The (Quantum) Measurement Problem in Classical Mechanics

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Abstract

In this work we analyze the deep link between the 20th Century positivist re-foundation of physics and the famous measurement problem of quantum mechanics. We attempt to show why this is not an "obvious" nor "self evident" problem for the theory of quanta, but rather a direct consequence of the empirical-positivist understanding of physical theories when applied to the orthodox quantum formalism. In contraposition, we discuss a representational realist account of both physical 'theories' and 'measurement' which goes back to the works of Einstein, Heisenberg and Pauli. After presenting a critical analysis of Bohr's definitions of 'measurement' we continue to discuss the way in which several contemporary approaches to QM --such as decoherence, modal interpretations and QBism-- remain committed to Bohr's general methodology. Finally, in order to expose the many inconsistencies present within the (empirical-positivist) presuppositions responsible for creating the quantum measurement problem, we show how through these same set of presuppositions it is easy to derive a completely analogous paradox for the case of classical mechanics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQuantum Individuals and Non-Individuals
PublisherSpringer
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

24 pages

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