Philosophy of Physics Graduate Lunch Seminar (Wednesday - Week 6, MT20)

philosophy of physics grad lunch seminar

This talk will be about what we may call the empirical completeness problem of quantum mechanics. The theory only makes probabilistic predictions about the outcomes of experiments. One possible explanation for this could be that the theory’s predictions are incomplete. That is, the objects used to make predictions in quantum mechanics provide incomplete knowledge about the outcomes of measurements. In principle, alternative theories could exist involving additional elements that decrease measurement uncertainty with respect to the quantum prediction. My talk is aiming at trying to make sense of the question whether quantum mechanics could turn out to be empirically complete. That is, no theory reproducing quantum behaviour can be empirically more complete. I suggest a framework in which the question can be studied and explore possible avenues of approaching a proof of the hypothesis. I will discuss the case of pilot wave theory for which we can give a clear answer to the empirical completeness problem. I will then generalise the result to a larger class of quantum theories.

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