Classical physics and quantum physics suggest two meta-physical types of reality: the classical notion of a objectively definite reality with properties "all the way down," and the quantum notion of an objectively indefinite type of reality. The problem of interpreting quantum mechanics (QM) is essentially the problem of making sense out of an objectively indefinite reality. These two types of reality can be respectively associated with the two mathematical concepts of subsets and quotient sets (or partitions) which are category-theoretically dual (...) to one another and which are developed in two mathematical logics, the usual Boolean logic of subsets and the more recent logic of partitions. Our sense-making strategy is "follow the math" by showing how the logic and mathematics of set partitions can be transported in a natural way to Hilbert spaces where it yields the mathematical machinery of QM--which shows that the mathematical framework of QM is a type of logical system over ℂ. And then we show how the machinery of QM can be transported the other way down to the set-like vector spaces over ℤ₂ showing how the classical logical finite probability calculus (in a "non-commutative" version) is a type of "quantum mechanics" over ℤ₂, i.e., over sets. In this way, we try to make sense out of objective indefiniteness and thus to interpret quantum mechanics. (shrink)
(v.3) In this paper it is argued that Barad's Agential Realism, an approach to quantum mechanics originating in the philosophy of Niels Bohr, can be the basis of a 'theory of everything' consistent with a proposal of Wheeler that 'observer-participancy is the foundation of everything'. On the one hand, agential realism can be grounded in models of self- organisation such as the hypercycles of Eigen, while on the other agential realism, by virtue of the 'discursive practices' that constitute one aspect (...) of the theory, implies the possibility of the generation of physical phenomena through acts of specification originating at a more fundamental level. This kind of order stems from the association of persisting structures with special mechanisms for sustaining such structures. Included in phenomena that may be generated by these mechanisms are the origin and evolution of life, and human capacities such as mathematical and musical intuition. (shrink)
The Schrodinger's Cat and Wigner's Friend thought experiments, which logically follow from the universality of quantum mechanics at all scales, have been repeatedly characterized as possible in principle, if perhaps difficult or impossible for all practical purposes. I show in this paper why these experiments, and interesting macroscopic superpositions in general, are actually impossible in principle. First, no macroscopic superposition can be created via the slow process of natural quantum packet dispersion because all macroscopic objects are inundated with decohering interactions (...) that constantly localize them. Second, the SC/WF thought experiments depend on von Neumann-style amplification to achieve quickly what quantum dispersion achieves slowly. Finally, I show why such amplification cannot produce a macroscopic quantum superposition of an object relative to an external observer, no matter how well isolated the object from the observer, because: the object and observer are already well correlated to each other; and reducing their correlations to allow the object to achieve a macroscopic superposition relative to the observer is equally impossible, in principle, as creating a macroscopic superposition via the process of natural quantum dispersion. (shrink)
This chapter argues that the general philosophy of science should learn metaphilosophical lessons from the case of metaphysical underdetermination, as it occurs in non-relativistic quantum mechanics. Section presents the traditional discussion of metaphysical underdetermination regarding the individuality and non-individuality of quantum particles. Section discusses three reactions to it found in the literature: eliminativism about individuality; conservatism about individuality; eliminativism about objects. Section wraps it all up with metametaphysical considerations regarding the epistemology of metaphysics of science.
Metaphysical indeterminacy in the context of quantum mechanics is often motivated by the eigenstate-eigenvalue link. However, the sparse view of Glick illustrates why it has no such implications. Other links connecting quantum states and property ascriptions—such as those associated with the GRW theory—may introduce indeterminacy, but such indeterminacy may be viewed as merely representational and is susceptible to familiar treatments of vagueness. Thus, I contend that such links fail to provide a compelling motivation for quantum metaphysical indeterminacy.
