A Foundational Principle for Quantum Mechanics

  • Anton ZeilingerEmail author
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 406)


In contrast to the theories of relativity, quantum mechanics is not yet based on a generally accepted conceptual foundation. It is proposed here that the missing principle may be identified through the observation that all knowledge in physics has to be expressed in propositions and that therefore the most elementary system represents the truth value of one proposition, i.e., it carries just one bit of information. Therefore an elementary system can only give a definite result in one specific measurement. The irreducible randomness in other measurements is then a necessary consequence. For composite systems entanglement results if all possible information is exhausted in specifying joint properties of the constituents.



I wish to thank D. M. Greenberger, M. A. Horne, and A. Shimony for discussions over many years on the foundations of quantum mechanics.

My initial hesitant confidence in the ideas presented here was strengthened by progress in the analysis of some of their implications done in collaboration with Caslav Brukner. This work was supported by Austrian Science Foundation (FWF), Grant S6503, and by U.S. National Science Foundation Grant PHY 97-22614.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Experimental Physics, University of ViennaWienAustria

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