The Quantum Reconstruction Program and Beyond

August 1, 2023 - August 3, 2023
University of Graz


This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities

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University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology
Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information
Linkoping University


University of Graz
State University of New York, Albany

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The program of reconstructing quantum theory emerged at the turn of the millennium as a consequence of the booming interest in quantum information. The idea is that progress in our understanding of quantum mechanics can be achieved by deriving the quantum formalism from physical principles. This is to say that instead of treating the quantum formalism as a given and interpreting the mathematics,we should be looking for underlying physical principles. By now, there exist several successful reconstructions. Typically, they are formulated in an operational framework, deriving the quantum formalism from information-theoretic principles. The aim of this workshop is to reflect on the philosophical implications of such informational reconstructions, to discuss how the reconstruction program should evolve, and to find synergies to other areas in physics and philosophy that do not explicitly engage in reconstructions.

Topics and questions we want to discuss include but are not limited to:

1. The relationship between interpretation and reconstruction. Are reconstructions themselves in need of interpretation? Are certain reconstructions particularly (in-)consistent with prominent interpretations? For instance, how does the operational framework square with the popular “interpretations without observers” that seek to eliminate the notion of measurement from the quantum formalism?

2. The concept of information. Information for whom and information about what? Should the notion of information be treated as an irreducible component of the quantum formalism? Should information be understood in an ontological sense? Finally, should interpretations that deny that the quantum state represents (our knowledge of) objective reality seek reconstructions that are formulated in terms of non-factive mental states such as belief and experience?

3. Synergies. Can researchers working on classical physics, general relativity, quantum gravity, or metaphysics benefit from insights of the quantum reconstruction program and vice versa?

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State University of New York (SUNY)
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