Quantum theory brought an irreducible lawlessness in physics. This is accompanied by lack of specification of state of a system. We can not measure states even though they ever existed. We can measure only transition from one state into another. We deduce this lack of determination of state mathematically, and thus provide formalism for maximum precision of determination of mixed states. However, the results thus obtained show consistency with Heisenberg's uncertainty relations.
An analysis of the two routes through which one may disentangle a quantum system from a measuring apparatus, hence protect the state vector of a single quantum system from being disturbed by the measurement, reveals several loopholes in the argument from protective measurement to the reality of the state vector of a single quantum system.
The Schrodinger's Cat and Wigner's Friend thought experiments, which logically follow from the universality of quantum mechanics at all scales, have been repeatedly characterized as possible in principle, if perhaps difficult or impossible for all practical purposes. I show in this paper why these experiments, and interesting macroscopic superpositions in general, are actually impossible in principle. First, no macroscopic superposition can be created via the slow process of natural quantum packet dispersion because all macroscopic objects are inundated with decohering interactions (...) that constantly localize them. Second, the SC/WF thought experiments depend on von Neumann-style amplification to achieve quickly what quantum dispersion achieves slowly. Finally, I show why such amplification cannot produce a macroscopic quantum superposition of an object relative to an external observer, no matter how well isolated the object from the observer, because: the object and observer are already well correlated to each other; and reducing their correlations to allow the object to achieve a macroscopic superposition relative to the observer is equally impossible, in principle, as creating a macroscopic superposition via the process of natural quantum dispersion. (shrink)
Simultaneous observation of the wave-like and particle-like aspects of the photon in the double-slit experiment is unallowed. The underlying reason behind this limitation is not understood. In this paper, we explain this unique behavior by considering the communicational properties of the photons. Photons have three independently adjustable properties (energy, direction, and spin) that can be used to communicate messages. The double-slit experiment setup fixes two of these properties and confines the single photon’s capacity for conveying messages to no more than (...) one message. With such a low communication capacity, information theory dictates that measurements associated only with one proposition can obtain consistent results, and a second measurement associated with an independent proposition must necessarily lead to randomness. In the double-slit example, these are the wave or particle properties of the photon. The interpretation we offer is based on the formalism of information theory and does not make use of Heisenberg’s uncertainty relation in any form. (shrink)
The mathematical formalism of quantum theory has been known for almost a century, but its physical foundation has remained elusive. In recent decades, many physicists have noted connections between quantum theory and information theory. In this study, we present a physical account of the derivation of quantum theory's mathematical formalism based on information considerations in physical systems. We postulate that quantum systems are physical systems with only one independent adjustable variable. Using this physical postulate along with the conservation of the (...) total probability, we derive the standard Hilbert space formalism of quantum theory, including the Born probability rule. Our complete derivation of quantum theory provides a clear and concise physical foundation for the mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics. (shrink)
In this paper we critically analyse W. Heisenberg’s arguments against the ontology of point particles following trajectories in quantum theory, presented in his famous 1927 paper and in his Chicago lectures (1929). Along the way, we will clarify the meaning of Heisenberg’s uncertainty relation and help resolve some confusions related to it.
Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle is a milestone of twentieth-century physics. We sketch the history that led to the formulation of the principle, and we recall the objections of Grete Hermann and Niels Bohr. Then we explain that there are in fact two uncertainty principles. One was published by Heisenberg in the Zeitschrift für Physik of March 1927 and subsequently targeted by Bohr and Hermann. The other one was introduced by Earle Kennard in the same journal a couple of months later. While (...) Kennard’s principle remains untarnished, the principle of Heisenberg has recently been criticized in a way that is very different from the objections by Bohr and Hermann: there are reasons to believe that Heisenberg’s formula is not valid. Experimental results seem to support this claim. -/- . (shrink)