Distinctions in fundamentality between different levels of description are central to the viability of contemporary decoherence-based Everettian quantum mechanics (EQM). This approach to quantum theory characteristically combines a determinate fundamental reality (one universal wave function) with an indeterminate emergent reality (multiple decoherent worlds). In this chapter I explore how the Everettian appeal to fundamentality and emergence can be understood within existing metaphysical frameworks, identify grounding and concept fundamentality as promising theoretical tools, and use them to characterize a system of explanatory (...) levels (with associated laws of nature) for EQM. This Everettian level structure encompasses and extends the ‘classical’ levels structure. The ‘classical’ levels of physics, chemistry, biology, etc. are recovered, but they are emergent in character and potentially variable across Everett worlds. EQM invokes an additional fundamental level, not present in the classical levels picture, and a novel potential role for self-location in interlevel metaphysics. When given a modal realist interpretation, EQM also makes trouble for supervenience-based approaches to levels. (shrink)
This chapter is about Grete Hermann, a philosopher-mathematician who productively and mutually beneficially interacted with the founders of quantum mechanics in the early period of that theory's elaboration. Hermann was a neo-Kantian philosopher. At the heart of Immanuel Kant's critical philosophy lay the question of the conditions under which we can be said to know something objectively, a question Hermann found to be particularly pressing in quantum mechanics. Hermann's own approach to Neo-Kantianism was Neo-Friesian. Jakob Friedrich Fries, like Kant, had (...) understood critical philosophy to be an essentially epistemic project. Fries departed from Kant in his account of the elements involved in our cognition. In this chapter it is discussed how, beginning from a neo-Friesian understanding of critical philosophy, Hermann is led to conclude that quantum mechanics shows us that physical knowledge is fundamentally split; that the objects of quantum mechanics are only objects from a particular perspective and in the context of a particular physical interaction. It will be seen how Hermann's solution to the problem of objectivity in quantum mechanics is a natural one from a neo-Friesian point of view, even though it disagrees with those offered by more orthodox versions of Kantian doctrine. (shrink)
The way we represent the world in thought and language is shot through with indeterminacy: we speak of red apples and yellow apples without thereby committing to any sharp cutoﬀ between the application of the predicate ‘red’ and of the predicate ‘yellow’. But can reality itself be indeterminate? In other words, can indeterminacy originate in the mind-independent world, and not only in our representations? If so, can the phenomenon also arise at the microscopic scale of fundamental physics? Section 1 of (...) this Element provides a brief overview of the question of indeterminacy. Section 2 discusses the thesis that the world is comprised of indeterminate objects, whereas Section 3 focuses on the thesis that there are indeterminate states of aﬀairs. Finally, Section 4 is devoted to the case study of indeterminacy in quantum physics. (shrink)
This paper concerns metaphysical indeterminacy and, in particular, the issue of whether quantum mechanics gives motivation for thinking the world contains it. In a previous paper (Darby G, Pickup M. Synthese 198:1685–1710, 2021), we have offered one way to think about metaphysical indeterminacy which we take to avoid some issues arising from certain features of quantum mechanics (such as the Kochen-Specker theorem). This approach has recently been criticised by Corti (Synthese, forthcoming), and we take this opportunity to respond. Our paper (...) will therefore reply to Corti’s argument, but we also take it as a case study in ‘naturalistic metaphysics’ and hence to contribute to a more general discussion of the relationship between philosophy of science and analytic metaphysics. (shrink)
In recent years there has been a robust but inconclusive debate over the existence and nature of indeterminacy in the world as described by quantum mechanics. I suggest that the inconclusive nature of the debate stems from starting from a metaphysical theory of indeterminacy. I propose instead framing the issue as a Carnapian explication project: start with the informal notion of indeterminacy used by physicists, and consider how best to make that concept precise. I defend a precisification based on von (...) Neumann’s interpretation of quantum states, and consider the nature of the indeterminacy that results. (shrink)
This chapter argues that quantum indeterminacy can be construed as a merely derivative phenomenon. The possibility of merely derivative quantum indeterminacy undermines both a recent argument against quantum indeterminacy due to David Glick, and an argument against the possibility of merely derivative indeterminacy due to Elizabeth Barnes.
