Chapter

Critique of the Standard Interpretation

Bas C. van Fraassen

in Quantum Mechanics

Published in print September 1991 | ISBN: 9780198239802
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597466 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198239807.003.0008

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

 Critique of the Standard Interpretation

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Von Neumann's unification of Schroedinger's and Heisenberg's formalisms came with an interpretation of quantum theory involving two principles. The first is that assertions about the values of observables are equivalent to assertions about the quantum‐mechanical state of the system. This is sometimes known as the ’eigenvalue–eigenstate link’, since it equates an observable having a value with the system being in an eigenstate of that observable. The second is his Projection Postulate—i.e. the postulate that during measurement there is a ’collapse of the wave packet’. It is argued that the theory does not force these principles on us, and that there are severe difficulties in this interpretation, despite also its more recent defences.

Keywords: collapse of the wave packet; eigenstate; eigenvalue; Werner Heisenberg; interpretation; measurement; John Von Neumann; observables; projection postulate; Erwin Schroedinger

Chapter.  12267 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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