We consider momentum operators on intrinsically curved manifolds. Given that the momentum operators are Killing vector fields whose integral curves are geodesics, it is shown that the corresponding manifold is either flat, or otherwise of compact type with positive constant sectional curvature and dimension equal to 1, 3 or 7. Explicit representations of momentum operators and the associated Casimir element will be discussed for the 3-sphere. It will be verified that the structure constants of the underlying Lie algebra are proportional (...) to 2ħ/R, where R is the curvature radius of the sphere. This results in a countable energy and momentum spectrum of freely moving particles. It is shown that the maximum resolution of the possible momenta is given by the de-Broglie wave length λ=πR, which is identical to the diameter of the manifold. The corresponding covariant position operators are defined in terms of geodesic normal coordinates and the associated commutator relations of position and momentum are established. (shrink)
Niels Bohr was a central figure in quantum physics, well known for his work on atomic structure and his contributions to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. In this book, philosopher of science Slobodan Perović explores the way Bohr practiced and understood physics, and analyzes its implications for our understanding of modern science. Perović develops a novel approach to Bohr’s understanding of physics and his method of inquiry, presenting an exploratory symbiosis of historical and philosophical analysis that uncovers the key (...) aspects of Bohr’s philosophical vision of physics within a given historical context. -/- To better understand the methods that produced Bohr’s breakthrough results in quantum phenomena, Perović clarifies the nature of Bohr’s engagement with the experimental side of physics and lays out the basic distinctions and concepts that characterize his approach. Rich and insightful, Perović’s take on the early history of quantum mechanics and its methodological ramifications sheds vital new light on one of the key figures of modern physics. (shrink)
Ich gebe einen ausführlichen Überblick über 'The Outer Limits of Reason' von Noson Yanofsky aus einer einheitlichen Perspektive von Wittgenstein und Evolutionspsychologie. Ich weise darauf hin, dass die Schwierigkeit bei Themen wie Paradoxon in Sprache und Mathematik, Unvollständigkeit, Unbedenklichkeit, Berechenbarkeit, Gehirn und Universum als Computer usw. allesamt auf das Versäumnis zurückzuführen ist, unseren Sprachgebrauch im geeigneten Kontext sorgfältig zu prüfen, und daher das Versäumnis, Fragen der wissenschaftlichen Tatsache von Fragen der Funktionsweise von Sprache zu trennen. Ich bespreche Wittgensteins Ansichten über (...) Unvollständigkeit, Parakonsistenz und Unentschlossenheit und die Arbeit Wolperts an den Grenzen der Berechnung. Zusammengefasst: The Universe According to Brooklyn---Good Science, Not So Good Philosophy. Wer aus der modernen zweisystems-Sichteinen umfassenden, aktuellen Rahmen für menschliches Verhalten wünscht, kann mein Buch "The Logical Structure of Philosophy, Psychology, Mindand Language in Ludwig Wittgenstein and John Searle' 2nd ed (2019) konsultieren. Diejenigen,die sich für mehr meiner Schriften interessieren, können 'Talking Monkeys--Philosophie, Psychologie, Wissenschaft, Religion und Politik auf einem verdammten Planeten --Artikel und Rezensionen 2006-2019 3rd ed (2019) und Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st Century 4th ed (2019) und andere sehen. (shrink)
Eu dou uma revisão detalhada de "os limites exteriores da razão" por Noson Yanofsky de uma perspectiva unificada de Wittgenstein e psicologia evolutiva. Eu indico que a dificuldade com tais questões como paradoxo na linguagem e matemática, incompletude, undecidabilidade, computabilidade, o cérebro eo universo como computadores, etc., todos surgem a partir da falta de olhar atentamente para o nosso uso da linguagem no apropriado contexto e, consequentemente, a falta de separar questões de fato científico a partir de questões de como (...) a linguagem funciona. Discuto os pontos de vista de Wittgenstein sobre incompletude, paraconsistência e indecidabilidade e o trabalho de Wolpert sobre os limites para a computação. Para resumir: o universo de acordo com o Brooklyn---boa ciência, não tão boa filosofia. Aqueles que desejam um quadro até à data detalhado para o comportamento humano da opinião moderna dos dois sistemas consultar meu livros Falando Macacos 3ª Ed (2019), A Estrutura Lógica da Filosofia, Psicologia, Mente e Linguagem em Ludwig Wittgenstein e John Searle 2a Ed (2019), Suicídio Pela Democracia,4aEd(2019), Entendendo as Conexões entre Ciência, Filosofia, Psicologia, Religião, Política e Economia Artigos e Análises 2006-2019 (2019), Ilusões Utópicas Suicidas no 21St século 5a Ed (2019), A Estrutura Lógica do Comportamento Humano (2019), e A Estrutura Lógica da Consciência (2019) y outras. (shrink)
