Towards a Realistic Parsing of the Feynman Path Integral

Ken Wharton


The Feynman path integral does not allow a one real path interpretation, because the quantum amplitudes contribute to probabilities in a non-separable manner. The opposite extreme, all paths happen, is not a useful or informative account. In this paper it is shown that an intermediate parsing of the path integral, into realistic non-interfering possibilities, is always available. Each realistic possibility formally corresponds to numerous particle paths, but is arguably best interpreted as a spacetime-valued field. Notably, one actual field history can always be said to occur, although it will generally not have an extremized action. The most obvious concerns with this approach are addressed, indicating necessary follow-up research. But without obvious showstoppers, it seems plausible that the path integral might be reinterpreted to explain quantum phenomena in terms of Lorentz covariant field histories.

Quanta 2016; 5: 1–11.

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ISSN: 1314-7374