Journal Article

That von Neumann Did Not Believe in a Physical Collapse

Lon Becker

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 55, issue 1, pages 121-135
Published in print March 2004 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online March 2004 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/55.1.121
That von Neumann Did Not Believe in a Physical Collapse

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Many works intended to introduce interpretive issues in quantum mechanics present John von Neumann as having a view in which measurement produces a physical collapse in the system being measured. In this paper I argue that such a reading of von Neumann is inconsistent with what von Neumann actually says. I show that much of what he says makes no sense on the physical collapse reading, but falls into place if we assume he does not have such a view. I show that the physical collapse view is based on an understanding of ‘state’ which von Neumann does not share.

Introduction

The standard reading of von Neumann

The standard reading of von Neumann and Chapter VI

The Chapter VI argument

The Chapter V argument

The Chapters III and IV argument

Conclusion

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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