This paper shows how the classical finite probability theory (with equiprobable outcomes) can be reinterpreted and recast as the quantum probability calculus of a pedagogical or toy model of quantum mechanics over sets (QM/sets). There have been several previous attempts to develop a quantum-like model with the base field of ℂ replaced by ℤ₂. Since there are no inner products on vector spaces over finite fields, the problem is to define the Dirac brackets and the probability calculus. The previous attempts (...) all required the brackets to take values in ℤ₂. But the usual QM brackets <ψ|ϕ> give the "overlap" between states ψ and ϕ, so for subsets S,T⊆U, the natural definition is <S|T>=|S∩T| (taking values in the natural numbers). This allows QM/sets to be developed with a full probability calculus that turns out to be a non-commutative extension of classical Laplace-Boole finite probability theory. The pedagogical model is illustrated by giving simple treatments of the indeterminacy principle, the double-slit experiment, Bell's Theorem, and identical particles in QM/Sets. A more technical appendix explains the mathematics behind carrying some vector space structures between QM over ℂ and QM/Sets over ℤ₂. (shrink)
The notion of equality between two observables will play many important roles in foundations of quantum theory. However, the standard probabilistic interpretation based on the conventional Born formula does not give the probability of equality between two arbitrary observables, since the Born formula gives the probability distribution only for a commuting family of observables. In this paper, quantum set theory developed by Takeuti and the present author is used to systematically extend the standard probabilistic interpretation of quantum theory to define (...) the probability of equality between two arbitrary observables in an arbitrary state. We apply this new interpretation to quantum measurement theory, and establish a logical basis for the difference between simultaneous measurability and simultaneous determinateness. (shrink)
La mécanique quantique est une théorie physique contemporaine réputée pour ses défis au sens commun et ses paradoxes. Depuis bientôt un siècle, plusieurs interprétations de la théorie ont été proposées par les physiciens et les philosophes, offrant des images quantiques du monde, ou des métaphysiques, radicalement différentes. L'existence d'un hasard fondamental, ou d'une multitude de mondes en-dehors du nôtre, dépend ainsi de l'interprétation adoptée. Cet article, en s'appuyant sur le livre Boyer-Kassem (2015), Qu'est-ce que la mécanique quantique ?, présente trois (...) principales interprétations quantiques, empiriquement équivalentes : l'interprétation dite orthodoxe, l'interprétation de Bohm, et l'interprétation des mondes multiples. (shrink)
La mécanique quantique est une théorie physique contemporaine réputée pour ses défis au sens commun et ses paradoxes. Depuis bientôt un siècle, plusieurs interprétations de la théorie ont été proposées par les physiciens et les philosophes, offrant des images quantiques du monde, ou des ontologies, radicalement différentes. L'existence d'un hasard fondamental, ou d'une multitude de mondes en-dehors du nôtre, dépend ainsi de l'interprétation adoptée. Après avoir discuté de la définition de l'interprétation d'une théorie physique, ce livre présente trois principales interprétations (...) quantiques, empiriquement équivalentes : l'interprétation dite orthodoxe, l'interprétation de Bohm, et l'interprétation des mondes multiples. Des textes d'Albert & Galchen, ainsi que de Mermin, présentent le concept de non-localité et invitent à une analyse de l'argument d'Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen et du théorème de Bell. (shrink)
We distinguish three qualitatively different types of uncertainty—ethical, option and state space uncertainty—that are distinct from state uncertainty, the empirical uncertainty that is typically measured by a probability function on states of the world. Ethical uncertainty arises if the agent cannot assign precise utilities to consequences. Option uncertainty arises when the agent does not know what precise consequence an act has at every state. Finally, state space uncertainty exists when the agent is unsure how to construct an exhaustive state space. (...) These types of uncertainty are characterised along three dimensions—nature, object and severity—and the relationship between them is examined. We conclude that these different forms of uncertainty cannot be reduced to empirical uncertainty about the state of the world without inducing an increase in its severity. (shrink)
We revisit Heisenberg indeterminacy principle in the light of the Galois–Grothendieck theory for the case of finite abelian Galois extensions. In this restricted framework, the Galois–Grothendieck duality between finite K-algebras split by a Galois extension \ and finite \\) -sets can be reformulated as a Pontryagin duality between two abelian groups. We define a Galoisian quantum model in which the Heisenberg indeterminacy principle can be understood as a manifestation of a Galoisian duality: the larger the group of automorphisms \ of (...) the states in a G-set \ , the smaller the “conjugate” algebra of observables that can be consistently evaluated on such states. Finally, we argue that states endowed with a group of automorphisms \ can be interpreted as squeezed coherent states, i.e. as states that minimize the Heisenberg indeterminacy relations. (shrink)
