Interpretations of Probability in Quantum Mechanics: A Case of “Experimental Metaphysics”
- 1k Downloads
After reviewing paradigmatic cases of “experimental metaphysics” basing inferences against local realism and determinism on experimental tests of Bells theorem (and successors), we concentrate on clarifying the meaning and status of “objective probability” in quantum mechanics. The terms “objective” and “subjective” are found ambiguous and inadequate, masking crucial differences turning on the question of what the numerical values of probability functions measure vs. the question of the nature of the “events” on which such functions are defined. This leads naturally to a 2×2 matrix of types of interpretations, which are then illustrated with salient examples. (Of independent interest are the splitting of “Copenhagen interpretation” into “objective” and “subjective” varieties in one of the dimensions and the splitting of Bohmian hidden variables from (other) modal interpretations along that same dimension.) It is then explained why Everett interpretations are difficult to categorize in these terms. Finally, we argue that Bohmian mechanics does not seriously threaten the experimental-metaphysical case for ultimate randomness and purely physical probabilities.
KeywordsQuantum Probability Bohmian Mechanic Hide Variable Theory Copenhagen Interpretation Pure Quantum State
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 6.Kosso, P.  Apperance and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Physics (New York: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
- 10.Bohm, D.  Quantum Theory (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall).Google Scholar
- 13.van Fraassen, B.C.  Quantum Mechanics: An Empiricist View (Oxford: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
- 18.Bub, J.  “Popper's Propensity Interpretation of Probability and Quantum Mechanics”, G. Maxwell and R. M. Anderson, eds., Induction, Probability, and Confirmation (Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science Vol. VI, Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press), pp. 416–429.Google Scholar
- 20.Jammer, M.  The Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics (New York: Wiley).Google Scholar
- 22.Everett, H.  “The Theory of the Universal Wave Function”, in B. DeWitt and N. Graham, eds. The Many-Worlds Intrerpretation of Quantum Mechanics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973).Google Scholar
- 23.Earman, J.  Bayes or Bust? (Cambridge, MA: MIT).Google Scholar
- 27.Albert, D.Z.  Quantum Mechanics and Experience (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).Google Scholar
- 28.Bub, J., Clifton, R., and Monton, B.  “The Bare Theory Has No Clothes”, in R. Healey and G. Hellman, eds. Quantm Measurement: Beyond Paradox (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press), pp. 32–51.Google Scholar