We develop and defend the thesis that the Hilbert space formalism of quantum mechanics is a new theory of probability. The theory, like its classical counterpart, consists of an algebra of events, and the probability measures defined on it. The construction proceeds in the following steps: (a) Axioms for the algebra of events are introduced following Birkhoff and von Neumann. All axioms, except the one that expresses the uncertainty principle, are shared with the classical event space. The only models for the set of axioms are lattices of subspaces of inner product spaces over a field K. (b) Another axiom due to Soler forces K to be the field of real, or complex numbers, or the quaternions. We suggest a probabilistic reading of Soler's axiom. (c) Gleason's theorem fully characterizes the probability measures on the algebra of events, so that Born's rule is derived. (d) Gleason's theorem is equivalent to the existence of a certain finite set of rays, with a particular orthogonality graph (Wondergraph). Consequently, all aspects of quantum probability can be derived from rational probability assignments to finite "quantum gambles". We apply the approach to the analysis of entanglement, Bell inequalities, and the quantum theory of macroscopic objects. We also discuss the relation of the present approach to quantum logic, realism and truth, and the measurement problem.
- Pub Date:
- October 2005
- Quantum Physics
- 37 pages, 3 figures. Forthcoming in a Festschrift for Jeffrey Bub, ed. W. Demopoulos and the author, Springer (Kluwer): University of Western Ontario Series in Philosophy of Science