Im ersten Teil verorte ich den historischen Kontext des Umbruchprozesses der Wissenschaft des 19. Jahrhunderts im Hinblick auf die Physik. Vom Beginn der Neuzeit bis weit ins 20. Jahrhundert hinein war die Physik die Leitwissenschaft in den Naturwissenschaften. Der Wandlungsprozess der auf sie bezogenen Wissenschaftsauffassungen setzt im 19. Jahrhundert bislang unangetastete, von der Antike herrührende Geltungsansprüche außer Kraft. Im zweiten Teil vergleiche ich Nietzsches Charakterisierung der Wissenschaften exemplarisch mit der von Hermann von Helmholtz. Helmholtz kann als ein herausragender Vertreter der (...) Naturforschung des 19. Jahrhunderts angesehen werden. Er entwickelte seine erste bahnbrechende wissenschaftliche Leistung noch ganz im Rahmen einer auf Wahrheit und Einheit fokussierten Wissenschaftsauffassung. Im Verlauf seiner weiteren Arbeiten relativierten sich seine Geltungsansprüche zunehmend. In systematischer Hinsicht näherte sich Helmholtz damit nicht nur der Position an, die Nietzsche immer schon eingenommen hat, sondern er übertraf sie sogar in bestimmter Hinsicht. -/- Im dritten Teil setze ich mich kritisch mit einem Aspekt der Rezeption des historischen Verhältnisses von Nietzsche und Helmholtz auseinander. Helmholtz gehörte zu den wenigen repräsentativen Naturwissenschaftlern, von denen man annimmt, dass ihre Forschungen auf das Denken Nietzsches Einfluss hatten. Bemerkenswerterweise stammen die betreffenden Arbeiten aus der ersten Phase von Helmholtz’ Wissenschaftsauffassung. Während Helmholtz mit seinen Forschungen einen traditionellen Wahrheitsanspruch bestätigt sah, bezog sich Nietzsche auf sie, um sie umgekehrt zur Destruktion dieses Anspruches einzusetzen. Wo der Rezeption diese Konstellation entgangen ist, hat sie dazu beigetragen, die Aktualität von Nietzsches Wissenschaftskritik zu überschätzen. (shrink)
The notion of uncertainty in the description of a physical system has assumed prodigious importance in the development of quantum theory. Overcoming the early misunderstanding and confusion, the concept grew continuously and still remains an active and fertile research field. Curious new insights and correlations are gained and developed in the process with the introduction of new ‘measures’ of uncertainty or indeterminacy and the development of quantum measurement theory. In this article we intend to reach a fairly uptodate status report (...) of this yet unfurling concept and its interrelation with some distinctive quantum features like nonlocality, steering and entanglement/inseparability. Some recent controversies are discussed and the grey areas are mentioned. (shrink)
Quantum blobs are the smallest phase space units of phase space compatible with the uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics and having the symplectic group as group of symmetries. Quantum blobs are in a bijective correspondence with the squeezed coherent states from standard quantum mechanics, of which they are a phase space picture. This allows us to propose a substitute for phase space in quantum mechanics. We study the relationship between quantum blobs with a certain class of level sets defined by (...) Fermi for the purpose of representing geometrically quantum states. (shrink)
The paper is devoted to an analysis of the epistemology of Johannes Volkelt, its main arguments and the relation of Volkelt's theory of certainty to Kant and other contemporary philosophers, such as Edmund Husserl. Volkelt's problem of scepticism is closely related to the positivist principle, which aimed at limiting all knowledge to our individual sphere of representations. This principle in Kant's Critique of Pure Reason means the unknowableness of the thing in itself. Volkelt seeks for answer to the question about (...) the trans-subjective knowledge. He finds a basis for the certainty in the dispresuppositional theory of the transsubjective minimum. The acceptance of the trans-subjective minimum determines too the possibility of metaphysics. (shrink)
We consider the possibility that the relative phase in quantum mechanics plays a role in determining measurement outcome and could therefore serve as a “hidden” variable. The Born rule for measurement equates the probability for a given outcome with the absolute square of the coefficient of the basis state, which by design removes the relative phase from the formulation. The value of this phase at the moment of measurement naturally averages out in an ensemble, which would prevent any dependence from (...) being observed, and we show that conventional frequency-spectroscopy measurements on discrete quantum systems cannot be imposed at a specific phase due to a straightforward uncertainty relation. We lay out general conditions for imposing measurements at a specific value of the relative phase so that the possibility of its role as a hidden variable can be tested, and we discuss implementation for the specific case of an atomic two-state system with laser-induced fluorescence for measurement. (shrink)
