The measurement problem, quantisation and collapse

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Johansson, Lars-Göran
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conference paper description
The present paper contains a new attack on the measurement problem. The point of departure is a realist view according to which i) state functions in quantum theory describe physical states of affairs and not information states attributed to observers, and ii) in theses states, some observables are indeterminate and not merely unknown, i.e., value determinism is rejected. Furthermore, quantisation of interaction is accepted as an empirically established fact, independently of any interpretations of quantum theory. From these assumptions it follows that Hermitian operators replacing classical variables may be viewed as representing actions from the environment done on physical systems represented by the state functions upon which the operators operate. Sometimes this influence is followed by a discontinuous, indeterministic and irreversible state change; in other words, the system undergoes a collapse, which is represented by a projection operator. Thus, assuming a realistic view on quantum states and their changes, we have an explanation for the collapse of the wave function. Since the collapse is a discontinuous, random and irreversible state change, the classical form of physical explanation in terms of a mechanism which describes how a system continuously changes its state is impossible. Hence, if we accept quantisation of interaction, we must give up our demand for a ordinary mechanical explanation for the collapse. Neither can we state, in advance, sufficient conditions for the collapse, since it is an indeterministic theory.