On the Consistency of the Consistent Histories Approach to Quantum Mechanics

Foundations of Physics 44 (1):19-33 (2014)
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Abstract

The Consistent Histories (CH) formalism aims at a quantum mechanical framework which could be applied even to the universe as a whole. CH stresses the importance of histories for quantum mechanics, as opposed to measurements, and maintains that a satisfactory formulation of quantum mechanics allows one to assign probabilities to alternative histories of a quantum system. It further proposes that each realm, that is, each set of histories to which probabilities can be assigned, provides a valid quantum-mechanical account, but that different realms can be mutually incompatible. Finally, some of its proponents offer an “evolutionary” explanation of our existence in the universe and of our preference for quasiclassical descriptions of nature. The present work questions the validity of claims offered by CH proponents asserting that it solves many interpretational problems in quantum mechanics. In particular, we point out that the interpretation of the framework leaves vague two crucial points, namely, whether realms are fixed or chosen and the link between measurements and histories. Our claim is that by doing so, CH overlooks the main interpretational problems of quantum mechanics. Furthermore, we challenge the evolutionary explanation offered and we critically examine the proposed notion of a realm-dependent reality

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Elias Okon
National Autonomous University of Mexico

Citations of this work

Measurements according to Consistent Histories.Elias Okon & Daniel Sudarsky - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 48 (1):7-12.
The Consistent Histories formalism and the measurement problem.Elias Okon & Daniel Sudarsky - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 52 (Part B):217-222.
Consistent histories through pragmatist lenses.Quentin Ruyant - 2023 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 98 (C):40-48.

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