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A Consistent Quantum Ontology

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


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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
Griffiths, Robert
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 11:16
Last Modified: 28 May 2011 11:16
Item ID: 8626
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Date: 19 May 2011

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