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Information is the key!



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PIRSA Number: 
16060090

Abstract

Most physicists take it for granted that the experimental violation of Bell's inequality provides evidence that it is not possible to completely describe the state of a physical system in terms of purely local information when this system is entangled with some other system. We disagree. Provided we redefine appropriately what is the information-theoretic state of a quantum system, it becomes possible to recover the whole from the description of its parts. This is in sharp contrast with the standard formalism of quantum mechanics in which the density matrix provides all there is to say about the state of a system. According to our formalism, there is no need to invoke supernatural nonlocality in order to explain everything standard quantum mechanics tells us that we can observe. We show, however, that this is inconsistent with the usual belief held among Everettians that the universal wavefunction can be taken as the complete representation of reality. Inspired by Plato and Kant, we introduce and contrast the notions of noumenal and phenomenal states of physical systems: the former corresponds to the complete but unknowable state of the system and the latter to what can be perceived about it with the help of arbitrary technology. We exhibit an explicit epimorphism from the former to the latter, which explains the relationship between all that there is and all that can be apprehended. Joint work with Paul Raymond-Robichaud