Seminar on History and Philosophy of Science

Tuesday, October 30, 2018
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Dabney Hall 110 (Treasure Room)
Quantum Measurement and Ontology
Jeff Barrett, Chancellor’s Professor, Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science, UC Irvine,

Abstract: The standard von Neumann-Dirac formulation of quantum mechanics encounters the quantum measurement problem. We will consider two classes of resolutions to the measurement problem: (1) GRW-type collapse theories and (2) Bohm-type no-collapse hidden-variable theories. We will focus, in particular, on the role that one's ontological commitments (in the form of a so-called primitive ontology or a more general empirical ontology) play in how such theories explain an observer's determinate measurement records and hence her experience. Inasmuch as one supposes that a physical theory should explain the results of one's observations, we will see why there is good reason for taking such ontological commitments to be an essential component of one's physical theory.

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