Quantum decoherence in a pragmatist view: Part I

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Healey, Richard
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The quantum theory of decoherence plays an important role in a pragmatist interpretation of quantum theory. It governs the descriptive content of claims about values of physical magnitudes and offers advice on when to use quantum probabilities as a guide to their truth. The content of a claim is to be understood in terms of its role in inferences. This promises a better treatment of meaning than that of Bohr. Quantum theory models physical systems with no mention of measurement: it is decoherence, not measurement, that licenses application of Born's probability rule. So quantum theory also offers advice on its own application. I show how this works in a simple model of decoherence, and then in applications to both laboratory experiments and natural systems. Applications to quantum field theory and the measurement problem will be discussed elsewhere.