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Quantum Best books on Quantum Foundations?

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What are the best books on QT Foundations out there? This seems to be a difficult question which has very different answers depending on who you happen to ask. There seem to be at least two different levels, e.g. intermediate texts and advanced texts, with a very wide gap in between, which is populated by a few controversial monographs.

Some of my own recommendations which are more comprehensive are Klaas Landsman's recent monograph:

Tian Yu Cao's book:

as well as John Bell's classic:
 

DarMM

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@Demystifier, @DarMM and @A. Neumaier: I am very interested in your recommendations.
I don't think there is a good one. All books that I have read are quite out of date (>25 years or so).

I don't know a book that for example presents the PBR theorem, Wood-Spekkens theorem, Ekart-Renner theorem, Cabello and others work on Contextuality and Nonlocality, Epistemic understandings of Wigner's friend, the impact of Spekkens model (showing many "quantum" features to be classical), modern versions of the various interpretations and the fact that they are in fact not empirically equivalent, the fact that mixed states are not ignorance of the "true" pure state. These are all currently major ideas in the field.

Even presentations of the nonlocality theorems in most books are quite outdated having Bell's original proof or a Bohm-like CHSH style discussion. Many modern concepts are not captured by these. None discuss generalized nonlocality, graph equivalence of nonlocality and contextuality, incompatibility and state bounds on nonlocality.

Even the simple fact that one of the dominant views on nonlocality is that of counterfactual indefiniteness/multiple sample spaces/"Unperformed experiments have no results" (see here:https://arxiv.org/abs/1301.1069, Question 6) proven back in the 80s. Peres and Streater are two books that use this, but few others do. Even though it's behind how the biggest family of interpretations (Copenhagen-like) evade the theorem.

I think it might be the case to wait until Leifer, Spekkens, Hardy or Cabello write a book.
 
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A. Neumaier

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What are the best books on QT Foundations out there?
@Demystifier, @DarMM and @A. Neumaier: I am very interested in your recommendations.
I don't think there has been real progress since the studies of decoherence, except for a detailed analysis of the various failure modes of the traditional interpretations, covered by DarMM in #3. But it analyzes a mess rather than proceeds to a solution that overcomes the problems. I lost around 2004 interest in the discussion of details of the traditional interpretations and kept up only superficially with the state of the art, since - unlike my thermal interpretation - all take Born's rule as a God given must be. So I give only old literature needed for understanding the history:

M. Jammer, Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics. Wiley, New York 1974.

J.A. Wheeler and W.H. Zurek (eds.), Quantum theory and measurement. Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton 1983. [A large, commented collection of reprints of relevant papers from 1926 to 1981]

M. Schlosshauer, Decoherence and the quantum-to-classical transition, Springer, New York 2007.

In addition, a book on the thermal interpretation will come out soon,
  • A. Neumaier, Coherent quantum physics - A reinterpretation of the tradition, de Gruyter, Berlin 2019.
a polished version of my recent collection of preprints.
 

vanhees71

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My favorites are (because they stick to the physics, avoid philosophical gibberish and are thus pretty clear)

A. Peres, Quantum Theory: Concepts and Methods, Kluwer (2002)

Also the corresponding chapter in

S. Weinberg, Lectures on Quantum Mechanics, Cam. Uni. Press. (2015)

is very good.

A thorough discussion about why the minimal stastical, aka ensemble interpretation is the most convincing interpretation so far, can be found in

L. Ballentine, Quantum Mechanics - a modern devlopment, World Scientific (1998)

There's a newer edition of this book, but I've not seen it and I can't say what's new in it. I guess, Ballentine might have updated something relevant to the interpretational questions given the recent experimental progress in the last 20 years.
 

Demystifier

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There's a newer edition of this book, but I've not seen it and I can't say what's new in it. I guess, Ballentine might have updated something relevant to the interpretational questions given the recent experimental progress in the last 20 years.
He just added a chapter on quantum information.
 

atyy

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He just added a chapter on quantum information.
Hopefully it's just as cantankerous as the rest of the book. Or did he mellow with age?

Are all the famous errors still preserved?
 

DarMM

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except for a detailed analysis of the various failure modes of the traditional interpretations, covered by DarMM in #3.
This is not to disagree with you, but it draws attention to a lack of clarity in my own post.

