Working Paper Article Version 2 This version is not peer-reviewed

Emergence of Objective Reality in an Irreversible Friend thought Experiment

Version 1 : Received: 22 December 2020 / Approved: 22 December 2020 / Online: 22 December 2020 (14:17:10 CET)
Version 2 : Received: 27 December 2020 / Approved: 28 December 2020 / Online: 28 December 2020 (13:52:16 CET)
Version 3 : Received: 1 January 2021 / Approved: 4 January 2021 / Online: 4 January 2021 (10:58:22 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Shuler, R. L. Emergence of Objective Reality in an Irreversible Friend Thought Experiment. Journal of Applied Mathematics and Physics, 2021, 09, 1964–1977. Shuler, R. L. Emergence of Objective Reality in an Irreversible Friend Thought Experiment. Journal of Applied Mathematics and Physics, 2021, 09, 1964–1977.


Background: Recently some photon models of a Wigner's friend experiment have led investigators to suggest objective reality does not exist, and to publish non-academic articles with such claims. The public is not equipped to evaluate the severe limitations of these experiments. The separation of Wigner from the experiment and use of only reversible coherent processes for the friend allow operations that are not possible in ordinary reality according to the latest quantum research. Methods: We suggest directly testing the implied claim that objective reality, including incoherent objects with irreversible non-destructive memory, can be held in superposition. We suspect it will fail, but provide for a graduated approach that may discover something about the conditions for superposition collapse. To this end we design a thought experiment to model the objective world, investigating under what conditions experimenters in the same world (ensemble member) will be able to record a result and find it does not appear to change. An observer has a viewing apparatus and a memory apparatus. A second uncorrelated viewer of the same recorded result is employed to obtain objectivity. By hypothesis the uncorrelated second viewer obtains the same view of the measurement record as the first observer. There are not two measurements. This is not an investigation of hidden variables. Results: To model the objective world, incoherent and irreversible processes must be included. To test for superposition, coherence has to be established. These seem to present a contradiction. Conclusions: The thought experiment has suggested new places to look other than size for the origin of objective reality from the quantum world, casts doubt on the Many-Worlds interpretation, and provides a method of testing it.


quantum measurement; objective reality; Wigner’s friend; irreversibility; waveform collapse; Many-Worlds


Physical Sciences, Quantum Science and Technology

Comments (1)

Comment 1
Received: 28 December 2020
Commenter: Robert Shuler
Commenter's Conflict of Interests: Author
Comment: Two references added (Fein supperposition of molecules beyond 25 kDa; Letzer news report of same topic).  Updated estimate of feasibility of actually conducting the experiment.  Corrected other minor miswordings and editorial matters.
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