these two domains. In physics it corresponds to Newton’s separation of universal laws of nature and contingent initial conditions. Both descriptions have a nonBoolean structure and can be encompassed into a single nonBoolean description. Tensed and tenseless time can be synchronized by holistic correlations. 1.
When champions meet: Rethinking the Bohr–Einstein debate
, 2006
"... Einstein’s philosophy of physics (as clarified by Fine and Howard) was predicated on his Trennungsprinzip, a combination of separability and locality, without which he believed “physical thought ” and “physical laws ” to be impossible. Bohr’s philosophy (as elucidated by Hooker, Scheibe, Folse, Howa ..."
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Cited by 5 (3 self)
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Einstein’s philosophy of physics (as clarified by Fine and Howard) was predicated on his Trennungsprinzip, a combination of separability and locality, without which he believed “physical thought ” and “physical laws ” to be impossible. Bohr’s philosophy (as elucidated by Hooker, Scheibe, Folse, Howard, and others), on the other hand, was grounded in a seemingly different doctrine about the possibility of objective knowledge, namely the necessity of classical concepts. In fact, it follows from Raggio’s Theorem in algebraic quantum theory that within a suitable class of physical theories Einstein’s doctrine is mathematically equivalent to Bohr’s, so that quantum mechanics accommodates Einstein’s Trennungsprinzip if and only if it is interpreted à la Bohr through classical physics. Unfortunately, the protagonists themselves failed to discuss their differences in a constructive way, since in its early phase their debate was blurred by an undue emphasis on the uncertainty relations, whereas in its second stage it was dominated by Einstein’s flawed attempts to establish the “incompleteness ” of quantum mechanics. These two aspects of their debate may still be understood and appreciated, however, as reflecting a much deeper and insurmountable disagreement between Bohr and Einstein on the knowability of Nature. Using the theological controversy on the knowability of God as a analogy, Einstein was a Spinozist, whereas Bohr could be said to be on the side of Maimonides. Thus Einstein’s offthecuff characterization of Bohr as a ‘Talmudic philosopher ’ was spoton.
Proving the Principle: Taking Geodesic Dynamics Too Seriously in Einstein’s Theory”, forthcoming
 in Studies in the History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
, 2012
"... In his initial formulation of the general theory of relativity, Einstein's proposal that freely falling gravitating massive bodies follow geodesic paths was submitted as an independent fundamental principle. By adopting this geodesic principle to supply the theory's law of motion, Einste ..."
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In his initial formulation of the general theory of relativity, Einstein's proposal that freely falling gravitating massive bodies follow geodesic paths was submitted as an independent fundamental principle. By adopting this geodesic principle to supply the theory's law of motion, Einstein was immediately able to recover both the freefall motion of bodies in nonrelativistic regimes and the previously anomalous precession of the perihelion of Mercury. Over the last century numerous ostensible proofs claiming to have derived the geodesic principle from Einstein's field equations have been developed. As a result physicists and philosophers of science alike frequently herald Einstein's theory for having the unique distinction of being able to derive its dynamical law of motion from its own field equations. In this paper I critically survey the multiple attempts to derive the geodesic principle in the context of Einstein's theory. Grouping these results into three major families, which I refer to as (1) limit operation proofs, (2) 0thorder proofs, and (3) singularity proofs, I argue that none of these strategies successfully demonstrates the geodesic principle, canonically interpreted as a dynamical law that massive bodies must actually follow geodesic paths in Einstein's theory. Specifically, I argue for the following three claims: First, limit operation proofs fail to demonstrate
Schrödinger’s Wave Mechanics Determine the Motion of a System Completely
, 2004
"... Einstein’s unpublished 1927 deterministic trajectory interpretation of quantum mechanics is critically examined, in particular with regard to the reason given by Einstein for rejecting his theory. It is shown that the aspect Einstein found objectionable—the mutual dependence of the motions of partic ..."
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Einstein’s unpublished 1927 deterministic trajectory interpretation of quantum mechanics is critically examined, in particular with regard to the reason given by Einstein for rejecting his theory. It is shown that the aspect Einstein found objectionable—the mutual dependence of the motions of particles when the (manybody) wavefunction factorises—is a generic attribute of his theory but that this feature may be removed by modifying Einstein’s method in either of two ways: using a suggestion of Grommer or, in a physically important special case, using a simpler technique. It is emphasized though that the presence or absence of the interdependence property does not determine the acceptability of a trajectory theory. It is shown that there are other grounds for rejecting Einstein’s theory (and the two modified theories), to do with its domain of applicability and compatibility with empirical predictions. That Einstein’s reason for rejection is not a priori grounds for discarding a trajectory theory is demonstrated by reference to an alternative deterministic trajectory theory that displays similar particle interdependence yet is compatible with quantum predictions. KEY WORDS: Einstein; quantum theory; interpretation; hidden variables; particle trajectories; entanglement.