In Calosi and Wilson (Phil Studies 2019/2018), we argue that on many interpretations of quantum mechanics (QM), there is quantum mechanical indeterminacy (QMI), and that a determinable-based account of metaphysical indeterminacy (MI), as per Wilson 2013 and 2016, properly accommodates the full range of cases of QMI. Here we argue that this approach is superior to other treatments of QMI on offer, both realistic and deflationary, in providing the basis for an intelligible explanation of the interference patterns in the double-slit (...) experiment. We start with a brief overview of the motivations for QMI and for a determinable-based account of MI (§1). We then apply a developed 'glutty' implementation of determinable-based QMI to the superposition-based QMI present in the double-slit experiment, and positively compare the associated explanation of double-slit interference with that available on a metaphysical supervaluationist account of QMI (§2). We then present and respond to objections, due to Glick (2017) and Torza (2017), either to QMI (§3) or to our specific account of QMI (§4); in these sections we also positively compare our treatment of double-slit interference to that available on Glick's deflationary treatment of QMI. We conclude with some dialectical observations (§5). (shrink)
This paper constructs a model of metaphysical indeterminacy that can accommodate a kind of ‘deep’ worldly indeterminacy that arguably arises in quantum mechanics via the Kochen-Specker theorem, and that is incompatible with prominent theories of metaphysical indeterminacy such as that in Barnes and Williams (2011). We construct a variant of Barnes and Williams's theory that avoids this problem. Our version builds on situation semantics and uses incomplete, local situations rather than possible worlds to build a model. We evaluate the resulting (...) theory and contrast it with similar alternatives, concluding that our model successfully captures deep indeterminacy. (shrink)
We implement a recent characterization of metaphysical indeterminacy in the context of orthodox quantum theory, developing the syntax and semantics of two propositional logics equipped with determinacy and indeterminacy operators. These logics, which extend a novel semantics for standard quantum logic that accounts for Hilbert spaces with superselection sectors, preserve different desirable features of quantum logic and logics of indeterminacy. In addition to comparing the relative advantages of the two, we also explain how each logic answers Williamson’s challenge to any (...) substantive account of determinacy: For any proposition p, what could the difference between “p” and “it’s determinate that p” ever amount to? (shrink)
It has been argued that quantum mechanics forces us to accept the existence of metaphysical, mind-independent indeterminacy. In this paper we provide an interpretation of the indeterminacy involved in the quantum phenomena in terms of a view that we call Plural Metaphysical Supervaluationism. According to it, quantum indeterminacy is captured in terms of an irreducibly plural relation between the actual world and various misrepresentations of it.
Say that metaphysical indeterminacy occurs just when there is a fact such that neither it nor its negation obtains. The aim of this work is to shed light on the issue of whether orthodox quantum mechanics provides any evidence of metaphysical indeterminacy by discussing the logical, semantic, and broadly methodological presuppositions of the debate. I argue that the dispute amounts to a verbal disagreement between classical and quantum logicians, given Eli Hirsch’s account of substantivity; but that it need not be (...) so if Ted Sider’s naturalness-based account of substantivity is adopted instead. Given the latter approach, can anything be said in order to tip the balance of the dispute either way? Some prima facie reasonable constraints on naturalness entail that the classicist is right, and the quantum world is therefore determinate. Nevertheless, there are reasons for weakening those constraints, to the effect that the dispute remains very much open. Finally, I discuss alternative accounts of metaphysical indeterminacy, and argue that they are unsuitable for framing the quantum indeterminacy debate. (shrink)
Building on self-professed perspectival approaches to both scientific knowledge and causation, I explore the potentially radical suggestion that perspectivalism can be extended to account for a type of objectivity in science. Motivated by recent claims from quantum foundations that quantum mechanics must admit the possibility of observer-dependent facts, I develop the notion of ‘perspectival objectivity’, and suggest that an easier pill to swallow, philosophically speaking, than observer-dependency is perspective-dependency, allowing for a notion of observer-independence indexed to an agent perspective. Working (...) through the case studies of colour perception and causal perspectivalism, I identify two places within which I claim perspectival objectivity is already employed, and make the connection to quantum mechanics through Bohr’s philosophy of quantum theory. I contend that perspectival objectivity can ensure, despite the possibility of perspective-dependent scientific facts, the objectivity of scientific inquiry. (shrink)
The assertion that an experiment by Afshar et al. demonstrates violation of Bohr’s Principle of Complementarity is based on the faulty assumption that which-way information in a double-slit interference experiment can be retroactively determined from a future measurement.
