Interesting Question

The State is a condition, a certain relationship between human beings, a mode of behavior; we destroy it by contracting other relationships, by behaving differently toward one another....We are the state, and we shall continue to be the state until we have created the institutions that form a real community and society of men.

- Gustav Landauer, Schwache Stattsmanner, Schwacheres Volk!, June, 1910

Selected Correspondence:

18 July 2006

Many worlds

The measurement paradox seems to be going away as people have filled in the details on many worlds / environmental decoherence. This hasn't come from arm chair philosophising so much as out of real modeling problems from quantum computation. I don't understand this well enough yet to say anything meaningful, but my five second take is that it does for the measurement problem what entropy does for the arrow of time and in much the same way; by denying an independent dimension to the phenomenon and instead extrapolating it from the behavior of a statistically large ensemble. The discussion is not purely philosophical, because you need something like this if you want to think usefully about the behavior of nano sized "measurement" devices. It's not that many worlds predicts different results to Copenhagen, but that you can't think about some quantum computation problems easily enough with Copenhagen to be able to make a prediction at all. And here I give an analogy: All measurements are rational numbers but physics is full of complex numbers. All you ever do in physics is connect, through computers and brains one rational number (settings on an experiment) to another (results of a measurement). So why is physics full of complex numbers? Because they permit us to out think those too pure to use them and here follows the analogy; by the time any measurement gets into my brain it is in a form that satisfies Copenhagen since it has interacted with a macro ensemble (apparatus and my flesh) and likewise the setup of any macro experiment satisfies Copenhagen. But in the middle we may use any consistent trick that aids our thinking. The "tricks" are as real as their power to produce predictions consonant with described reality, for this, in some sense is the definition of understanding.