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Thanks, Bob – I have a pretty clear idea of where our paths diverge now.
Still, I happen to think that far more clarity is gained than lost when thinking about the CH framework choice as a hidden variable. (It’s certainly “hidden” at first, right?) Specifically, when thinking this way, it becomes far clearer which aspect of Bell’s theorem doesn’t go through. (Statistical independence of the allowed histories, because those histories must be in the proper framework associated the future measurement settings).
I also don’t seem to be able to simultaneously hold the two views that:
A) The framework choice is merely that which is useful, and any framework choice is in principle valid, if perhaps awkward: therefore it is not ontological.
B) Histories that are not in the proper CH framework are not “real”, need not be assigned probabilities, or even said to exist.
Since you brought up the stat mech analog, one point you might consider is the case of finite-edge effects. The way these effects work is that for finite systems, the possibility space in the bulk is a function of how big the system is (because each microstate is assigned an equal probability, and those states are defined globally). Changing the edge-geometry changes the bulk properties. If I took the viewpoint that this possibility space had no ontological significance, then I would be unable to explain this causal channel — or at the very least, I would lose an important perspective on why the bulk behaved differently when the edge-geometry was changed.
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