Prologue: Stormclouds : London, April 1900 -- Quantum of action: The most strenuous work of my life : Berlin, December 1900 ; Annus Mirabilis : Bern, March 1905 ; A little bit of reality : Manchester, April 1913 ; la Comédie Française : Paris, September 1923 ; A strangely beautiful interior : Helgoland, June 1925 ; The self-rotating electron : Leiden, November 1925 ; A late erotic outburst : Swiss Alps, Christmas 1925 -- Quantum interpretation: Ghost field : Oxford, August (...) 1926 ; All this damned quantum jumping : Copenhagen, October 1926 ; The uncertainty principle : Copenhagen, February 1927 ; The 'Kopenhagener geist' : Copenhagen, June 1927 ; There is no quantum world : Lake Como, September 1927 -- Quantum debate: The debate commences : Brussels, October 1927 ; An absolute wonder : Cambridge, Christmas 1927 ; The photon box : Brussels, October 1930 ; A bolt from the blue : Princeton, May 1935 ; The paradox of Schrödinger's cat : Oxford, August 1935 -- Interlude: The first war of physics : Christmas 1938-August 1945 -- Quantum fields: Shelter Island : Long Island, June 1947 ; Pictorial semi-vision thing : New York, January 1949 ; A beautiful idea : Princeton, February 1954 ; Some strangeness in the proportion : Rochester, August 1960 ; Three quarks for Muster Mark! : New York, March 1963 ; The 'God particle' : Cambridge, Massachusetts, Autumn 1967 -- Quantum particles: Deep inelastic scattering : Stanford, August 1968 ; Of charm and weak neutral currents : Harvard, February 1970 ; The magic of colour : Princeton/Harvard, April 1973 ; The November revolution : Long Island/Stanford, November 1974 ; Intermediate vector bosons : Geneva, January/June 1983 ; The standard model : Geneva, September 2003 -- Quantum reality: Hidden variable : Princeton, Spring 1951 ; Bertlmann's socks : Boston, September 1964 ; The Aspect experiments : Paris, September 1982 ; The quantum eraser : Baltimore, January 1999 ; Lab cats : Stony Brook/Delft, July 2000 ; The persistent illusion : Vienna, December 2006 -- Quantum cosmology: The wavefunction of the universe : Princeton, July 1966 ; Hawking radiation : Oxford, February 1974 ; The first superstring revolution : Aspen, August 1984 ; Quanta of space and time : Santa Barbara, February 1986 ; Crisis? What crisis? : Durham, Summer 1994 -- A quantum of solace? : Geneva, March 2010. (shrink)
The paper revisits the old controversy over causality and determinism and argues, in the first place, that non˗deterministic theories of modern science are largely irrelevant to the philosophical issue of the causality principle. As it seems to be the ‘moral’ of the uncertainty principle, the reason why a deterministic theory cannot be applied to the description of certain physical systems is that it is impossible to capture such properties of the system, which are required by a desired theory. These properties (...) constitute what is called ‘the state’ of a system. However, the notion of a state of a system is relative: it depends on a particular theory which one would like to use to describe given kinds of phenomena. This implies that, even in the case where the desired state of a system is fundamentally impossible to be captured, neither ontological nor epistemological determinism may be excluded. Some following critical considerations are also offered with regard to the claim that uncertainty is “rooted in the things themselves”. The cradle of modern discussions about causality and determinism is, of course, quantum mechanics. Because, as it appears, a judgment on deterministic or non˗deterministic character of a theory can be made only after some interpretation of this theory has been given, the paper briefly reminds some chosen interpretations of quantum mechanics (Schrödinger's, probabilistic, statistical, Copenhagen, and the interpretation of quantum ensembles). Many of such interpretations, offered in the past, have now been rejected, and some gained more credibility than the others. Nonetheless, even the claim that indeterminism is irremovable from the description of the micro-world doesn't imply the rejection of the most general formula of the philosophical causality principle. There is no direct implication between theses of the epistemology of scientific knowledge and those of the ontology of the real world. (shrink)
q-derivatives are part of so called quantum calculus. In this paper we investigate how such derivatives can possibly be used in Itô’s lemma. This leads us to consider how such derivatives can be used in a social science setting. We conclude that in a Itô Lemma setting we cannot use a macroscopic version of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle with q-derivatives.
Tomographic approach to describing both the states in classical statistical mechanics and the states in quantum mechanics using the fair probability distributions is reviewed. The entropy associated with the probability distribution (tomographic entropy) for classical and quantum systems is studied. The experimental possibility to check the inequalities like the position–momentum uncertainty relations and entropic uncertainty relations are considered.
