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Bounding objectivity

  1. Sep 1, 2003 #1
    Is there a characteristic boundary between every observer and their respective objects? If so, how would one describe it physically?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 1, 2003 #2
    Loren,
    I think this is a very deep and interesting question. Not a new one, though. I think it has been here since the gedanken experiment of Schrödinger's Cat. I'm afraid no-one has a satisfying answer to this. After years of thinking, I came up with the following point of view: "All that has reality is observations. Wave functions don't have any reality, so we don't have to worry about when or where wavefunctions collapse. Quantum theory just gives correlations between observations. The mystery is not in a 'discontinuos component of quantum theory'. The mystery is why reality is like it is."
    Not very satisfying, eh?
     
  4. Sep 1, 2003 #3
    arcnets - Does quantum mechanics address why we are able to interchange the entity classifications "observer" and "object" in different physical situations? Otherwise, do the same observer, "I," and all "other," object, labels always conserve?
     
  5. Sep 1, 2003 #4

    jcsd

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    It's one of the flaws of the Copenhagen interpretation that it cannot describe an observer or what constitutes a measurement appartus they are just treated classically. Decoherence does offer an explanation however as it describes how large objects very quickly begin to behave like classical systems.
     
  6. Sep 1, 2003 #5
    You mean, why I can 'observe' you, and the result of my observation and your observation will be the same?
     
  7. Sep 2, 2003 #6
    jcsd - quite right, the decoherence explanation seems to cover nicely the definition of observer-object.

    arcnets - yours is a succinct description of the problem I am trying to pose - but might it be more metaphysical than physical?
     
  8. Sep 2, 2003 #7

    jcsd

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    What you are hinting at his psychoparellelism which is rejected almost universally these days as an explantion of quantum mechanics. The Wigner's friends version of Schoredinger's cat was a thought experiment thta attempted to put forward the idea that the observer had to be a 'concious' being.
     
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