Protective measurements and the reality of the wave function

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Gao, Shan
preprint description
The ontological status of the wave function in quantum mechanics is usually analyzed in the context of conventional impulsive measurements. These analyses are always based on some nontrivial assumptions, e.g. a preparation independence assumption is needed to prove the PBR theorem. In this paper, we point out that the reality of the wave function can be argued without resorting to nontrivial assumptions by analyzing protective measurements, by which one can measure the expectation values of observables on a single quantum system. The existing objections to this argument are answered. Moreover, we also give a PBR-like argument for the reality of the wave function in terms of protective measurements.