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Why we cannot see the tails of Schrödinger's cat

Gao, Shan (2018) Why we cannot see the tails of Schrödinger's cat. [Preprint]

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Abstract

In collapse theories of quantum mechanics such as the GRW theory, the measurement result is represented by the post-measurement state which is still a superposition of different result branches, although the modulus squared of the amplitude of one result branch is close to one. This leads to the tails problem. In this paper, I present a new analysis of the tails problem of collapse theories, and suggest a more complete solution to the problem. First, I argue that the tails problem exists not only in collapse theories, but also in Everett's theory and even in Bohm's theory. Moreover, I point out that the tails problem has two levels: the physical and mental levels, which may be called the objective and subjective tails problems, respectively. One needs to analyze not only the connection between high modulus-squared values and macro-existence, but also the connection between these values and our experience of macro-existence. Second, I briefly review the existing solutions to the objective and subjective tails problems. I argue that although the objective tails problem may be solved more directly, one needs to further investigate the psychophysical connection in order to solve the subjective tails problem. Third, I analyze how the mental state of an observer is determined by her wave function in collapse theories. It is argued that the mental content of an observer is related to the amplitude of each result branch of the superposition she is physically in, and it may be composed of all possible results. Moreover, it is conjectured that the modulus squared of the amplitude of each result branch may determine the vividness of the part of the mental content containing the result. Finally, I argue that this vividness conjecture may help solve the subjective tails problem of collapse theories.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Gao, Shansgao7319@uni.sydney.edu.au
Keywords: Schrödinger's cat; tails problem; collapse theories; Everett's theory; psychophysical connection; vividness conjecture
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Theory/Observation
Depositing User: Prof. Shan Gao
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2018 23:13
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2018 23:13
Item ID: 15438
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Theory/Observation
Date: 12 December 2018
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15438

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