The recently established universal uncertainty principle revealed that two nowhere commuting observables can be measured simultaneously in some state, whereas they have no joint probability distribution in any state. Thus, one measuring apparatus can simultaneously measure two observables that have no simultaneous reality. In order to reconcile this discrepancy, an approach based on quantum logic is proposed to establish the relation between quantum reality and measurement. We provide a language speaking of values of observables independent of measurement based on quantum (...) logic and we construct in this language the state-dependent notions of joint determinateness, value identity, and simultaneous measurability. This naturally provides a contextual interpretation, in which we can safely claim such a statement that one measuring apparatus measures one observable in one context and simultaneously it measures another nowhere commuting observable in another incompatible context. (shrink)
The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics assumes the existence of the classical deterministic Newtonian world. We argue that in fact the Newton determinism in classical world does not hold and in the classical mechanics there is fundamental and irreducible randomness. The classical Newtonian trajectory does not have a direct physical meaning since arbitrary real numbers are not observable. There are classical uncertainty relations: Δq>0 and Δp>0, i.e. the uncertainty (errors of observation) in the determination of coordinate and momentum is always (...) positive (non zero).A “functional” formulation of classical mechanics was suggested. The fundamental equation of the microscopic dynamics in the functional approach is not the Newton equation but the Liouville equation for the distribution function of the single particle. Solutions of the Liouville equation have the property of delocalization which accounts for irreversibility. The Newton equation in this approach appears as an approximate equation describing the dynamics of the average values of the position and momenta for not too long time intervals. Corrections to the Newton trajectories are computed. An interpretation of quantum mechanics is attempted in which both classical and quantum mechanics contain fundamental randomness. Instead of an ensemble of events one introduces an ensemble of observers. (shrink)
A growing number of commentators have, in recent years, noted the important affinities in the views of Immanuel Kant and Niels Bohr. While these commentators are correct, the picture they present of the connections between Bohr and Kant is painted in broad strokes; it is open to the criticism that these affinities are merely superficial. In this essay, I provide a closer, structural, analysis of both Bohr's and Kant's views that makes these connections more explicit. In particular, I demonstrate the (...) similarities between Bohr's argument, on the one hand, that neither the wave nor the particle description of atomic phenomena pick out an object in the ordinary sense of the word, and Kant's requirement, on the other hand, that both ‘mathematical’ (having to do with magnitude) and ‘dynamical’ (having to do with an object's interaction with other objects) principles must be applicable to appearances in order for us to determine them as objects of experience. I argue that Bohr's ‘complementarity interpretation’ of quantum mechanics, which views atomic objects as idealizations, and which licenses the repeal of the principle of causality for the domain of atomic physics, is perfectly compatible with, and indeed follows naturally from a broadly Kantian epistemological framework. (shrink)
There has been recent interest in formulating theories of non-representational indeterminacy. The aim of this paper is to clarify the relevance of quantum mechanics to this project. Quantum-mechanical examples of vague objects have been offered by various authors, displaying indeterminate identity, in the face of the famous Evans argument that such an idea is incoherent. It has also been suggested that the quantum-mechanical treatment of state-dependent properties exhibits metaphysical indeterminacy. In both cases it is important to consider the details of (...) the metaphysical account and the way in which the quantum phenomenon is captured within it. Indeed if we adopt a familiar way of thinking about indeterminacy and apply it in a natural way to quantum mechanics, we run into illuminating difficulties and see that the case is far less straightforward than might be hoped. (shrink)
We propose a new approach to describe quantum mechanics as a manifestation of non-Euclidean geometry. In particular, we construct a new geometrical space that we shall call Qwist. A Qwist space has a extra scalar degree of freedom that ultimately will be identified with quantum effects. The geometrical properties of Qwist allow us to formulate a geometrical version of the uncertainty principle. This relativistic uncertainty relation unifies the position-momentum and time-energy uncertainty principles in a unique relation that recover both of (...) them in the non-relativistic limit. (shrink)
This paper summarizes my contributions to a talk with the above title given together with Jeffrey Schwartz at UCSF Cole Hall, May 5, 2009, to an audience of research post-doctoral fellows. The full presentation is available at URL saa49.ucsf.edu/psa/themind.wmv.
