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Subjectivists about Quantum Probabilities Should be Realists about Quantum States

Myrvold, Wayne C. (2020) Subjectivists about Quantum Probabilities Should be Realists about Quantum States. [Preprint]

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Abstract

There is a significant body of literature, which includes Itamar Pitowksy's "Betting on Outcomes of Measurements," that sheds light on the structure of quantum mechanics, and the ways in which it differs from classical mechanics, by casting the theory in terms of agents' bets on the outcomes of experiments. Though this approach, by itself, is neutral as to the ontological status of quantum observables and quantum states, some, notably those who adopt the label ``QBism'' for their views, take this approach as providing incentive to conclude that quantum states represent nothing in physical reality, but, rather, merely encode an agent's beliefs. In this chapter, I will argue that the arguments for realism about quantum states go through when the probabilities involved are taken to be subjective, if the conclusion is about the agent's beliefs: an agent whose credences conform to quantum probabilities should believe that preparation procedures with which she associates distinct pure quantum states produce distinct states of reality. The conclusion can be avoided only by stipulation of limitations on the agent's theorizing about the world, limitations that are not warranted by the empirical success of quantum mechanics or any other empirical considerations. Subjectivists about quantum probabilities should be realists about quantum states.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Myrvold, Wayne C.wmyrvold@uwo.ca
Additional Information: Forthcoming in Meir Hemmo and Orly Shenker, eds., Quantum, Probability, Logic: The Work and Influence of Itamar Pitowsky (Springer Nature, 2020).
Keywords: Quantum mechanics; quantum ontology; Pusey-Barrett-Rudolph theorem; QBism; subjective probability
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Wayne Myrvold
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2019 23:22
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2019 23:22
Item ID: 16656
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Date: 2020
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16656

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