Quantum Physics

   

How Bayesian Probability Might Help Provide a Realist Interpretation of the Quantum Formalism

Authors: J. Hemp

We offer a realist interpretation of non-relativistic quantum mechanics in which dynamical properties are properly possessed by the system in question, and are supposed to have definite values at any time. Like the QBists, we employ Bayesian probability, but we adopt something closer to the Bayesian statistics of E. T. Jaynes than to the subjective Bayesian statistics of B. de Fenetti employed by the QBists. Accordingly, we view calculated Bayesian probabilities as rational degrees of expectation of dynamical property values rather than as personal degrees of expectation of future (measurement) experiences. Probabilities are, for us, based on knowledge of the value of some dynamical property of the system, not on knowledge of previous experiences unassociated with system dynamical properties. As some Bayesians might, we take a probability equal to 1 not generally to indicate certainty but only (full) expectation; and we disallow probabilities of conjunctions of propositions claiming incompatible properties. Then, by reinterpreting and adding a little to the quantum formalism, we argue that we can maintain the advantages of the QBist interpretation. So, for us (as for the QBists), there is no unexplained collapse of the wave function, no need for ‘spooky action at a distance’, and no problem raised by the double slit experiment, the Kochen-Specker paradox or Bell type theorems. By holding on to a realist perspective, modelling (of ideal measurements, of system preparation processes etc.) is possible, and we can claim certain dynamical laws of quantum mechanics without leading to contradiction.

Comments: 53 Pages. This paper, submitted 24th August 2018 to the International Journal of Theoretical Physics was rejected (without refereeing) as unsuitable. An earlier version, submitted 10th April 2018 to Foundations of Physics was similarly rejected.

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[v1] 2019-08-06 04:25:22

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