From Three Tenets of QBism to a Whitehead-style Creative Panexperientialism

Christopher Fuchs, College of Science and Mathematics, University of Massachusetts, Boston


QBism is an interpretation of quantum theory that takes any individual agent's actions and experiences as the central concern of the theory.  In this talk, I will lay out three of its tenets:  1) The Born Rule for calculating quantum probabilities is a normative statement.  It is about the decision-making behavior any individual agent should strive for; it is not a descriptive "law of nature" in the usual sense.  2) All probabilities, including all quantum probabilities, are so subjective they never tell nature what to do. This even includes probability-1 assignments! Thus quantum states have no "ontic hold" on the world — i.e., there is not even a remnant of them in the agent's external world.  3) Quantum measurement outcomes just are personal experiences for the agent gambling upon them.  Particularly, quantum measurement outcomes are not, to paraphrase Bohr, instances of "irreversible amplification in devices whose design is communicable in common language suitably refined by the terminology of classical physics."  Indeed most quantum measurements, as most personal experiences, may be hardly communicable at all.  Yet, the goal of physics always has been (and should continue to be) to draw an ontological lesson from its theories.  QBism is no different in this regard, but the lesson is not that "mind is everything".  Rather QBism seems to point to something like a Whitehead-style panexperientialism or pancreativism as the basic stuff of the world.  The talk's conclusion will be a brief introduction to these thoughts.