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A New Problem for Quantum Mechanics

Meehan, Alexander (2019) A New Problem for Quantum Mechanics. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.

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Abstract

In this article I raise a new problem for quantum mechanics, which I call the control problem. Like the measurement problem, the control problem places a fundamental constraint on quantum theories. The characteristic feature of the problem is its focus on state preparation. In particular, whereas the measurement problem turns on a premise about the completeness of the quantum state ('no hidden variables'), the control problem turns on a premise about our ability to prepare or control quantum states. After raising the problem, I discuss some applications. I suggest that it provides a useful new lens through which to view existing theories or interpretations, in part because it draws attention to aspects of those theories that the measurement problem does not (such as the role of conditional and relative states). I suggest that it also helps clarify the physical significance of the well-known no-go result -- the no-cloning theorem -- on which it is based.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Meehan, Alexanderalexandermeehan@princeton.edu
Keywords: quantum mechanics, the control problem, the measurement problem, state preparation, the no-cloning theorem, quantum states
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Computation/Information > Quantum
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Alexander Meehan
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2019 04:25
Last Modified: 04 Dec 2019 04:25
Item ID: 16676
Journal or Publication Title: The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axz053
DOI or Unique Handle: axz053
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Computation/Information > Quantum
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Date: 3 December 2019
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16676

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