From Bohr to Bayes: Causality, Probability, and Statistics in Quantum Theory.

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08110039

Abstract

This paper critically examines the view of quantum mechanics that emerged shortly after the introduction of quantum mechanics and that has been widespread ever since. Although N. Bohr, P. A. M. Dirac, and W. Heisenberg advanced this view earlier, it is best exemplified by J. von Neumann’s argument in Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics (1932) that the transformation of \'a [quantum] state ... under the action of an energy operator . . . is purely causal,\' while, \'on the other hand, the state ... which may measure a [given] quantity ... undergoes in a measurement a non-casual change.\' Accordingly, while the paper discusses all four of these arguments, it will especially focus on that of von Neumann. The paper also offers an alternative, radically noncausal, view of the quantum-mechanical situation and considers the differences between the ensemble and the Bayesian understanding quantum mechanics. It will also discuss the Bayesian approach to quantum information theory in this set of contexts.