If the concept of “free will” is reduced to that of “choice” all physical world shares the latter quality. Anyway the “free will” can be distinguished from the “choice”: The “free will” involves implicitly a certain goal, and the choice is only the mean, by which the aim can be achieved or not by the one who determines the target. Thus, for example, an electron has always a choice but not free will unlike a human possessing both. Consequently, and paradoxically, (...) the determinism of classical physics is more subjective and more anthropomorphic than the indeterminism of quantum mechanics for the former presupposes certain deterministic goal implicitly following the model of human freewill behavior. Quantum mechanics introduces the choice in the fundament of physical world involving a generalized case of choice, which can be called “subjectless”: There is certain choice, which originates from the transition of the future into the past. Thus that kind of choice is shared of all existing and does not need any subject: It can be considered as a low of nature. There are a few theorems in quantum mechanics directly relevant to the topic: two of them are called “free will theorems” by their authors (Conway and Kochen 2006; 2009). Any quantum system either a human or an electron or whatever else has always a choice: Its behavior is not predetermined by its past. This is a physical law. It implies that a form of information, the quantum information underlies all existing for the unit of the quantity of information is an elementary choice: either a bit or a quantum bit (qubit). (shrink)
Both transition and transformation link the ideal and material into a whole. Future is what “causes” the present, and the latter in turn is what “causes” the past. That kind of “reverse causality” needs free choice and free will in the present in order to be able to be realized unlike classical causality. A few properties feature the concept of “quantum occasionalism” as follows. Some hypothetical entity generates successively a series of well-ordered states. That hypothetical entity is called “coherent state” (...) in quantum mechanics and defined as a superposition of all possible states of the quantum system. The already generated well-ordered series can be interpreted as a causal sequence. Thus the generating cause remains hidden behind the visible well-ordering of the series and hides itself behind the perfect visible order created by it. That visible order only seems to cause itself by itself. (shrink)
An influential theory has it that metaphysical indeterminacy occurs just when reality can be made completely precise in multiple ways. That characterization is formulated by employing the modal apparatus of ersatz possible worlds. As quantum physics taught us, reality cannot be made completely precise. I meet the challenge by providing an alternative theory which preserves the use of ersatz worlds but rejects the precisificational view of metaphysical indeterminacy. The upshot of the proposed theory is that it is metaphysically indeterminate whether (...) p just in case it is neither true nor false that p, and no terms in ‘p’ are semantically defective. In other words, metaphysical indeterminacy arises when the world cannot be adequately described by a complete set of sentences defined in a semantically nondefective language. Moreover, the present theory provides a reductive analysis of metaphysical indeterminacy, unlike its influential predecessor. Finally, I argue that any adequate logic of a language with an indeterminate subject matter is neither compositional nor bivalent. (shrink)
This book defends a radical new theory of contingency as a physical phenomenon. Drawing on the many-worlds approach to quantum theory and cutting-edge metaphysics and philosophy of science, it argues that quantum theories are best understood as telling us about the space of genuine possibilities, rather than as telling us solely about actuality. When quantum physics is taken seriously in the way first proposed by Hugh Everett III, it provides the resources for a new systematic metaphysical framework encompassing possibility, necessity, (...) actuality, chance, counterfactuals, and a host of related modal notions. -/- Rationalist metaphysicians argue that the metaphysics of modality is strictly prior to any scientific investigation; metaphysics establishes which worlds are possible, and physics merely checks which of these worlds is actual. Naturalistic metaphysicians respond that science may discover new possibilities and new impossibilities. This book's quantum theory of contingency takes naturalistic metaphysics one step further, allowing that science may discover what it is to be possible. As electromagnetism revealed the nature of light, as acoustics revealed the nature of sound, as statistical mechanics revealed the nature of heat, so quantum physics reveals the nature of contingency. (shrink)
On many currently live interpretations, quantum mechanics violates the classical supposition of value definiteness, according to which the properties of a given particle or system have precise values at all times. Here we consider whether either metaphysical supervaluationist or determinable-based approaches to metaphysical indeterminacy can accommodate quantum metaphysical indeterminacy (QMI). We start by discussing the standard theoretical indicator of QMI, and distinguishing three seemingly different sources of QMI (S1). We then show that previous arguments for the conclusion that metaphysical supervaluationism (...) cannot accommodate QMI, due to Darby 2010 and Skow 2010, are unsuccessful, in leaving open several supervaluationist responses. We go on to provide more comprehensive argumentation for the negative conclusion. Here, among other results, we establish that the problems for supervaluationism extend far beyond the concern that is the focus of Darby's and Skow's discussions (according to which a supervaluationist approach is incompatible with the orthodox interpretation, in light of the Kochen-Specker theorem) to also attach to common understandings of other interpretations on which there is QMI (S2). We then argue that a determinable-based account can successfully accommodate all three varieties of QMI (S3). We close by observing the positive mutual bearing of our results on the coherence and intelligibility of both quantum mechanics and metaphysical indeterminacy (S4). (shrink)
A growing literature is premised on the claim that quantum mechanics provides evidence for metaphysical indeterminacy. But does it? None of the currently fashionable realist interpretations involve fundamental indeterminacy and the ‘standard interpretation’, to the extent that it can be made out, doesn't require indeterminacy either.
