Journal Article

Quantum Selections, Propensities and the Problem of Measurement

Mauricio Suárez

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 55, issue 2, pages 219-255
Published in print June 2004 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online June 2004 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/55.2.219
Quantum Selections, Propensities and the Problem of Measurement

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This paper expands on, and provides a qualified defence of, Arthur Fine's selective interactions solution to the measurement problem. Fine's approach must be understood against the background of the insolubility proof of the quantum measurement. I first defend the proof as an appropriate formal representation of the quantum measurement problem. The nature of selective interactions, and more generally selections, is then clarified, and three arguments in their favour are offered. First, selections provide the only known solution to the measurement problem that does not relinquish any of the explicit premises of the insolubility proofs. Second, unlike some no-collapse interpretations of quantum mechanics, selections suffer no difficulties with non-ideal measurements. Third, unlike most collapse interpretations, selections can be independently motivated by an appeal to quantum propensities.

Introduction

The problem of quantum measurement

2.1 The ignorance interpretation of mixtures

2.2 The eigenstate–eigenvalue link

2.3 The quantum theory of measurement

The insolubility proof of the quantum measurement

3.1 Some notation

3.2 The transfer of probability condition (TPC)

3.3 The occurrence of outcomes condition (OOC)

A defence of the insolubility proof

4.1 Stein's critique

4.2 Ignorance is not required

4.3 The problem of quantum measurement is an idealisation

Selections

5.1 Representing dispositional properties

5.2 Selections solve the measurement problem

5.3 Selections and ignorance

Non-ideal selections

6.1 No-collapse interpretations and non-ideal measurements

6.2 Exact and approximate measurements

6.3 Selections for non-ideal interactions

6.4 Approximate selections

6.5 Implications for ignorance

Selective interactions test quantum propensities

7.1 Equivalence classes as physical ‘aspects’: a critique

7.2 Quantum dispositions

7.3 Selections as a propensity modal interpretation

7.4 A comparison with Popper's propensity interpretation

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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