How to spell out the epistemic conception of quantum states

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The paper investigates the epistemic conception of quantum states---the view that quantum states are not descriptions of quantum systems but rather reflect the assigning agents' epistemic relations to the systems. This idea, which can be found already in the works of Copenhagen adherents Heisenberg and Peierls, has received increasing attention in recent years because it promises an understanding of quantum theory in which neither the measurement problem nor a conflict between quantum non-locality and relativity theory arises. Here it is argued that the main challenge for proponents of this idea is to make sense of the notion of a state assignment being performed correctly without thereby acknowledging the notion of a true state of a quantum system---a state it is in. An account based on the epistemic conception of states is proposed that fulfills this requirement by interpreting the rules governing state assignment as constitutive rules in the sense of John Searle.
Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)149-157
Aantal pagina's9
TijdschriftStudies in history and philosophy of modern physics
Nummer van het tijdschrift3
StatusPublished - 2011
Extern gepubliceerdJa

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