Here I compare two accounts of metaphysical indeterminacy (MI): first, the 'meta-level' approach described by Elizabeth Barnes and Ross Cameron in the companion to this paper, on which every state of affairs (SOA) is itself precise/determinate, and MI is a matter of its being indeterminate which determinate SOA obtains; second, my preferred 'object-level' determinable-based approach, on which MI is a matter of its being determinate---or just plain true---that an indeterminate SOA obtains, where an indeterminate SOA is one whose constitutive object (...) has a determinable property, but no unique determinate of that determinable. In S1, I first note an important difference between our accounts, concerning whether MI is taken to induce propositional indeterminacy; in S2, I highlight and defend certain advantages of my account; in S3, I address certain of Barnes and Cameron's objections to my account. (shrink)
This paper provides a prospectus for a new way of thinking about the wavefunction of the universe: a Ψ-epistemic quantum cosmology. We present a proposal that, if successfully implemented, would resolve the cosmological measurement problem and simultaneously allow us to think sensibly about probability and evolution in quantum cosmology. Our analysis draws upon recent work on the problem of time in quantum gravity and causally symmet- ric local hidden variable theories. Our conclusion weighs the strengths and weaknesses of the approach (...) and points towards paths for future development. (shrink)
The notion of equality between two observables will play many important roles in foundations of quantum theory. However, the standard probabilistic interpretation based on the conventional Born formula does not give the probability of equality between two arbitrary observables, since the Born formula gives the probability distribution only for a commuting family of observables. In this paper, quantum set theory developed by Takeuti and the present author is used to systematically extend the standard probabilistic interpretation of quantum theory to define (...) the probability of equality between two arbitrary observables in an arbitrary state. We apply this new interpretation to quantum measurement theory, and establish a logical basis for the difference between simultaneous measurability and simultaneous determinateness. (shrink)
La mécanique quantique est une théorie physique contemporaine réputée pour ses défis au sens commun et ses paradoxes. Depuis bientôt un siècle, plusieurs interprétations de la théorie ont été proposées par les physiciens et les philosophes, offrant des images quantiques du monde, ou des métaphysiques, radicalement différentes. L'existence d'un hasard fondamental, ou d'une multitude de mondes en-dehors du nôtre, dépend ainsi de l'interprétation adoptée. Cet article, en s'appuyant sur le livre Boyer-Kassem (2015), Qu'est-ce que la mécanique quantique ?, présente trois (...) principales interprétations quantiques, empiriquement équivalentes : l'interprétation dite orthodoxe, l'interprétation de Bohm, et l'interprétation des mondes multiples. (shrink)
La mécanique quantique est une théorie physique contemporaine réputée pour ses défis au sens commun et ses paradoxes. Depuis bientôt un siècle, plusieurs interprétations de la théorie ont été proposées par les physiciens et les philosophes, offrant des images quantiques du monde, ou des ontologies, radicalement différentes. L'existence d'un hasard fondamental, ou d'une multitude de mondes en-dehors du nôtre, dépend ainsi de l'interprétation adoptée. Après avoir discuté de la définition de l'interprétation d'une théorie physique, ce livre présente trois principales interprétations (...) quantiques, empiriquement équivalentes : l'interprétation dite orthodoxe, l'interprétation de Bohm, et l'interprétation des mondes multiples. Des textes d'Albert & Galchen, ainsi que de Mermin, présentent le concept de non-localité et invitent à une analyse de l'argument d'Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen et du théorème de Bell. (shrink)
In this paper I aim to answer two questions: Can spin be treated as a determinable? Can a treatment of spin as a determinable be used to understand quantum indeterminacy? In response to the first question I show that the relations among spin number, spin components and spin values cannot be captured by a single determination relation; instead we need to look at spin number and spin value separately. In response to the second question I discuss three ways in which (...) the determinables model might be modified to account for indeterminacy, and argue that none of them is fully successful in helping us to understand quantum indeterminacy. (shrink)
In my 2013 article, “A New Theory of Free Will”, I argued that several serious hypotheses in philosophy and modern physics jointly entail that our reality is structurally identical to a peer-to-peer (P2P) networked computer simulation. The present paper outlines how quantum phenomena emerge naturally from the computational structure of a P2P simulation. §1 explains the P2P Hypothesis. §2 then sketches how the structure of any P2P simulation realizes quantum superposition and wave-function collapse (§2.1.), quantum indeterminacy (§2.2.), wave-particle duality (§2.3.), (...) and quantum entanglement (§2.4.). Finally, §3 argues that although this is by no means a philosophical proof that our reality is a P2P simulation, it provides ample reasons to investigate the hypothesis further using the methods of computer science, physics, philosophy, and mathematics. (shrink)
