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A Consistent Quantum Ontology

Griffiths, Robert B. (2011) A Consistent Quantum Ontology. [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    The (consistent or decoherent) histories interpretation provides a consistent realistic ontology for quantum mechanics, based on two main ideas. First, a logic (system of reasoning) is employed which is compatible with the Hilbert-space structure of quantum mechanics as understood by von Neumann: quantum properties and their negations correspond to subspaces and their orthogonal complements. It employs a special (single framework) syntactical rule to construct meaningful quantum expressions, quite different from the quantum logic of Birkhoff and von Neumann. Second, quantum time development is treated as an inherently stochastic process under all circumstances, not just when measurements take place. The time-dependent Schr\"odinger equation provides probabilities, not a deterministic time development of the world. The resulting interpretive framework has no measurement problem and can be used to analyze in quantum terms what is going on before, after, and during physical preparation and measurement processes. In particular, appropriate measurements can reveal quantum properties possessed by the measured system before the measurement took place. There are no mysterious superluminal influences: quantum systems satisfy an appropriate form of Einstein locality. This ontology provides a satisfactory foundation for quantum information theory, since it supplies definite answers as to what the information is about. The formalism of classical (Shannon) information theory applies without change in suitable quantum contexts, and this suggests the way in which quantum information theory extends beyond its classical counterpart.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Keywords: ontology, quantum logic, consistent histories, quantum information
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
    General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
    Depositing User: Dr. Robert B. Griffiths
    Date Deposited: 28 May 2011 07:16
    Last Modified: 28 May 2011 07:16
    Item ID: 8626
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/8626

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