DRAFT

Seminar on History and Philosophy of Science

Wednesday, October 26, 2016
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Dabney Hall 110 (Treasure Room)
What is ‘orthodox' quantum mechanics?
David Wallace, Professor of Philosophy, USC,

What is called "orthodox" quantum mechanics, as presented in standard foundational discussions, relies on two substantive assumptions -the projection postulate and the eigenvalue-eigenvector link - that do not in fact play any part in practical applications of quantum mechanics. I argue for this conclusion on a number of grounds, but primarily on the grounds that the projection postulate fails correctly to account for repeated, continuous and unsharp measurements (all of which are standard in contemporary physics) and that the eigenvalue-eigenvector link implies that virtually all interesting properties are maximally indefinite pretty much always. I present an alternative way of conceptualising quantum mechanics that does a better job of representing quantum mechanics as it is actually used, and in particular that eliminates use of either the projection postulate or the eigenvalue-eigenvector link, and I reformulate the measurement problem within this new presentation of orthodoxy.

For more information, please contact Fran Tise by phone at 626-395-3609 or by email at ftise@hss.caltech.edu.