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Do We Have Any Viable Solution to the Measurement Problem?

Adlam, Emily (2022) Do We Have Any Viable Solution to the Measurement Problem? [Preprint]

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Abstract

Wallace (2022) has recently argued that a number of popular approaches to the measurement problem can't be fully extended to relativistic quantum mechanics and quantum field theory; Wallace thus contends that as things currently stand, only the unitary-only approaches to the measurement problem are viable. However, the unitary-only approaches face serious epistemic problems which may threaten their viability as solutions, and thus we consider that it remains an urgent outstanding problem to find a viable solution to the measurement problem which can be extended to relativistic quantum mechanics. In this article we seek to understand in general terms what such a thing might look like. We argue that in order to avoid serious epistemic problems, the solution must be a single-world realist approach, and we further argue that any single-world realist approach which is able to reproduce the predictions of relativistic quantum mechanics will most likely have the property that our observable reality does not supervene on dynamical, precisely-defined microscopic beables. Thus we suggest three possible routes for further exploration: observable reality could be approximate and emergent, as in relational quantum mechanics with the addition of cross-perspective links, or observable reality could supervene on beables which are not microscopically defined, as in the consistent histories approach, or observable reality could supervene on beables which are not dynamical, as in Kent's solution to the Lorentzian classical reality problem. We conclude that once all of these issues are taken into account, the options for a viable solution to the measurement problem are significantly narrowed down.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Adlam, Emilyeadlam90@gmail.com
Keywords: The measurement problem; quantum field theory; relational quantum mechanics; consistent histories
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Dr Emily Adlam
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2023 14:11
Last Modified: 16 Jan 2023 14:11
Item ID: 21664
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Date: 15 January 2022
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/21664

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