@MISC{Sebens14quantummechanics, author = {Charles T. Sebens}, title = {Quantum mechanics as classical physics}, year = {2014} }

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Abstract

Here I explore a novel no-collapse interpretation of quantum mechanics which combines aspects of two familiar and well-developed alternatives, Bohmian mechanics and the many-worlds interpretation. Despite reproducing the empirical predictions of quantum mechanics, the theory looks surprisingly classical. All there is at the fundamental level are particles interacting via Newtonian forces. There is no wave function. However, there are many worlds. On the face of it, quantum physics is nothing like classical physics. Despite its oddity, work in the foundations of quantum theory has provided some palatable ways of understanding this strange quantum realm. Most of our best theories take that story to include the existence of a very non-classical entity: the wave function. Here I offer an alternative which combines elements of Bohmian mechanics and the many-worlds interpretation to form a theory in which there is no wave function. According to this theory, all there is at the fundamental level are particles interacting via Newtonian forces. In this sense, the theory is classical. However, it is still undeniably strange as it posits the existence of a large but finite collection of worlds, each completely and utterly real. When an experiment is conducted, every result with appreciable Born Rule probability does actually occur in one of these worlds. Unlike the many worlds of the many-worlds interpretation, these worlds are fundamental, not emergent; they are interacting, not causally isolated; and they never branch. In each of these worlds, particles follow well-defined trajectories and move as if they were being guided by a wave function in the familiar Bohmian way. In fact, their trajectories are determined by a combination of intra- and inter-world forces. In this paper I will not attempt to argue that this theory is unequivocally superior to its competitors. Instead, I would like to establish it as a surprisingly successful alternative which deserves attention and development, hopefully one day meriting inclusion among the list of promising realist responses to the measurement problem. 1 ar