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Zeilinger on Information and Reality

Abstract

According to Zeilinger’s information interpretation of quantum mechanics ‘the distinction between reality and our knowledge of reality, between reality and information, cannot be made. They are in a deep sense indistinguishable’. This is what we call Zeilinger’s thesis. This thesis has been criticized as a lapse into ‘informational immaterialism’ and amounting to nothing more than a tautology. However, we will argue that this criticism is based on a pre-Kantian view of reality, namely metaphysical realism which could be questioned on the basis of Putnam’s arguments. Furthermore, it will be argued that to understand Zeilinger’s thesis one should abandon the pre-Kantian perspective of metaphysical realism and adopt a post-Kantian perspective on the relationship between the mind and the world.

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Notes

  1. It is interesting to note that Zeilinger’s approach bears striking similarity to that of early Wittgenstein in Tractatus, especially see propositions 1 and 2 in Wittgenstein (2001).

  2. It is possible to distinguish collapse theories from no-collapse theories empirically but it is not feasible yet due to a number of difficulties having to do with interactions between the system and environment; see Albert (1994, ch. 5). But then it would not be an interpretation of quantum mechanics rather it would be a new theory.

  3. See e.g. Bohr (1950).

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Acknowledgements

We thank an anonymous referee for constructive comments.

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Correspondence to Mostafa Taqavi.

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Barzegar, A., Taqavi, M. & Shafiee, A. Zeilinger on Information and Reality. Found Sci 26, 1007–1019 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10699-020-09696-8

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Keywords

  • Zeilinger
  • Metaphysical realism
  • Putnam’s internal realism
  • Information
  • Quantum mechanics
  • Kant