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BananaworldQuantum Mechanics for Primates$
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Jeffrey Bub

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198718536

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198718536.001.0001

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Making Sense of It All

Making Sense of It All

(p.208) 10 Making Sense of It All

Jeffrey Bub

Oxford University Press

The interaction between Schrodinger’s cat and a radioactive atom is the sort of thing that happens in a quantum measurement. The “measurement problem” of quantum mechanics is to explain how the cat can be considered to end up either definitely alive or definitely dead if the final state is an entangled state of the radioactive atom and the cat. This chapter discusses Bohm’s theory and the Everett interpretation as solutions to the measurement problem. The Everett interpretation is fundamentally a proposal to solve what Pitowsky calls the “big” measurement problem: how a quantum measurement can produce a definite outcome. On the information-theoretic interpretation proposed here, the “big” measurement problem is a pseudo-problem. The chapter concludes with some remarks on the “small” measurement problem: how a classical probability distribution over macroscopic measurement outcomes emerges in a measurement process – how probabilities of “what you’ll obtain if you measure” become transformed to probabilities of “what’s there.”

Keywords:   Schrödinger’s cat, realism, hidden variables, Bohm’s theory, Everett interpretation, many worlds interpretation, measurement problem, information-theoretic interpretation, Copenhagen interpretation, macro-observable

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