Explaining the Unobserved: Why Quantum Mechanics Is Not only About Information

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Hagar, Amit; Hemmo, Meir
preprint description
A remarkable theorem by Clifton, Bub and Halverson (2003) (CBH) characterizes quantum theory in terms of information--theoretic principles. According to Bub (2004, 2005) the philosophical significance of the theorem is that quantum theory should be regarded as a ``principle'' theory about (quantum) information rather than a ``constructive'' theory about the dynamics of quantum systems. Here we propose an alternative view according to which the philosophical significance of the CBH theorem lies in the predictions of quantum theory which remain hitherto unobserved, and in the empirical inequivalence between the constructive and the principle explanations thereof. We further challenge the principle information--theoretic view with a thought experiment that stems from this empirical inequivalence.