Is this why a pilot wave theory cannot be accepted?

In summary, the Copenhagen interpretation cannot be accepted because it does not allow for a radical categorical separation between the formalism in which the theory is described (using exact mathematical language) and the empirical situation in which it is validated (using real world tools and materials).
  • #1
BohmianRealist
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TL;DR Summary
Pilot waves may be understood either as irreducible elements of substantial reality or as the mere outcomes of a continuous series of "ghost" observations. Further, if it is not possible to provide exact representations of the substantial things that make up our shared reality, then only the latter understanding (which is conceptually identical to standard QM) can be accepted within physics.
For any physical theory to be accepted, the consensus is that there must be a radical categorical separation between the formalism in which the theory is described (using exact mathematical language) and the empirical situation in which it is validated (using real world tools, materials and procedures).

In the standard interpretation of QM, the theoretical framework does not allow for any kind of description of the reality of the empirical situation; it merely allows for the recordable results thereof. The positive way of saying this is that the descriptions of particular experimental setups must be communicated "out of band" from the theory, as it is; that is, between experimentalists who make heavy use of some natural language such as English.

To attempt to describe the reality in a mathematically rigorous way, one would need to produce exact representations of the entire complex of tools in use, and then show how the thing being measured flows through that complex. To make such an attempt is obviously a fool's errand.

It seems that the conceptual difficulty inherent in the pilot wave approach to QM involves the blurring of the distinction between: a) something being an irreducible element of our shared, embodied reality (that a prospective physical theory should rightfully attempt to describe) and b) something being a mere means for the measurement of such elements (some kind of manufactured tool that no theory could ever hope to satisfactorily describe).

Pilot waves are intended to be understood as substantial things that deterministically move particles continuously between practically isolated detection tools. However, they can also be understood as the mere outcomes of a constant series of implicit, "ghost" detections that are meant to bridge the gap between the detectors that are explicitly represented at the edges of the theory, in the form of observables. The "ghostliness" contained within the heart of the probabilistic interpretations is thus simply relocated into the "ghostliness" of the series of detectors that bridge the gap.

The ultimate problem is that the concept of substantiality is itself wholly resistant to all attempts of exact representation. And without that basic concept, the notion of persistent thinghood also falls by the wayside. So, given that substantial things cannot possibly be described in the language of exact representation (mathematics), the above emboldened "can also be understood" (which implies moral ambiguity) should perhaps be corrected to read "must be understood" (which implies moral necessity).

Therefore, any theory that uses pilot waves, as they are currently understood within the subject matter that depends on mathematics for its very manner of representation, cannot be accepted.p.s. This does not mean that there does not exist some other subject matter within which some kind of [realistic] pilot wave theory may be fruitfully developed; it is simply to say that the subject matter called physics is not rightfully the one. Perhaps that other subject matter simply lies dormant in the hallowed halls of some academic institution, somewhere on earth.
 
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  • #2
BohmianRealist said:
For any physical theory to be accepted, the consensus is that there must be a radical categorical separation between the formalism in which the theory is described (using exact mathematical language) and the empirical situation in which it is validated (using real world tools and materials).

Where are you getting this "consensus" from?

BohmianRealist said:
In the standard interpretation of QM, the theoretical framework does not allow for any kind of description of the reality of the empirical situation; it merely allows for the recordable results thereof.

Where are you getting this "standard interpretation of QM" from?

Personal theories and personal speculations are off limits here.
 
  • #3
PeterDonis said:
Where are you getting this "standard interpretation of QM" from?

I was assuming that people here understand "standard" to mean "Copenhagen".

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpretations_of_quantum_mechanics#Copenhagen_interpretation
The Copenhagen interpretation is the "standard" interpretation of quantum mechanics formulated by Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg while collaborating in Copenhagen around 1927.

Following the satisfaction of that assumption...

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copenhagen_interpretation#Metaphysics_of_the_wave_function
In metaphysical terms, the Copenhagen interpretation views quantum mechanics as providing knowledge of phenomena, but not as pointing to 'really existing objects', which it regards as residues of ordinary intuition.

I take the second sentence that you quoted to be roughly equivalent to this. That is, I take Wikipedia's "really existing objects" to be like my "the reality of the empirical situation" and I take Wikipedia's "knowledge of phenomena" to be like my "recordable results thereof".
 
  • #4
BohmianRealist said:
I was assuming that people here understand "standard" to mean "Copenhagen".
Not an especially good assumption... There's much more going on here than you'll find in a wikipedia article
 
  • #6
Since the OP is based on a misunderstanding, this thread is closed.
 

Related to Is this why a pilot wave theory cannot be accepted?

1. Why is a pilot wave theory not widely accepted in the scientific community?

The main reason a pilot wave theory is not widely accepted is because it goes against the principles of quantum mechanics, which have been extensively tested and proven to accurately describe the behavior of particles at the subatomic level. The pilot wave theory proposes a deterministic explanation for quantum phenomena, whereas quantum mechanics is based on probabilistic principles.

2. What evidence supports the rejection of a pilot wave theory?

Many experiments have been conducted to test the predictions of quantum mechanics, and they have consistently shown that particles behave in a probabilistic manner rather than being guided by a hidden pilot wave. Additionally, the pilot wave theory has not been able to provide a complete and consistent explanation for all quantum phenomena.

3. Can a pilot wave theory coexist with quantum mechanics?

No, a pilot wave theory cannot coexist with quantum mechanics as they offer fundamentally different explanations for the behavior of particles. It would require a major overhaul of our current understanding of quantum mechanics and would likely contradict many experimental results.

4. Is there any support for a pilot wave theory?

While the majority of the scientific community does not accept a pilot wave theory, there are some researchers who continue to explore and develop the theory. However, the lack of experimental evidence and the difficulty in reconciling it with quantum mechanics make it a less popular approach.

5. Could a pilot wave theory potentially be proven in the future?

It is always possible that new evidence or developments in technology could lead to a better understanding of the underlying principles of quantum mechanics and potentially support a pilot wave theory. However, at this time, there is no indication that it will be accepted as a valid explanation for quantum phenomena.

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