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Indeterminacy

Indeterminacy

Chapter:
(p.72) Chapter 4 Indeterminacy
Source:
Quantum Ontology
Author(s):
Peter J. Lewis
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190469825.003.0004

It is often claimed that quantum mechanics entails that there is indeterminacy in the world, in the sense that physical systems can lack a precise value for a property. Indeed, a radical form of indeterminacy, in which systems have almost none of the properties we normally attribute to them, can be shown to follow from a particular interpretation of quantum mechanics—the bare theory. However, the bare theory is shown to be incoherent. Still, a more limited form of indeterminacy can be located in spontaneous collapse, hidden variables, and many-worlds theories. This indeterminacy is unlike that which arises classically, having nothing to do with ordinary forms of vagueness or the composition of large objects out of smaller parts. Indeterminacy in quantum mechanics can perhaps be avoided, but there seems little reason to do so.

Keywords:   indeterminacy, vagueness, composition, quantum mechanics, bare theory, spontaneous collapse theories, hidden variable theories, many-worlds theories

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