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Notwithstanding Bohr, the Reasons for Qbism

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Without Niels Bohr, QBism would be nothing. But QBism is not Bohr. This paper attempts to show that, despite a popular misconception, QBism is no minor tweak to Bohr's interpretation of quantum mechanics. It is something quite distinct. Along the way, we lay out three tenets of QBism in some detail: (1) The Born Rule the foundation of what quantum theory means for QBism is a normative statement. It is about the decision-making behavior any individual agent should strive for; it is not a descriptive 'law of nature' in the usual sense. (2) All probabilities, including all quantum probabilities, are so subjective they never tell nature what to do. This includes probability-1 assignments. Quantum states thus have no \ontic hold" on the world. (3) Quantum measurement outcomes just are personal experiences for the agent gambling upon them. Particularly, quantum measurement outcomes are not, to paraphrase Bohr, instances of 'irreversible amplification in devices whose design is communicable in common language suitably refined by the terminology of classical physics'. Finally, an explicit comparison is given between QBism and Bohr with regard to three subjects: (a) the issue of the 'detached observer' as it arose in a debate between Pauli and Bohr, (b) Bohr's reply to Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen, and (c) Bohr's mature notion of 'quantum phenomena'. At the end, we discuss how Bohr's notion of phenomena may have something to offer the philosophy of William James: a physics from which to further develop his vision of the world call it an ontology if you will in which \new being comes in local spots and patches'.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2017

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