Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A Traveling Forms Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics

Paper is here.

Abstract: The Traveling Minds interpretation of Quantum Mechanics is a no-collapse interpretation on which the wavefunction evolves deterministically like in the Everett branching multiple-worlds interpretation. As in the Many Minds interpretation, minds navigate the Everett branching structure following the probabilities given by the Born rule. However, in the Traveling Minds interpretation (a variant by Squires and Barrett of the single-mind interpretation), the minds are guaranteed to all travel together--they are always found in the same branch.

The Traveling Forms interpretation extends the Traveling Minds interpretation in an Aristotelian way by having forms of non-minded macroscopic entities that have forms, such as plants, lower animals, bacteria and planets, travel along the branching structure together with the minds. As a result, while there is deterministic wavefunction-based physics in the branches without minds, non-reducible higher-level structures like life are found only in the branch with minds.

1 comment:

Michael Gonzalez said...

This is a very interesting proposal. It certainly has advantages over standard MWI, MMI, and TM.

I myself don't see why anything beyond a Bohmian view (with particles interacting with each other and with whatever it is that grounds the wavefunction) is necessary. I just don't see why we need branching realities to deal with all the possible states of the wavefunction. Again, if there is some physical reality grounding the wavefunction (perhaps one of the options you suggest in your paper), then that particular physical reality just happens to behave in accord with the rules of QM that we've discovered. There are no other realities; those were just possibilities.

If such a view is even REMOTELY reconcilable with what we know about QM, it ought to be STRONGLY preferred, since it maintains everything else we think we know about the physical world; it allows you to seamlessly build chemistry, biochemistry, biology, etc etc, on top of it; and it doesn't make you wonder if there really are laboratory instruments or computer readouts or planets. I think the fact that we've replicated the two-slit experiment at the macro level with a phenomenon of hydrodynamics ought to be HUGE encouragement to keep pursuing a view like this.

But, if branching views are necessary or preferable, then I think the TF view you've proposed is easily the best I've seen.