The measurement problem is perhaps the most intensely studied issue at the foundations of quantum theory. It is, therefore, remarkable that the question of its mathematical and conceptual origins has been largely ignored; thinking this a lack serious enough to remedy, and without asserting any exhaustiveness, this talk is an attempt to meet this need. By going back to the foundational papers we try to make very explicit the conceptual platforms to which matrix mechanics and wave mechanics were originally fixed—John von Neumann presented his Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, let us recall, as a mathematically rigorous “synthesis” of the “equivalent” matrix and wave mechanics—and we show that the measurement problem follows straightforwardly from the peculiar mathematical fusion of quantum theories that were built from the ground up from physically incompatible assumptions.
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Philosophy of Physics Graduate Lunch Seminar Convenor: Daniel Grimmer