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Single-world interpretations of quantum theory cannot be self-consistent

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Referee this paper: arXiv:1604.07422 by Daniela Frauchiger, Renato Renner

Please use comments to point to previous work in this direction, and reviews to referee the accuracy of the paper. Feel free to edit this submission to summarise the paper (just click on edit, your summary will then appear under the horizontal line)

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requested May 19, 2016 by Giulio Prisco (150 points)
submission not yet summarized

paper authored Apr 25, 2016 to quant-ph by  (no author on PO assigned yet) 
  • [ no revision ]

    Abstract: According to quantum theory, a measurement may have multiple possible outcomes. Single-world interpretations assert that, nevertheless, only one of them "really" occurs. Here we propose a gedankenexperiment where quantum theory is applied to model an experimenter who herself uses quantum theory. We find that, in such a scenario, no single-world interpretation can be logically consistent. This conclusion extends to deterministic hidden-variable theories, such as Bohmian mechanics, for they impose a single-world interpretation.

    The authors provide a simple summary:

    Main result (informal version) - There cannot exist a physical theory T that has all of the following properties:

    • (QT) Compliance with quantum theory: T forbids all measurement results that are forbidden by standard quantum theory (and this condition holds even if the measured system is large enough to contain itself an experimenter).
    • (SW) Single-world: T rules out the occurrence of more than one single outcome if an experimenter measures a system once.
    • (SC) Self-consistency: T's statements about measurement outcomes are logically consistent (even if they are obtained by considering the perspectives of different experimenters).

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