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On superselection rules in Bohm–Bell theories


Abstract: The meaning of superselection rules in Bohm-Bell theories (i.e., quantum theories with particle trajectories) is different from that in orthodox quantum theory. More precisely, there are two concepts of superselection rule, a weak and a strong one. Weak superselection rules exist both in orthodox quantum theory and in Bohm-Bell theories and represent the conventional understanding of superselection rules. We introduce the concept of strong superselection rule, which does not exist in orthodox quantum theory. It relies on the clear ontology of Bohm-Bell theories and is a sharper and, in the Bohm-Bell context, more fundamental notion. A strong superselection rule for the observable G asserts that one can replace every state vector by a suitable statistical mixture of eigenvectors of G without changing the particle trajectories or their probabilities. A weak superselection rule asserts that every state vector is empirically indistinguishable from a suitable statistical mixture of eigenvectors of G. We establish conditions on G for both kinds of superselection. For comparison, we also consider both kinds of superselection in theories of spontaneous wave function collapse.
Keywords: beables / bohmian mechanics / bell- type quantum field theory / weak and strong superselection rules / number operators / ghirardi-rimini-weber model of spontaneous wave function collapse.
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