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On the Status of Quantum State Realism

Myrvold, Wayne C. (2020) On the Status of Quantum State Realism. [Preprint]


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In this chapter, I argue that we have good reason for being realist about quantum states. Though a research programme of attempting to construct a plausible theory that accounts for quantum phenomena without ontic quantum states is well-motivated, that research programme is confronted by considerable obstacles. Two theorems are considered that place restrictions on a theory of that sort: a theorem due to Barrett, Cavalcanti, Lal, and Maroney, and an extension, by the author, of the Pusey Barrett Rudolph theorem, that employs an assumption weaker than their Cartesian Product Assumption. These theorems have assumptions, of course. If there were powerful evidence against the conclusion that quantum states correspond to something in physical reality, it might be reasonable to reject these assumptions. But the situation we find ourselves in is the opposite: there is no evidence at all supporting irrealism about quantum states.

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Item Type: Preprint
Myrvold, Wayne
Additional Information: Forthcoming in Steven French and Juha Saatsi, eds., Scienti�c Realism and the Quantum, Oxford University Press, 2020.
Keywords: Scientific realism; Quantum theory; Quantum state realism; Ontological models framework; Quantum field theory; Barrett-Cavalcanti-Lal-Maroney theorem; Pusey-Barrett-Rudolph theorem; Preparation Independence Postulate
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Wayne Myrvold
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2019 23:23
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2019 23:23
Item ID: 16655
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Date: 2020

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