Does reality really exist when not measured?

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  • #2
stevendaryl
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In 2015, the Australian National University conducted an experiment that showed that reality does not exist when not measured. But how is it that things exists on the macroscopic scale even when they are not measured?
http://www.anu.edu.au/news/all-news/experiment-confirms-quantum-theory-weirdness
Just a word of warning: In experimental results, there can be a distinction between what was actually demonstrated and how the author summarizes the result. The summary is often informal and sometimes is worded in a way that makes the results seem more exciting. But you have to take the summary with a grain of salt.
 
  • #3
A. Neumaier
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Buddhists hold that reality doesn't exist, no matter whether microscopic or macroscopic, and whether or not it is measured. This cannot be disproved by experiment since nonexistent evidence doesn't count as proof. So you cannot take the existence of macroscopic things for granted unless you clearly define what you want existence to mean.
 
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  • #4
Vanadium 50
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I don't think "what happens when we are not measuring it" is a question that can be answered scientifically. Some people might argue it can't be answered at all.
 
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  • #5
tom.stoer
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In 2015, the Australian National University conducted an experiment that showed that reality does not exist when not measured. But how is it that things exists on the macroscopic scale even when they are not measured?
http://www.anu.edu.au/news/all-news/experiment-confirms-quantum-theory-weirdness
The problematic claim is that "It [the experiment] proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it."

How do they define "measurement" and "reality"? They don't, so that's an empty claim.

There are numerous books, starting with ancient Greek philosophers like Platon. One that I would recommend is On Physics and Philosophy by Bernhard d'Espagnat. Whether or not one likes or cares about these questions - it shows that the above mentioned statement is meaningless without in-depth and careful reflections.

So the experiment might be great, the philosophical summary isn't.
 
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  • #6
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Does reality really exist when not measured?

Mothers have played peekaboo behind the animal skin with their infants from probably the late Paleozoic to promote development of the concept of object permanence. It was important that reflections on thoughts like "Do cave bears really exist when not looking at them?" be rejected immediately. Object permanence has served us well in the macroscopic world. Even anti-materialist philosophers look both ways before crossing the street... :)
 
  • #7
hilbert2
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A bit difficult question. Didn't the Higgs Boson exist before the experimental evidence for it had sufficient statistical significance? It had been affecting the physics we observe, all the time, but that effect could have been explained with a myriad other mechanisms, too.
 
  • #8
Doesnt this apply to Schroders cat? Its not that reality doesnt exist its just that all possibilities are available, right?
 
  • #9
Khashishi
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It's impossible to know.
If QM predicts that an electron is in the state (1/√2) (|+> - |->), and you measure the spin to be +ħ/2, then was the electron in the state |+> immediately before you measured it? It's a question of predestination. No matter how sophisticated our theories get, it's just not possible to answer, so it's kind of pointless to try.
 
  • #10
tom.stoer
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It seems that you associate "reality" with epistemic reality, observed via measurement. Of course in the philosophical tradition - at least since Platon - one talks about ontological reality as well, existing before and independent of any observation or measurement. So what is "revealed" in a measurement is a property of the electron, whereas the existence of the electron itself is something different.
 
  • #11
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Even anti-materialist philosophers look both ways before crossing the street... :)
What street... ? [COLOR=#black] .[/COLOR] :oldtongue: [COLOR=#black]. .[/COLOR] lol
 
  • #12
Boing3000
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reality does not exist when not measured.
Let's put aside that "reality", by that "proof", would then apparently be something that can exist or not.
There is still that little thing called the scientific method that equates "proof" with experimental verification / measurement, thus is is quite impossible to prove anything in between measurement.
I suppose the "clickbait" effect is quite measurable in this article. But as I won't read it, I now know for sure it is not a real one :biggrin:
 

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