, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 279–311 | Cite as

Decompositional Equivalence: A Fundamental Symmetry Underlying Quantum Theory

  • Chris Fields
Original Paper


Decompositional equivalence is the principle that there is no preferred decomposition of the universe into subsystems. It is shown here, by using a simple thought experiment, that quantum theory follows from decompositional equivalence together with Landauer’s principle. This demonstration raises within physics a question previously left to psychology: how do human—or any—observers identify or agree about what constitutes a “system of interest”?


Black box Cybernetics Information Measurement Objectivity Observer 



Thanks to Don Hoffman for encouraging me to think about 1-bit information transfers, to The Federico and Elvia Faggin Foundation for financial support during the final stages of this work, and to an anonymous referee for suggestions and an additional reference.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SonomaUSA

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