Just to be clear for those looking for books, the problem is more the lack of a textbook that discusses:
  1. Advances in contextuality and nonlocality bounds via graph theory and other methods
  2. Incompatibility and contextuality bounds
  3. Requirements for nonlocality
  4. Characterisation of the quantum correlations polytope
  5. Bounds relating local and nonlocal probabilistic correlations
  6. Characterisation of the tower of Bell-like inequalities
  7. Studies of nonlocality in QFT
  8. Decoherence Functional results
These are interpretation neutral and currently have no decent accounts of their advances in the last 25 years.
 
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Demystifier

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Hopefully it's just as cantankerous as the rest of the book. Or did he mellow with age?
I had to use google translate for that word, but I don't think that most of the book is "cantankerous". Anyway, that chapter is good, but I would not call it "cantankerous".

Are all the famous errors still preserved?
Those are not errors (erros is something you commit when you are not careful) but deep misconceptions. So yes, they are still there.
 

martinbn

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I had to use google translate for that word, but I don't think that most of the book is "cantankerous".
What about the parts dealing with interpretations, specifically where he talks about Copenhagen? Would you call that part of the book svadljiva?
 
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vanhees71

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I had to use google translate for that word, but I don't think that most of the book is "cantankerous". Anyway, that chapter is good, but I would not call it "cantankerous".


Those are not errors (erros is something you commit when you are not careful) but deep misconceptions. So yes, they are still there.
I still did not understand what yours and @atyy 's objective quibbles you have. I don't see any misconceptions in Ballentine's book. To the contrary, he is among the most careful writer trying to avoid misconceptions in the slippery fields of "interpretation".

That said, one may criticize that he is very strong in his opinion about the statistical interpretation, as if it were the only interpretation on the planet. For me personally that's the case at the moment, because I don't see anything lacking in it, but that's a personal opinion as any opinion on non-scientific, i.e., non-objective contents of knowledge is. For a physicist it's almost irrelevant, which personal interpretation he follows, as long as he sticks to the scientific facts incorporated and well-established by experiment. In this respect, maybe the book by Weinberg is the better choice, if you look for a book that covers some interpretational issues but is not focused on it. The chapter on interpretations in this book is pretty indifferent, coming to the solomonic conclusion that the metaphysical issues with QT are not solved, i.e., there's no "final interpretation" yet. Though I tend to disagree with that, I think that may be even a good thing for somebody starting to think about interpretational issues than a book like Ballentine which takes a clear decision for only one interpretation (though it's by chance the one I find most convincing myself).
 

Demystifier

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I still did not understand what yours and @atyy 's objective quibbles you have. I don't see any misconceptions in Ballentine's book.
Check the section on the quantum Zeno effect, where he concludes that the effect does not exist. Experiments disprove him.

Any by the way, if you don't see misconceptions in his book, how do you comment on his conclusions that quantum mechanics is nonlocal?
 

Demystifier

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What about the parts dealing with interpretations, specifically where he talks about Copenhagen? Would you call that part of the book svadljiva?
For those parts it could be said so.
 

vanhees71

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Check the section on the quantum Zeno effect, where he concludes that the effect does not exist. Experiments disprove him.

Any by the way, if you don't see misconceptions in his book, how do you comment on his conclusions that quantum mechanics is nonlocal?
Interesting. I'll have a look when I'm at home this evening. I've Ballentine's book not with me. It's of course not true that the quantum Zeno effect isn't real. Due to the interaction with the measurement device you can keep a system in an state that's otherwise unstable. Of course, it's not very important that the stuff the system is interacting with is a measurement device. All this doesn't invalidate the minimal interpretation.

The statement "quantum mechanics is nonlocal" is for sure incomplete and inaccurate. In relativistic QFT by constrcution the interactions are "local". Of course, there are the strong correlations between entangled parts of quantum system which can be observed (in principle) at any distances, but I'd not call this "non-local" but rather "inseparable" (Einstein was much more clear and accurate in expressing his thoughts about QT).

BTW, I also just discovered some writings by Schrödinger, but to my surprise he seems not to be a minimal interpreter but heavily bases his interpretation on collapse. I always thought he was rather critical against collapse and ridiculed the idea with his famous cat (thought) experiment. Though I don't agree with him on the interpretation, I think he's also provided a lot of very clearly formulated papers (even some which are not physics but philosophical papers) that are much better than anything I've read from Bohr or Heisenberg. So far I've only known his famous papers on wavemechanics of 1926 (masterpieces of course too).
 

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