Reality of the quantum state: A new proof in terms of protective measurements
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The ontological model framework provides a rigorous approach to address the question of whether the quantum state is ontic or epistemic. When considering only conventional projective measurements, auxiliary assumptions are always needed to prove the reality of the quantum state in the framework. For example, the Pusey-Barrett-Rudolph theorem is based on an additional preparation independence assumption. In this paper, we give a new proof of psi-ontology in terms of protective measurements in the ontological model framework. It is argued that the proof needs not rely on auxiliary assumptions, and also applies to deterministic theories such as the de Broglie-Bohm theory. In addition, we give a simpler argument for psi-ontology beyond the framework, which is only based on protective measurements and a weaker criterion of reality. The argument may be also appealing for those people who favor an anti-realist view of quantum mechanics.