preferred basis

I did write some comments on Scott's blog which might be interesting to those bothered by the 'preferred basis problem'. It begins here and references are made to this answer at physics.stackexchange by Jess Riedel and this paper by Dowker and Kent.

While I'm at it, I should also link to this paper about 'entanglement relativity' and a (claimed) inconsistency of the Everett interpretation. I am not sure if the argument is correct (decoherence might appear different for two different decompositions, but does this really prove anything?) and would appreciate any input.

added later: The back and forth in the comment thread ended (for now) with a homework exercise for mwi proponents.

added later: Btw another interesting paper from an Austrian team about decoherence due to classical, weak gravitation (i.e. on Earth).


Btw this unrelated comment Scott made about the "arrow of time" was a bit shallow imho. My own view of the problem begins with this thought experiment.


Anonymous said...

Interesting discussion in that comment field, but please tell me you're not a solipsist/believe in some consciousness induced collapse of the wavefunction?

wolfgang said...

First of all, if I would be a solipsist - what difference would this make to you? 8-)
But I really do think that the Copenhagen interpretation works best in combination with solipsism.

Secondly, I actually don't have a good answer to the interpretation problem; I think it remains an open question.

Anonymous said...

Hah, I understand that, but I was under the impression that you were holding out for a realist interpretation ?

wolfgang said...

>> realist interpretation

Let me put it this way: I would be fine with mwi if it would not have all those nasty problems 8-)

But perhaps most of them would go away if Weizsaecker was right and the world is indeed made of urs?

On the other hand it seems to me that part of the interpretation problem already affects classical mechanics - i.e. the "hard" problem of conscious experience. Unfortunately, most physicists refuse to even mention that part... (Ernst Mach was an exception and others, e.g. Dokwer&Kent, noticed it as well).

Anonymous said...

Yes, but MWI does not need to be *the* only realist alternative.

Have you had a look at the slowly growing view that retrocausality can do away with quantum weirdness?
Huw Price is one of it's champions:

Another person who is sympathic to a realist alternative is Ken Wharton who had a very interesting FQXi last year:

Can't say much about the "ur interpretation". It's interesting, but a bit convoluted to say the least.

As for consciousness. Tegmark just had a paper earlier this year about Consciousness as a response to the factorization problem raised by Jan Markus Schwindt. This is Tegmarks solution (instead of the usual DECOHERENCE SOLVES IT ALL)

wolfgang said...

I agree that the Tegmark paper is quite interesting ...

wolfgang said...

... but see also this blog post by Scott.