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Decoherence and its Role in the Modern Measurement Problem

Wallace, David (2011) Decoherence and its Role in the Modern Measurement Problem. [Preprint]

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Decoherence is widely felt to have something to do with the quantum measurement problem, but getting clear on just what is made diffcult by the fact that the "measurement problem", as traditionally presented in foundational and philosophical discussions, has become somewhat disconnected from the conceptual problems posed by real physics. This, in turn,
is because quantum mechanics as discussed in textbooks and in foundational discussions has become somewhat removed from scientific practice, especially where the analysis of measurement is concerned.

This paper has two goals: firstly (sections 1-2), to present an account of how quantum measurements are actually dealt with in modern physics (hint: it doesn't involve a collapse of the wavefunction) and to state the measurement problem from the perspective of that account; and secondly (sections 3-4), to clarify what role decoherence plays in modern measurement theory and what effect it has on the various strategies that have been proposed to solve the measurement problem.

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Item Type: Preprint
Additional Information: Invited submission to special issue of Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. Lond., edited by Amit Hagar
Keywords: Quantum theory Decoherence Measurement Problem Quantum Measurement Problem
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Professor David Wallace
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 01:57
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2015 15:52
Item ID: 8889
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Date: November 2011

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