Quantum States as Objective Informational Bridges

Citation data:

Foundations of Physics, ISSN: 1572-9516, Vol: 47, Issue: 2, Page: 161-173

Publication Year:
2017
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Repository URL:
http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/11846; http://arxiv.org/abs/1601.00104
DOI:
10.1007/s10701-015-9949-7
Author(s):
Healey, Richard A.
Publisher(s):
Springer Nature
Tags:
Physics and Astronomy; Quantum Physics
article description
A quantum state represents neither properties of a physical system nor anyone’s knowledge of its properties. The important question is not what quantum states represent but how they are used—as informational bridges. Knowing about some physical situations (its backing conditions), an agent may assign a quantum state to form expectations about other possible physical situations (its advice conditions). Quantum states are objective: only expectations based on correct state assignments are generally reliable. If a quantum state represents anything, it is the objective probabilistic relations between its backing conditions and its advice conditions. This paper offers an account of quantum states and their function as informational bridges, in quantum teleportation and elsewhere.