Two dogmas about quantum mechanics

TitleTwo dogmas about quantum mechanics
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsBub, J, Pitowsky, I
Date Published2007/12/27

We argue that the intractable part of the measurement problem -- the 'big'
measurement problem -- is a pseudo-problem that depends for its legitimacy on
the acceptance of two dogmas. The first dogma is John Bell's assertion that
measurement should never be introduced as a primitive process in a fundamental
mechanical theory like classical or quantum mechanics, but should always be
open to a complete analysis, in principle, of how the individual outcomes come
about dynamically. The second dogma is the view that the quantum state has an
ontological significance analogous to the significance of the classical state
as the 'truthmaker' for propositions about the occurrence and non-occurrence of
events, i.e., that the quantum state is a representation of physical reality.
We show how both dogmas can be rejected in a realist information-theoretic
interpretation of quantum mechanics as an alternative to the Everett
interpretation. The Everettian, too, regards the 'big' measurement problem as a
pseudo-problem, because the Everettian rejects the assumption that measurements
have definite outcomes, in the sense that one particular outcome, as opposed to
other possible outcomes, actually occurs in a quantum measurement process. By
contrast with the Everettians, we accept that measurements have definite
outcomes. By contrast with the Bohmians and the GRW 'collapse' theorists who
add structure to the theory and propose dynamical solutions to the 'big'
measurement problem, we take the problem to arise from the failure to see the
significance of Hilbert space as a new kinematic framework for the physics of
an indeterministic universe, in the sense that Hilbert space imposes kinematic
(i.e., pre-dynamic) objective probabilistic constraints on correlations between