On the one hand, non-reflexive logics are logics in which the principle of identity does not hold in general. On the other hand, quantum mechanics has difficulties regarding the interpretation of ‘particles’ and their identity, also known in the literature as ‘the problem of indistinguishable particles’. In this article, we will argue that non-reflexive logics can be a useful tool to account for such quantum indistinguishability. In particular, we will provide a particular non-reflexive logic that can help us to analyze (...) and discuss this problem. From a more general physical perspective, we will also analyze the limits imposed by the orthodox quantum formalism to consider the existence of indistinguishable particles in the first place, and argue that non-reflexive logics can also help us to think beyond the limits of classical identity. (shrink)
The suggestion that particles of the same kind may be indistinguishable in a fundamental sense, even so that challenges to traditional notions of individuality and identity may arise, has first come up in the context of classical statistical mechanics. In particular, the Gibbs paradox has sometimes been interpreted as a sign of the untenability of the classical concept of a particle and as a premonition that quantum theory is needed. This idea of a ‘quantum connection’ stubbornly persists in the literature, (...) even though it has also been criticized frequently. Here we shall argue that although this criticism is justified, the proposed alternative solutions have often been wrong and have not put the paradox in its right perspective. In fact, the Gibbs paradox is unrelated to fundamental issues of particle identity; only distinguishability in a pragmatic sense plays a role , and in principle the paradox always is there as long as the concept of a particle applies at all. In line with this we show that the paradox survives even in quantum mechanics, in spite of the quantum mechanical symmetrization postulates. (shrink)
We revisit Heisenberg indeterminacy principle in the light of the Galois–Grothendieck theory for the case of finite abelian Galois extensions. In this restricted framework, the Galois–Grothendieck duality between finite K-algebras split by a Galois extension \ and finite \\) -sets can be reformulated as a Pontryagin duality between two abelian groups. We define a Galoisian quantum model in which the Heisenberg indeterminacy principle can be understood as a manifestation of a Galoisian duality: the larger the group of automorphisms \ of (...) the states in a G-set \ , the smaller the “conjugate” algebra of observables that can be consistently evaluated on such states. Finally, we argue that states endowed with a group of automorphisms \ can be interpreted as squeezed coherent states, i.e. as states that minimize the Heisenberg indeterminacy relations. (shrink)
The notion of uncertainty in the description of a physical system has assumed prodigious importance in the development of quantum theory. Overcoming the early misunderstanding and confusion, the concept grew continuously and still remains an active and fertile research field. Curious new insights and correlations are gained and developed in the process with the introduction of new ‘measures’ of uncertainty or indeterminacy and the development of quantum measurement theory. In this article we intend to reach a fairly uptodate status report (...) of this yet unfurling concept and its interrelation with some distinctive quantum features like nonlocality, steering and entanglement/inseparability. Some recent controversies are discussed and the grey areas are mentioned. (shrink)
Memory exhibits episodic superposition, an analog of the quantum superposition of physical states: Before a cue for a presented or unpresented item is administered on a memory test, the item has the simultaneous potential to occupy all members of a mutually exclusive set of episodic states, though it occupies only one of those states after the cue is administered. This phenomenon can be modeled with a nonadditive probability model called overdistribution (OD), which implements fuzzy-trace theory's distinction between verbatim and gist (...) representations. We show that it can also be modeled based on quantum probability theory. A quantum episodic memory (QEM) model is developed, which is derived from quantum probability theory but also implements the process conceptions of global matching memory models. OD and QEM have different strengths, and the current challenge is to identify contrasting empirical predictions that can be used to pit them against each other. (shrink)
This paper offers a critical assessment of the current state of the debate about the identity and individuality of material objects. Its main aim, in particular, is to show that, in a sense to be carefully specified, the opposition between the Leibnizian ‘reductionist’ tradition, based on discernibility, and the sort of ‘primitivism’ that denies that facts of identity and individuality must be analysable has become outdated. In particular, it is argued that—contrary to a widespread consensus—‘naturalised’ metaphysics supports both the acceptability (...) of non-qualitatively grounded (both ‘contextual’ and intrinsic) identity and a pluralistic approach to individuality and individuation. A case study is offered that focuses on non-relativistic quantum mechanics, in the context of which primitivism about identity and individuality, rather than being regarded as unscientific, is on the contrary suggested to be preferable to the complicated forms of reductionism that have recently been proposed. More generally, by assuming a plausible form of anti-reductionism about scientific theories and domains, it is claimed that science can be regarded as compatible with, or even as suggesting, the existence of a series of equally plausible grades of individuality. The kind of individuality that prevails in a certain context and at a given level can be ascertained only on the basis of the specific scientific theory at hand. (shrink)