We show that the strong form of Heisenberg’s inequalities due to Robertson and Schrödinger can be formally derived using only classical considerations. This is achieved using a statistical tool known as the “minimum volume ellipsoid” together with the notion of symplectic capacity, which we view as a topological measure of uncertainty invariant under Hamiltonian dynamics. This invariant provides a right measurement tool to define what “quantum scale” is. We take the opportunity to discuss the principle of the symplectic camel, which (...) is at the origin of the definition of symplectic capacities, and which provides an interesting link between classical and quantum physics. (shrink)
We propose a conceptual framework for understanding the relationship between observables and operators in mechanics. To do so, we introduce a postulate that establishes a correspondence between the objective properties permitting to identify physical states and the symmetry transformations that modify their gauge dependant properties. We show that the uncertainty principle results from a faithful—or equivariant—realization of this correspondence. It is a consequence of the proposed postulate that the quantum notion of objective physical states is not incomplete, but rather that (...) the classical notion is overdetermined. (shrink)
Gregor Schiemann führt allgemeinverständlich in das Denken dieses Physikers ein. Thema sind die Erfahrungen und Überlegungen, die Heisenberg zu seinen theoretischen Erkenntnissen geführt haben, die wesentlichen Inhalte dieser Erkenntnisse sowie die Konsequenzen, die er daraus für die Geschichte der Physik und das wissenschaftliche Weltbild gezogen hat. Heisenbergs Vorstellungswelt durchzieht durch ein Spannungsverhältnis, das heute noch das Denken vieler Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler bewegt. Er ist um ein umfassendes Verständnis der Naturprozesse bemüht, zugleich aber von der Berechenbarkeit und Beherrschbarkeit von Phänomenen auch (...) dann schon fasziniert, wenn die zugrunde liegenden Prozesse erst teilweise verstanden sind. Aus der Geschichte der Physik zieht er die wirkungsreiche Lehre, daß sich die naturwissenschaftliche Erkenntnis nicht kontinuierlich, sondern sprunghaft in Form von Revolutionen entwickelt. Die Reichweite des physikalischen Wissens begrenzt er in einer Schichtentheorie der Welt, nach der die komplexen Phänomene des Lebens nicht allein durch die Wechselwirkungen zwischen ihren Bestandteilen erklärt werden können. Der zunehmenden Technisierung der Welt steht Heisenberg kritisch gegenüber. Seiner Zeit weit voraus, glaubt er, daß die Technisierung der Welt eine epochal neue Stufe erreicht habe, in der der Mensch „nur noch sich selbst“ gegenüberstehe. (shrink)
In this work I propose an analogy between Pythagoras's theorem and the logical-formal structure of Werner Heisenberg's "relations of uncertainty." The reasons that they have pushed to me to place this analogy have been determined from the following ascertainment: Often, when in exact sciences a problem of measurement precision arises, it has been resolved with the resource of the elevation to the square. To me it seems also that the aporie deriving from the uncertainty principle can find one solution with (...) the resource to this stratagem. In fact, if the first classic example of the argument is the solution of the incommensurability between catheti and the hypotenuse of the triangle rectangle, one of the last cases is that which is represented from Heisenberg's principle of uncertainty. (shrink)
The Einstein-Rupp experiments were proposed in 1926 by Albert Einstein to study the wave versus particle nature of light. Einstein presented a theoretical analysis of these experiments to the Berlin Academy together with results of Emil Rupp, who claimed to have successfully carried them out. However, as the preceding paper has shown, Rupp's success was the result of scientiﬁc fraud. This paper will argue, after exploring their interpretation, that the experiments were a relevant part of the background to such celebrated (...) contributions to quantum mechanics as Born’s statistical interpretation of the wave function and Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. Yet, the Einstein-Rupp experiments have hardly received attention in the history of quantum mechanics literature. In part, this is a consequence of self-censorship in the physics community, enforced in the wake of the Rupp affair. Self-censorship among historians of physics may however also have played a role. (shrink)
Quantum theory is one the most important and successful theories of modern physical science. It has been estimated that its principles form the basis for about 30 per cent of the world's manufacturing economy. This is all the more remarkable because quantum theory is a theory that nobody understands. The meaning of Quantum Theory introduces science students to the theory's fundamental conceptual and philosophical problems, and the basis of its non-understandability. It does this with the barest minimum of jargon and (...) very little mathematics in the main text. Readers wishing to delve more deeply into the theory's mathematical subtleties can do so in an extended series of appendices. The book brings the reader up to date with the results of new experimental tests of quantum weirdness and reviews the latest thinking on alternative interpretations, the frontiers of quantum cosmology, quantum gravity and potential application of this weirdness in computing, cryptography and teleportation. (shrink)
This book comprises all of John Bell's published and unpublished papers in the field of quantum mechanics, including two papers that appeared after the first edition was published. It also contains a preface written for the first edition, and an introduction by Alain Aspect that puts into context Bell's great contribution to the quantum philosophy debate. One of the leading expositors and interpreters of modern quantum theory, John Bell played a major role in the development of our current understanding of (...) the profound nature of quantum concepts. First edition Hb (1987): 0-521-33495-0 First edition Pb (1988): 0-521-36869-3. (shrink)
