Continuity and Discontinuity of Definite Properties in the Modal Interpretation.

Helvetica Physica Acta, Volume 68, pages 679-704 (1995)

Guido Bacciagaluppi, Matthew J. Donald, Pieter E. Vermaas

Abstract Technical results about the time dependence of eigenvectors of reduced density operators are considered, and the relevance of these results is discussed for modal interpretations of quantum mechanics which take the corresponding eigenprojections to represent definite properties. Continuous eigenvectors can be found if degeneracies are avoided. We show that, in finite dimensions, the space of degenerate operators has co-dimension 3 in the space of all reduced operators, suggesting that continuous eigenvectors almost surely exist. In any dimension, even when degeneracies are hit, we find conditions under which a theorem due to Rellich can provide continuous eigenvectors. We use this result to formulate an extended version of the modal interpretation. We also discuss eigenvector instability which we argue poses a serious problem for the modal interpretation, even in our extended version. Many examples are given to illustrate the mathematics.

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