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Quantum MechanicsAn Empiricist View$
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Bas C. van Fraassen

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198239802

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198239807.001.0001

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Critique of the Standard Interpretation

Critique of the Standard Interpretation

(p.241) 8 Critique of the Standard Interpretation
Quantum Mechanics

Bas C. van Fraassen

Oxford University Press

Von Neumann's unification of Schroedinger's and Heisenberg's formalisms came with an interpretation of quantum theory involving two principles. The first is that assertions about the values of observables are equivalent to assertions about the quantum‐mechanical state of the system. This is sometimes known as the ’eigenvalue–eigenstate link’, since it equates an observable having a value with the system being in an eigenstate of that observable. The second is his Projection Postulate—i.e. the postulate that during measurement there is a ’collapse of the wave packet’. It is argued that the theory does not force these principles on us, and that there are severe difficulties in this interpretation, despite also its more recent defences.

Keywords:   collapse of the wave packet, eigenstate, eigenvalue, Werner Heisenberg, interpretation, measurement, John Von Neumann, observables, projection postulate, Erwin Schroedinger

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