In the context of discussions about the nature of ‘identical particles’ and the status of Leibniz’s Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles in Quantum Mechanics, a novel kind of physical discernibility has recently been proposed, which we call witness-discernibility. We inquire into how witness-discernibility relates to known kinds of discernibility. Our conclusion will be that for a wide variety of cases, including the intended quantum-mechanical ones, witness-discernibility collapses extensionally to absolute discernibility, that is, to discernibility by properties.
Starting with 1985, we discovered the possible existence of electrons with net helicity in biomolecules as amino acids and their possibility to discern between the two quantum spin states. It is well known that the question of a possible fundamental role of quantum mechanics in biological matter constitutes still a long debate. In the last ten years we have given a rather complete quantum mechanical elaboration entirely based on Clifford algebra whose basic entities are isomorphic to the well known spin (...) Pauli matrices. A number of our recent results indicate the possible logical origin of quantum mechanics and the direct admission of quantum mechanics in the field of cognitive sciences. In February 2011 the authors Gölder et al., published their important discovery on Science about Spin Selectivity in Electron Transmission Through Self-Assembled Monolayers of Double-Stranded DNA confirming in such manner that the principles of quantum mechanics apply to biological systems. (shrink)
The chora has proven to be an obscure concept in contemporary philosophy. Cornelius Castoriadis seemed to retreat from the edge of its significance within his work, a significance that is capable of opening up another turn in the labyrinth of his thought. A clear interrogation into the presence of the chora in his thought has, still, yet to be elucidated. This paper proceeds with a notion of the chora defined for the purpose of highlighting its relevance for Castoriadis’thought, taking up (...) his schema trans-regional ontology and imaginary creation, which lean on the anticipation of a self-altering otherness. Locating the chora in Castoriadis’ trans-regionalarchitectonics of being. (shrink)
Recently we have given proof of two theorems characterizing the Clifford algebra. By using such two theorems we have reformulated the well known von Neumann postulate on quantum measurements giving evidence of the algebraic manner in which quantum wave function collapse of quantum mechanics happens. In the present paper we introduce logic in Clifford algebra interpreting its idempotents as logical statements. Using the previously mentioned theorems we demonstrate that the two basic foundations of quantum mechanics, as the indeterminism and the (...) quantum interference, do not arise from physics itself but from logic. We advance the principles that there are levels of our reality in which we lose our possibility of unconditionally define the truth. At this level of reality we cannot separate matter per se from the basic foundations of the logic that we use to describe it. This logical relativism does not characterize classical mechanics but quantum physics. According to Y. F. Orlov, at quantum level the truths of logical statements about dynamic variables become dynamic variables themselves. (shrink)
Há um vasto número de lamentações a respeito da falta de inteligibilidade da mecânica quântica. Alguns ingredientes da mecânica quântica, contudo, podem possivelmente ser compreendidos pela referência a primeiros princípios, ou seja, a princípios (ou postulados) básicos que, para a intuição, são claros e distintos. Em particular, se nos basearmos em um primeiro princípio denominado princípio da não-singularidade, que pode ser visto como uma hipótese, afirmamos que a mecânica quântica pode ser vista como uma consequência a priori de uma exigência (...) racional. O estatuto do princípio de não-singularidade, óbvio para a maioria dos físicos, pode, contudo, ser criticado, com base em que não há uma intuição universal e que qualquer enunciado é, em princípio, revisável. DOI:10.5007/1808-1711.2010v14n3p393. (shrink)
The physics and metaphysics of identity and individuality Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9463-7 Authors Don Howard, Department of Philosophy and Graduate Program in History and Philosophy of Science, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA Bas C. van Fraassen, Philosophy Department, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132, USA Otávio Bueno, Department of Philosophy, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL 33124, USA Elena Castellani, Department of Philosophy, University of Florence, Via Bolognese 52, 50139 (...) Florence, Italy Laura Crosilla, Department of Pure Mathematics, School of Mathematics, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT UK Steven French, Department of Philosophy, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK Décio Krause, Department of Philosophy, Federal University of Santa Catarina, 88040-900 Campus Trindade, Florianópolis, SC Brazil Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796. (shrink)
It is argued that recent discussion of the principle of the identity of indiscernibles (PII) and quantum mechanics has lost sight of the broader philosophical motivation and significance of PII and that the `received view' of the status of PII in the light of quantum mechanics survives recent criticisms of it by Muller, Saunders, and Seevinck.
