Explaining the unobserved-why quantum mechanics ain't only about information

Amit Hagar, Meir Hemmo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A remarkable theorem by Clifton et al [Found Phys. 33(11), 1561-1591 (2003)] (CBH) characterizes quantum theory in terms of information-theoretic principles. According to Bub [Stud. Hist. Phil. Mod. Phys. 35 B, 241-266 (2004); Found. Phys. 35(4), 541-560 (2005)] the philosophical significance of the theorem is that quantum theory should be regarded as a "principle" theory about (quantum) information rather than a "constructive" theory about the dynamics of quantum systems. Here we criticize Bub's principle approach arguing that if the mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics remains intact then there is no escape route from solving the measurement problem by constructive theories. We further propose a (Wigner-type) thought experiment that we argue demonstrates that quantum mechanics on the information-theoretic approach is incomplete.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1295-1324
Number of pages30
JournalFoundations of Physics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
thoughtful suggestions and criticism. AH acknowledges financial support from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the German Government through the Sofja Kovalskaja Award through the PPM group in Konstanz.


  • Collapse theories
  • Crucial experiments
  • Principle versus constructive theories
  • Quantum information

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Philosophy
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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