http://arxiv.org/abs/1508.05543

Relational Quantum Cosmology

Francesca Vidotto

(Submitted on 22 Aug 2015)

The application of quantum theory to cosmology raises a number of conceptual questions, such as the role of the quantum-mechanical notion of "observer" or the absence of a time variable in the Wheeler-DeWitt equation. I point out that a relational formulation of quantum mechanics, and more in general the observation that evolution is always relational, provides a coherent solution to this tangle of problems.

20 pages, 4 figures. Contribution to the forthcoming book on Philosophy of Cosmology edited by K. Chamcham, J. Barrow, J. Silk and S. Saunders for Cambridge University Press

http://arxiv.org/abs/1508.05533

An argument against the realistic interpretation of the wave function

Carlo Rovelli

(Submitted on 22 Aug 2015)

Testable predictions of quantum mechanics are invariant under time reversal. But the change of the quantum state in time is not so, neither in the collapse nor in the no-collapse interpretations of the theory. This fact challenges the realistic interpretation of the quantum state. On the other hand, this fact follows easily if we interpret the quantum state as a mere calculation device, bookkeeping past real quantum events. The same conclusion follows from the analysis of the meaning of the wave function in the semiclassical regime.

4 pages, 3 figures

The latter was claimed to be refuted by Dieter Zeh, but the "refutation" http://arxiv.org/abs/1508.06895

didn't seem to me to make much sense.

Both papers address (may actually solve) some problems at a philosophical level.

The role of the observer, and time, are long-standing puzzles in cosmology. John Barrow, Joe Silk, and Simon Saunders are major figures in cosmology and in foundations/interpretation of quantum theory. It is interesting that they are assembling and editing a book on Phil. of Cosmology and have included this paper by Vidotto.

Some of us watched parts of the Oxford 2013 conference on Cosmology and Quantum Foundations. As I recall it was Dandelion who found and passed along to us the link to those videos. Some were pretty remarkable.

We have a thread about them. I guess I could get the Oxford philosophy of science YouTubes by googling [rovelli oxford cosmology]

or something like that. Yes! that gets one of the talks:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzmykSv6OBY