Friday, June 14, 2013

1306.3216 (Shane Mansfield)

On the Reality of Observable Properties    [PDF]

Shane Mansfield
A recent paper by Pusey, Barrett & Rudolph addressed the issue of the reality of the wavefunction. Their criterion for reality came from a distinction made by Harrigan & Spekkens between ontic and epistemic interpretations of the wavefunction. We give an alternative and robust mathematical definition of these terms, which can be applied more generally to properties other than the wavefunction and to generalised theories as well as to quantum mechanics. Obvious properties to consider are those that we observe by making measurements. This leads to a characterisation of local/non-contextual correlations as precisely those that admit an interpretation of the properties being measured as ontic, or real, in this sense. The usefulness of this characterisation is demonstrated by providing a short routes to a recent result by Brandenburger & Keisler, the well-known Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen argument, and a simple proof a kind of Bell theorem in which preparation independence is assumed.
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