A recent theory of metaphysical indeterminacy says that metaphysical indeterminacy is multiple actuality: there is metaphysical indeterminacy when there are many 'complete precisifications of reality'. But it is possible for there to be metaphysical indeterminacy even when it is impossible to precisify reality completely. The orthodox interpretation of quantum mechanics illustrates this possibility. So this theory of metaphysical indeterminacy is not adequate.
We discuss two qualities of quantum systems: various correlations existing between their subsystems and the distinguishability of different quantum states. This is then applied to analysing quantum information processing. While quantum correlations, or entanglement, are clearly of paramount importance for efficient pure state manipulations, mixed states present a much richer arena and reveal a more subtle interplay between correlations and distinguishability. The current work explores a number of issues related with identifying the important ingredients needed for quantum information processing. We (...) discuss the Deutsch-Jozsa algorithm, the Shor algorithm, the Grover algorithm and the power of a single qubit class of algorithms. In the latter, a quantity called discord is seen to be more important than entanglement. One section is dedicated to cluster states where entanglement is crucial, but its precise role is highly counter-intuitive. Here we see that the notion of distinguishability becomes a more useful concept. (shrink)
We argue that it is fundamentally impossible to recover information about quantum superpositions when a quantum system has interacted with a sufficiently large number of degrees of freedom of the environment. This is due to the fact that gravity imposes fundamental limitations on how accurate measurements can be. This leads to the notion of undecidability: there is no way to tell, due to fundamental limitations, if a quantum system evolved unitarily or suffered wavefunction collapse. This in turn provides a solution (...) to the problem of outcomes in quantum measurement by providing a sharp criterion for defining when an event has taken place. We analyze in detail in examples two situations in which in principle one could recover information about quantum coherence: (a) “revivals” of coherence in the interaction of a system with the measurement apparatus and the environment and (b) the measurement of global observables of the system plus apparatus plus environment. We show in the examples that the fundamental limitations due to gravity and quantum mechanics in measurement prevent both revivals from occurring and the measurement of global observables. It can therefore be argued that the emerging picture provides a complete resolution to the measurement problem in quantum mechanics. (shrink)
In the first section of the chapter, I scrutinize Howard Stein’s 1991 definition of a transitive becoming relation that is Lorentz invariant. I argue first that Stein’s analysis gives few clues regarding the required characteristics of the relation complementary to his becoming—i.e. the relation of indefiniteness. It turns out that this relation cannot satisfy the condition of transitivity, and this fact can force us to reconsider the transitivity requirement as applied to the relation of becoming. I argue that the relation (...) of becoming need not be transitive, as long as it satisfies the weaker condition of “cumulativity”: for a given observer the area of the events that have become real should not diminish as time progresses. I show that there are actually two relations of becoming that meet this weakened condition: Stein’s (transitive) relation of causal past connectibility and the (non-transitive) relation that is the logical complement of the future causal connectibility. In the second part of the chapter I defend Stein’s notion of temporal becoming against the attack that appeals to quantum-mechanical non-locality. I critically evaluate the argument given by Mauro Dorato (1996) that purports to show that space-like separated measurements done on the EPR system have to be mutually determinate. Finally, in order to account for the truth of counterfactual statements that link the space-like separated outcomes, I propose a dynamic conception of becoming, according to which the sphere of determinate events as of a given point may depend on the physical phenomena transpiring at this point. (shrink)