Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP)

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Zoom Talk: Richard Healey (Arizona) and John Dougherty (MCMP)

Meeting-ID: 9443 3194 088

11.11.2020 16:00  – 18:00 

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Pragmatist Approaches to Quantum Foundations


Richard Healey (University of Arizona): Are facts relative in a quantum world?

Recent arguments purport to show that if quantum theory is universally applicable then there is no objective fact about the outcome of a quantum measurement in certain extended Wigner’s friend Gedankenexperimenten. This calls for an examination of the notions of fact and objectivity. If quantum theory is universally applicable then the facts about the physical world include a fact about each quantum measurement outcome. These physical facts lack an ideal kind of objectivity but their more modest objectivity is all that science needs.

John Dougherty (MCMP): The control problem in the pragmatist interpretation

One task for interpretations of quantum mechanics is to solve the measurement problem, which is a set of plausible claims about measurement of quantum systems that are inconsistent when taken together. Meehan has recently pointed out a similar "control" problem, which is an inconsistent set of plausible claims about the preparation of quantum systems in experimental contexts. Healey's pragmatist interpretation of quantum mechanics solves the measurement problem by denying that quantum theory provides a complete description of some system's physical features; rather, the theory prescribes rational degrees of belief in the possible results of a measurement. But this interpretation doesn't obviously reject any of the statements making up the control problem. In this talk I describe the control problem and try to say how the pragmatist interpretation might avoid it.