Monday, November 22, 2010

Ken Wharton: A Constructive Principle for Interpreting Quantum Phenomena

SCFS Visiting Fellow Ken Wharton is giving a 'current projects' talk at USyd today (Nov 22) at 1pm in the Philosophy Common Room.
"The ongoing efforts to interpret quantum mechanics typically ignore the Feynman path-integral approach, despite the fact that this mathematics most naturally extends to relativistic quantum field theory. While literally interpreting the path-integral mathematics seems untenable, it is notable that this mathematics implies strong symmetries between experiments that are typically assumed to be unrelated. If one adopts the principle that any underlying ontology must respect these same symmetries (the "action duality"), it turns out that quantum interpretations are strongly constrained. Furthermore, one can use this principle to construct new interpretations by considering pairs of experiments related by this symmetry, particularly cases where interpreting one experiment appears straightforward and the other problematic. The results generally support time-symmetric and retrocausal interpretations. (Joint work with Huw Price, David Miller, and Peter Evans.)"