Measurement and Quantum Dynamics in the Minimal Modal Interpretation of Quantum Theory

Foundations of Physics 50 (10):1189-1218 (2020)
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Abstract

Any realist interpretation of quantum theory must grapple with the measurement problem and the status of state-vector collapse. In a no-collapse approach, measurement is typically modeled as a dynamical process involving decoherence. We describe how the minimal modal interpretation closes a gap in this dynamical description, leading to a complete and consistent resolution to the measurement problem and an effective form of state collapse. Our interpretation also provides insight into the indivisible nature of measurement—the fact that you can't stop a measurement part-way through and uncover the underlying 'ontic' dynamics of the system in question. Having discussed the hidden dynamics of a system's ontic state during measurement, we turn to more general forms of open-system dynamics and explore the extent to which the details of the underlying ontic behavior of a system can be described. We construct a space of ontic trajectories and describe obstructions to defining a probability measure on this space.

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Jacob Barandes
Harvard University