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Liouville mechanics with an epistemic restriction and Bohr's response to EPR

Recording Details

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PIRSA Number: 
06030019

Abstract

I will discuss a toy theory that reproduces a wide variety of qualitative features of quantum theory for degrees of freedom that are continuous. The ontology of the theory is that of classical particle mechanics, but it is assumed that there is a constraint on the amount of knowledge that an observer may have about the motional state of any collection of particles -- Liouville mechanics with an epistemic restriction. The formalism of the theory is determined by examining the consequences of this "classical uncertainty principle" on state preparations, measurements, and dynamics. The result is a theory of hidden variables, although it is not a hidden variable model of quantum theory because it is both local and noncontextual. Despite admitting a simple classical interpretation, the theory also exhibits the operational features of Bohr's notion of complementarity. In fact, it includes all of the features of quantum mechanics to which Bohr appeals in his response to EPR. This theory demonstrates, therefore, that Bohr's arguments fail as a defense of the completeness of quantum mechanics. Joint work with Stephen Bartlett and Terry Rudolph