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Relational Quantum Mechanics and the PBR Theorem: A Peaceful Coexistence

Oldofredi, Andrea and Calosi, Claudio (2021) Relational Quantum Mechanics and the PBR Theorem: A Peaceful Coexistence. [Preprint]


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According to Relational Quantum Mechanics (RQM) the wave function is considered neither a concrete physical item evolving in spacetime, nor an object representing the absolute state of a certain quantum system. In this interpretative framework, the wave function is defined as a computational device encoding observers’ information;
hence, RQM offers a somewhat epistemic view of the wave function. This perspective seems to be at odds with the PBR theorem, a formal result excluding that wave functions represent knowledge of an underlying reality described by some ontic state. In this paper we argue that RQM is not affected by the conclusions of PBR’s argument; consequently, the alleged inconsistency can be dissolved. To do that, we will thoroughly discuss the very foundations of the PBR theorem, i.e. Harrigan and Spekkens’ categorization of ontological models, showing that their implicit assumptions about the nature of the ontic state are incompatible with the main tenets of RQM. Then, we will ask whether it is possible to derive a relational PBR-type result, answering in the negative. This conclusion shows some limitations
of this theorem not yet discussed in the literature.

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Item Type: Preprint
Keywords: Relational Quantum Mechanics; PBR Theorem; Ontic States; Epistemic States;
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Dr. Andrea Oldofredi
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2021 14:06
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2021 14:06
Item ID: 19284
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Date: 6 July 2021

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