Unlike almost all other philosophers of science, Karl Popper sought to contribute to natural philosophy or cosmology – a synthesis of science and philosophy. I consider his contributions to the philosophy of science and quantum theory in this light. There is, however, a paradox. Popper’s most famous contribution – his principle of demarcation – in driving a wedge between science and metaphysics, serves to undermine the very thing he professes to love: natural philosophy. I argue that Popper’s philosophy of science (...) is, in this respect, defective. Science cannot proceed without making highly problematic metaphysical assumptions concerning the comprehensibility and knowability of the universe. Precisely because these assumptions are problematic, rigour requires that they be subjected to sustained critical scrutiny, as an integral part of science itself. Popper’s principle of demarcation must be rejected. Metaphysics and philosophy of science become a vital part of science. Natural philosophy is reborn. A solution to the problem of what it means to say a theory is unified is proposed, a problem Popper failed to solve. In The Logic of Scientific Discovery, Popper made important contributions to the interpretation of quantum theory, especially in connection with Heisenberg's uncertainty relations. Popper's advocacy of natural philosophy has important implications for education. (shrink)
A central issue of cognitive neuroscience is to understand how a large collection of coupled neurons combines external signals with internal memories into new coherent patterns of meaning. An external stimulus localized at some input spreads over a large assembly of coupled neurons, building up a collective state univocally corresponding to the stimulus. Thus, the synchronization of spike trains of many individual neurons is the basis of a coherent perception. Based on recent investigations of homoclinic chaotic systems and their synchronization, (...) a novel conjecture for the dynamics of single neurons and, consequently, for neuron assemblies is formulated. Homoclinic chaos is proposed as a suitable way to code information in time by trains of equal spikes occurring at apparently erratic times. In order to classify the set of different perceptions, the percept space can be given a metric structure by introducing a distance measure between distinct percepts. The distance in percept space is conjugate to the duration of the perception in the sense that an uncertainty relation in percept space is associated with time-limited perceptions. This coding of different percepts by synchronized spike trains entails fundamental quantum features which are not restricted to microscopic phenomena. It is conjectured that they are related to the details of the perceptual chain rather than depending on Planck's action. (shrink)
Recent years saw the rise of an interest in the roles and significance of thought experiments in different areas of human thinking. Heisenberg's gamma ray microscope is no doubt one of the most famous examples of a thought experiment in physics. Nevertheless, this particular thought experiment has not received much detailed attention in the philosophical literature on thought experiments up to date, maybe because of its often claimed inadequacies. In this paper, I try to do two things: to provide an (...) interesting interpretation of the roles played by Heisenberg's gamma ray microscope in interpreting quantum mechanics – partly based on Thomas Kuhn’s views on the function of thought experiments – and to contribute to the ongoing discussions on the roles and significance of thought experiments in physics. (shrink)
It is shown that if mental influence can change a position or momentum coordinate within the limits of the uncertainty principle, such change, when magnified by a single interaction, is sufficient to order the direction of traveling molecules. Mental influence could initiate an action potential in the brain through this process by using the impact of ordered molecules to open the gates of sodium channels in neuronal membranes. It is shown that about 80 ordered molecules, traveling at thermal velocity in (...) the intercellular medium in the brain, can break an ionic or covalent bond, and that the number needed to initiate an action potential is relatively small. If mental influence can act within the brain, it is reasonable to suppose it can act to some extent outside of it. If mental influence could not only order the direction of individual molecules, but coordinate this effect to produce a longitudinal pressure wave which is reasonably coherent across a macroscopic surface, only 10^4 molecules need be simultaneously affected to produce a detectible sound wave. Such an effect is not ordinarily observed, which suggests that if mental influence acts by ordering the direction of molecules, it acts at the level of individual molecules, but does not coordinate their motion. (shrink)
Time is often said to play in quantum mechanics an essentially different role from position: whereas position is represented by a Hermitian operator, time is represented by a c-number. This discrepancy has been found puzzling and has given rise to a vast literature and many efforts at a solution. In this paper it is argued that the discrepancy is only apparent and that there is nothing in the formalism of quantum mechanics that forces us to treat position and time differently. (...) The apparent problem is caused by the dominant role point particles play in physics and can be traced back to classical mechanics. (shrink)