[FOM] Quantum mechanics

Timothy Y. Chow tchow at alum.mit.edu
Mon May 29 15:07:24 EDT 2006

laureano luna <laureanoluna at yahoo.es> wrote:
>   I wonder whether theories including hidden variables are consistent 
>   with some empirical and mathematical results that seem to show 
>   complementary properties of particles cannot really be definite at the 
>   same time and cannot exist independently of our measurements of them.

These don't rule out *non-local* hidden-variable theories (like Bohm's).

Harvey Friedman <friedman at math.ohio-state.edu> wrote:
> Here are some links to Bohmian mechanics, with the clear suggestion that 
> this completely solves the foundations of quantum mechanics by a hidden 
> variable theory, reducing quantum mechanics to classical mechanics.

What "solving the foundations of quantum mechanics" means is not totally 
clear.  What needs to be solved?  There don't appear to be any serious 
logical or mathematical difficulties in the subset of quantum theory that 
goes by the name of "quantum mechanics" (as opposed to quantum field 
theory).  So presumably the problem is to find an intuitively and 
philosophically satisfying *interpretation* of quantum mechanics.  Since 
people have different intuitions, it is unlikely that the debates about 
Bohr vs. Bohm vs. Everett vs. whoever will be settled unless the different 
interpretations advance to the point where they directly yield conflicting
predictions of an experiment that can be actually carried out.  And the 
subject is not at that point yet.

Since the Everett interpretation doesn't seem to have been mentioned in 
this thread yet, perhaps it's worth mentioning that David Deutsch has made 
some serious attempts to develop the Everett interpretation to the point 
of testable predictions.  I'm not versed enough to be able to single out 
the right references, but his work is prominent enough that even a naive 
websearch should turn up relevant papers.


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