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Representation and the Quantum State

Healey, Richard A. (2021) Representation and the Quantum State. [Preprint]

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Alternative views of quantum states are often expressed using the language of representation. It is important to distinguish three questions here: What is a quantum state? How may a quantum state be represented? What, if anything, does a quantum state represent? I defend answers to these questions against alternatives. In brief, a quantum state is an objective relational property of a physical system that describes neither its intrinsic physical properties nor anyone’s epistemic state. A quantum state is representational (in my preferred sense of that term) and many quantum states are real. Since its primary role is to assign Born probabilities to certain physical events involving the system, a quantum state may be represented in quantum theory by any mathematical object that facilitates this role. If it represents anything, a quantum state represents the objective probabilities it yields in this way.

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Item Type: Preprint
Healey, Richard A.rhealey@email.arizona.edu0000-0001-9329-2927
Additional Information: To appear in Valia Allori (ed.) Quantum Mechanics and Fundamentality. Springer.
Keywords: quantum state, representation, relational, objective
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Depositing User: Richard Andrew Healey
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2021 01:58
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2021 01:58
Item ID: 19617
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Date: 26 September 2021

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