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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Valuations for the quantum propositional structures and hidden variables for quantum mechanics Chernavska, Ariadna


The thesis investigates the possibility of a classical semantics for quantum propositional structures. A classical semantics is defined as a set of mappings each of which is (i) bivalent, i.e., the value 1 (true) or 0 (false) is assigned to each proposition, and (ii) truth-functional, i.e., the logical operations are preserved. In addition, this set must be "full", i.e., any pair of distinct propositions is assigned different values by some mapping in the set. When the propositions make assertions about the properties of classical or of quantum systems, the mappings should also be (iii) "state-induced", i.e., values assigned by the semantics should accord with values assigned by classical or by quantum mechanics. In classical propositional logic, (equivalence classes of) propositions form a Boolean algebra, and each semantic mapping assigns the value 1 to the members of a certain subset of the algebra, namely, an ultrafilter, and assigns 0 to the members of the dual ultraideal, where the union of these two subsets is the entire algebra. The propositional structures of classical mechanics are likewise Boolean algebras, so one can straightforwardly provide a classical semantics, which also satisfies (iii). However, quantum propositional structures are non-Boolean, so it is an open question whether a semantics satisfying (i), (ii) and (iii) can be provided. Von Neumann first proposed (1932) that the algebraic structures of the subspaces (or projectors) of Hilbert space be regarded as the pro-positional structures PQM of quantum mechanics. These structures have been formalized in two ways: as orthomodular lattices which have the binary operations "and", "or", defined among all elements, compatible [symbol omitted] and incompatible [symbol omitted]; and as partial-Boolean algebras which have the binary operations defined among only compatible elements. In the thesis, two basic senses in which these structures are non-Boolean are discriminated. And two notions of truth-functionality are distinguished: truth-functionality [symbols omitted] applicable to the PQM lattices; and truth-functionality [symbol omitted] applicable to both the lattices and partial-Boolean algebras. Then it is shown how the lattice definitions of "and", "or", among incompatibles rule out a bivalent, truth-functional [symbols omitted] semantics for any lattice containing incompatible, elements. In contrast, the Gleason and Kochen-Specker proofs of the impossibility of hidden-variables for quantum mechanics show the impossibility of a bivalent, truth-functional [symbol omitted] semantics for three-or-higher dimensional Hilbert space structures; and the presence of incompatible elements is necessary but is not sufficient to rule out such a semantics. As for (iii), each quantum state-induced expectation-function on a PQM truth-functionally assigns 1 and 0 values to the elements in a ultrafilter and dual ultraideal of PQM³ where, in general the union of an ultrafilter and its dual ultraideal is smaller than the entire structure. Thus it is argued that each expectation-function is the quantum analog of a classical semantic mapping, even though the domain where each expectation-function is bivalent and truth-functional is usually a non-Boolean substructure of PQM. The final portion of the thesis surveys proposals for the introduction of hidden variables into quantum mechanics, proofs of the impossibility of such hidden-variable proposals, and criticisms of these impossibility proofs. And arguments in favour of the partial-Boolean algebra, rather than the orthomodular lattice, formalization of the quantum propositional structures are reviewed.

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