Bohr–Einstein debate
"... differences in this constructive way, since their debate was dominated by Einstein’s ingenious but ultimately flawed attempts to establish the ‘‘incompleteness’ ’ of quantum mechanics. This aspect of ARTICLE IN PRESS www.elsevier.com/locate/shpsb13552198/ $ see front matter r 2005 Elsevier Ltd. Al ..."
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differences in this constructive way, since their debate was dominated by Einstein’s ingenious but ultimately flawed attempts to establish the ‘‘incompleteness’ ’ of quantum mechanics. This aspect of ARTICLE IN PRESS www.elsevier.com/locate/shpsb13552198/ $ see front matter r 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.shpsb.2005.10.002 Email address: landsman@math.ru.nl.their debate may still be understood and appreciated, however, as reflecting a much deeper and insurmountable disagreement between Bohr and Einstein about the knowability of Nature. Using the theological controversy on the knowability of God as a analogy, we can say that Einstein was a Spinozist, whereas Bohr could be said to be on the side of Maimonides. Thus Einstein’s offthecuff characterization of Bohr as a ‘Talmudic philosopher ’ was spoton.
The statistical interpretation according to Born and Heisenberg
"... At the 1927 Solvay conference Born and Heisenberg presented a joint report on quantum mechanics. I suggest that the significance of this report lies in that it contains a ‘final ’ formulation of the statistical interpretation of quantum mechanics that goes beyond Born’s original proposal. In partic ..."
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At the 1927 Solvay conference Born and Heisenberg presented a joint report on quantum mechanics. I suggest that the significance of this report lies in that it contains a ‘final ’ formulation of the statistical interpretation of quantum mechanics that goes beyond Born’s original proposal. In particular, this formulation imports elements from Heisenberg’s work as well as from the transformation theory of Dirac and Jordan. I suggest further a reading of Born and Heisenberg’s position in which the wave function is an effective notion. This can make sense of a remarkable aspect of their presentation, namely the fact that the ‘quantum mechanics ’ of Born and Heisenberg apparently lacks wave function collapse. 1
An Einstein manuscript on the EPR paradox for spin observables
, 2007
"... A formulation by Einstein of the EinsteinPodolskyRosen incompleteness argument found in his scientific manuscripts is presented and briefly commented on. It is the only known version in which Einstein discussed the argument for spin observables. The manuscript dates, in all probability, from late ..."
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A formulation by Einstein of the EinsteinPodolskyRosen incompleteness argument found in his scientific manuscripts is presented and briefly commented on. It is the only known version in which Einstein discussed the argument for spin observables. The manuscript dates, in all probability, from late 1954 or early 1955 and hence also represents Einstein’s latest version of the incompleteness argument and one of his last statements on quantum theory in general. A puzzling formulation raises the question of Einstein’s interpretation of space quantization and the nonclassical spin degree of freedom.
StatisticalRealism versus WaveRealism in the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics
"... Abstract: Different realistic attitudes towards wavefunctions and quantum states are as old as quantum theory itself. Recently Pusey, Barret and Rudolph (PBR) on the one hand, and Auletta and Tarozzi (AT) on the other, have proposed new interesting arguments in favor of a broad realistic interpretat ..."
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Abstract: Different realistic attitudes towards wavefunctions and quantum states are as old as quantum theory itself. Recently Pusey, Barret and Rudolph (PBR) on the one hand, and Auletta and Tarozzi (AT) on the other, have proposed new interesting arguments in favor of a broad realistic interpretation of quantum mechanics that can be considered the modern heir to some views held by the fathers of quantum theory. In this paper we give a new and detailed presentation of such arguments, propose a new taxonomy of different realistic positions in the foundations of quantum mechanics and assess the scope, within this new taxonomy, of these realistic arguments.
Insolubility from NoSignalling
, 2013
"... This paper improves on the result in my Bacciagaluppi (2013), showing that within the framework of the unitary Schrödinger equation it is impossible to reproduce the phenomenological description of quantum mechanical measurements (in particular the collapse of the state of the measured system) by ..."
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This paper improves on the result in my Bacciagaluppi (2013), showing that within the framework of the unitary Schrödinger equation it is impossible to reproduce the phenomenological description of quantum mechanical measurements (in particular the collapse of the state of the measured system) by assuming a suitable mixed initial state of the apparatus. The result follows directly from the nosignalling theorem applied to the entangled state of measured system and ancilla. As opposed to other ‘insolubility theorems ’ for the measurement problem of quantum mechanics, it focuses on the impossibility of reproducing the phenomenological collapse of the state of the measured system. Phenomenologically, a quantum measurement consists of a transformation of the state of a quantum system (the ‘collapse ’ of the state) upon interaction with a suitable measuring apparatus. In each experimental setup (‘measurement’), one of a family of transformations can take place, with a characteristic probability distribution determined by the quantum state of the system (the ‘Born rule’).