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Zeno goes to Copenhagen

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Adrian Kent.

Measurement-collapse interpretations of quantum mechanics [MCIs] take the orthodox textbook formulation of quantum mechanics literally. In particular, they entail that collapse is a real physical process that is caused by measurement. The standard objection to MCIs is the measurement problem: ‘measurement’ is too vague to be used in the formulation of a physical theory. However, this objection is inconclusive. For example, Wigner showed how ‘measurement’ could be analyzed in terms of conscious observation, and it is possible to make this latter notion precise in terms of modern mathematical theories of consciousness such as the integrated information theory.

Here, I pose a more serious objection to MCIs based on the the quantum Zeno effect. The objection can be posed as a dilemma: in MCIs, either measurement can superpose or it cannot. If it can the dynamics are ill-defined; if it cannot, then measurements can never start or finish. I conclude by considering an MCI -like theory that avoids the dilemma by combining the integrated information theory of consciousness with the continuous spontaneous localization theory of collapse.

This talk is part of the CQIF Seminar series.

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