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Interpretation Neutrality in the Classical Domain of Quantum Theory

Rosaler, Joshua (2015) Interpretation Neutrality in the Classical Domain of Quantum Theory. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 53. pp. 54-72. ISSN 1355-2198

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Abstract

I show explicitly how concerns about wave function collapse and ontology can be decoupled from the bulk of technical analysis necessary to recover localized, approximately Newtonian trajectories from quantum theory. In doing so, I demonstrate that the account of classical behavior provided by decoherence theory can be straightforwardly tailored to give accounts of classical behavior on multiple interpretations of quantum theory, including the Everett, de Broglie-Bohm and GRW interpretations. I further show that this interpretation-neutral, decoherence-based account conforms to a general view of inter-theoretic reduction in physics that I have elaborated elsewhere, which differs from the oversimplified and often ambiguous picture that treats reduction simply as a matter of taking limits. This interpretation-neutral account rests on a general three-pronged strategy for reduction between quantum and classical theories that combines decoherence, an appropriate form of Ehrenfest's Theorem, and a decoherence-compatible mechanism for collapse. It also incorporates a novel argument as to why branch-relative trajectories should be approximately Newtonian, which is based on a little-discussed extension of Ehrenfest's Theorem to open systems, rather than on the more commonly cited but less germane closed-systems version. In the Conclusion, I briefly suggest how the strategy for quantum-classical reduction described here might be extended to reduction between other classical and quantum theories, including classical and quantum field theory and classical and quantum gravity.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Rosaler, Joshuajrosaler@gmail.com
Keywords: quantum, classical, reduction, correspondence principle, decoherence, measurement problem, Everett, de Broglie-Bohm, Bohmian mechanics, GRW
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
General Issues > Determinism/Indeterminism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
General Issues > Theory Change
Depositing User: Dr. Joshua Rosaler
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2016 01:43
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2016 01:43
Item ID: 11993
Journal or Publication Title: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Publisher: Elsevier
Official URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S...
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
General Issues > Determinism/Indeterminism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Gravity
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
General Issues > Theory Change
Date: 13 October 2015
Page Range: pp. 54-72
Volume: 53
ISSN: 1355-2198
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/11993

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