Possibility that all current interpretations of QM are wrong

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Main Question or Discussion Point

Is there a possibility that none of the current interpretations of QM are right?
Or is the current interpretations all that there will be on the table?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Orodruin
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Is there a possibility that none of the current interpretations of QM are right?
Of course.
 
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  • #3
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It is not even clear if "right" is a meaningful classification.

It is possible that new interpretations will be developed in the future.
 
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  • #4
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It is not even clear if "right" is a meaningful classification.

It is possible that new interpretations will be developed in the future.
Do you think that an interpretation as follows could be possible in the future?
The wave function is objectively real (no hidden variables). There is wave function collapse but it doesn't happen instantaneously, it's a physical process that occurs at sublight speed. And it is a local theory. Is this a possible future interpretation?
 
  • #5
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Quite sure that is ruled out by Bell tests.
 
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  • #6
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Quite sure that is ruled out by Bell tests.
Which part?
 
  • #7
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Which part?
We have https://arxiv.org/abs/1303.0614 which shows that if collapse of a Bell state is a physical process, it's not one that propagates at sublight speeds. And of course the (too many to list here) observed violations of Bell's inequality show that no theory in which the wave function is objectively real can be local.
 
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  • #8
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We have https://arxiv.org/abs/1303.0614 which shows that if collapse of a Bell state is a physical process, it's not one that propagates at sublight speeds. And of course the (too many to list here) observed violations of Bell's inequality show that no theory in which the wave function is objectively real can be local.
Is it possible that it really does propagate faster than light? Is it possible that relativity is incomplete?
 
  • #9
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Would be surprising. Everything faster than light in one reference frame is backwards in time in other reference frames. There is no indication that any reference frame would be special, and violating causality unnecessary would be odd as well.
 
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  • #10
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Do you think that an interpretation as follows could be possible in the future?
The wave function is objectively real (no hidden variables). There is wave function collapse but it doesn't happen instantaneously, it's a physical process that occurs at sublight speed. And it is a local theory. Is this a possible future interpretation?
Retrocausal interpretations would meet these criteria. Such models are consistent with Special Relativity and restore locality to nonrelativisitc quantum mechanics. They also restore time-symmetry to microphysics. See:

A live alternative to quantum spooks
https://arxiv.org/pdf/1510.06712.pdf
 
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  • #12
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Is it possible that it really does propagate faster than light? Is it possible that relativity is incomplete?
The type of FTL phenomena that accounts for the correlations in distant measurements (no matter/energy or information transfer) doesn't appear to be in conflict with relativity.
 
  • #13
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Certain minimalistic interpretations (Ballentine's ensemble interpretation, Original Copenhagen etc) don't claim anything more than the axioms of quantum mechanics themselves do, so they'll never be "wrong" unless quantum mechanics itself is wrong.
 
  • #14
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First, by definition all interpretations make the same predictions. If they make different predictions, they are different theories.

A consequence of that is that there is no scientific way to say which is right and which is wrong. To take an example from E&M, is the method of images a right or wrong interpretation?

Next, it looks a lot like the OP is proposing personal theories. We don't discuss them on PF.
 
  • #16
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It is different. For MWI you don't have to agree when worlds split, different observers can have different conclusions without issue. If you assume a physical collapse process, you have to define when it happens.
But if you assume some type of cloning of worlds while branching, it still sounds confusing. So you would say that there are absolutely no issues when combining MWI and SR?
 
  • #17
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But if you assume some type of cloning of worlds while branching, it still sounds confusing. So you would say that there are absolutely no issues when combining MWI and SR?
I don't see where. MWI is local, all the experiments don't depend on what is happening at spacelike separation. If you look at coincidence counts later it does matter, but comparing those results happens at lightlike or timelike distances. Every observer can assume that branching happens according to their reference frame, because there is no need to agree on a time-ordering of the processes.

If wave function collapse is an actual and observer-independent process, then it has to have some time-ordering.
 
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Established that in my opinion, to quote Feynman, no one understands quantum mechanics, I believe that among the "different interpretations", the Copenhagen interpretation "Orthodox" is the most consistent. Although it has elements of ambiguity, the Copenhagen interpretation seems to me the most coherent and more representative of the experimental data. Furthermore it is the most "practical", in order use of the calculations. For example, in the interpretation MW, where are the "other worlds"? There are experimental evidence for the existence of them? It is more simple, in terms of the calculations, thinking that the function of wave collapses, rather, that continue in another space, or the world or universe that is. I'm not saying that the MWI is "wrong." But a quantum physicist, has some practical benefit to use for practical purposes (ie calculation) this interpretation?
 
  • #19
vanhees71
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One has to specify what's meant by "Copenhagen interpretation". There are plenty of flavors. I can only accept Copenhagen flavors which do not assume an instantaneous collapse. The only interpretation that's consistent for me is the minimal statistical interpretation (also known as "ensemble interpretation"). It just takes the formalism, including the Born rule, i.e., it gives the usual probabilistic meaning to the quantum state, and that's how experiments are indeed done, i.e., one prepares a lot of equally prepared quantum systems (ensembles) and analyses the outcome of measurements statistically.
 
  • #20
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Is there a possibility that none of the current interpretations of QM are right?
Or is the current interpretations all that there will be on the table?
All scientific theories have a possibility of being wrong.
 
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  • #21
DrChinese
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All scientific theories have a possibility of being wrong.
If you judge theories by their utility, then no single theory is best in all respects. You could say they are all wrong, if what you are looking for is the "final" and "correct" theory of something. The best we can hope for is a "better" theory for some specified scope of behavior.
 
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all in all, you could say, reversing the original question of the thread, that all interpretations of QM are right.....
 
  • #23
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Are interpretations even useful for anything other than theorizing about GUT? Whether you believe that pilot waves are pushing particles around, or if the particle takes all paths at once and collapses, does it matter in the slightest if the math describes what we see?
 
  • #24
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Are interpretations even useful for anything other than theorizing about GUT?
It's not clear that they're useful even for that purpose.
 
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  • #25
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It's not clear that they're useful even for that purpose.
I don't think they are useful for that.

IMHO their usefulness is in elucidating exactly what the formalism does or does not imply.

Thanks
Bill
 
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