Thursday, September 09, 2004

Relational Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics

While looking up some information on quantum physics recently I was pleasantly surprised to find a reference to an interpretation of QM which I had not seen before. Due to Carlo Rovelli (the physicist who, along with Lee Smolin, has pioneered loop quantum gravity), I found it to be very thought-provoking and philosophically appealing.

Called relational quantum mechanics, it interprets QM by rejecting the idea that quantum systems exist absolutely, and says instead that they only exist as they relate to another system. The interaction between systems is the “real” entity. By taking this approach, a consistent quantum description of an entire world is possible which seems to avoid the problems of other interpretations. It also seems to dovetail with my opinions in the last post regarding what QM implies for our view of reality. I refer the reader to the Stanford Philosophy Encyclopedia entry for a fuller description.

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