This document is a set of notes I took on QFT as a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, mainly inspired in lectures by Burt Ovrut, but also working through Peskin and Schroeder (1995), as well as David Tong’s lecture notes available online. They take a slow pedagogical approach to introducing classical field theory, Noether’s theorem, the principles of quantum mechanics, scattering theory, and culminating in the derivation of Feynman diagrams.
We review a recent approach to the foundations of quantum mechanics inspired by quantum information theory. The approach is based on a general framework, which allows one to address a large class of physical theories which share basic information-theoretic features. We first illustrate two very primitive features, expressed by the axioms of causality and purity-preservation, which are satisfied by both classical and quantum theory. We then discuss the axiom of purification, which expresses a strong version of (...) the Conservation of Information and captures the core of a vast number of protocols in quantum information. Purification is a highly non-classical feature and leads directly to the emergence of entanglement at the purely conceptual level, without any reference to the superposition principle. Supplemented by a few additional requirements, satisfied by classical and quantum theory, it provides a complete axiomatic characterization of quantum theory for finite dimensional systems. (shrink)
A non-relativistic quantum mechanical theory is proposed that describes the universe as a continuum of worlds whose mutual interference gives rise to quantum phenomena. A logical framework is introduced to properly deal with propositions about objects in a multiplicity of worlds. In this logical framework, the continuum of worlds is treated in analogy to the continuum of time points; both “time” and “world” are considered as mutually independent modes of existence. The theory combines elements of Bohmian mechanics and (...) of Everett’s many-worlds interpretation; it has a clear ontology and a set of precisely defined postulates from where the predictions of standard quantum mechanics can be derived. Probability as given by the Born rule emerges as a consequence of insufficient knowledge of observers about which world it is that they live in. The theory describes a continuum of worlds rather than a single world or a discrete set of worlds, so it is similar in spirit to many-worlds interpretations based on Everett’s approach, without being actually reducible to these. In particular, there is no splitting of worlds, which is a typical feature of Everett-type theories. Altogether, the theory explains (1) the subjective occurrence of probabilities, (2) their quantitative value as given by the Born rule, and (3) the apparently random “collapse of the wavefunction” caused by the measurement, while still being an objectively deterministic theory. (shrink)
The most part of the debates on Quantum Mechanics (QM) interpretation come out from the remains of a classical language based upon waves and particles. Such problems can find a decisive clarification in Quantum Field Theory (QFT), where the concept of “classical object” is replaced by an interaction networks. On the other hand, it is simpler to discuss about non-locality in QM than in QFT. We propose here the concept of transaction as a connection between theQM and QFT (...) language as well as the possibility to introduce quantum non-locality ab initio.We also mention the cosmological consequence of a non-local archaic vacuum here defined. (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 (...) class='Hi'>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)
We review our approach to quantum mechanics adding also some new interesting results. We start by giving proof of two important theorems on the existence of the A(Si) and i,±1 N Clifford algebras. This last algebra gives proof of the von Neumann basic postulates on the quantum measurement explaining thus in an algebraic manner the wave function collapse postulated in standard quantum theory. In this manner we reach the objective to expose a self-consistent version of quantum (...) mechanics. In detail we realize a bare bone skeleton of quantum mechanics recovering all the basic foundations of this theory on an algebraic framework. We give proof of the quantum like Heisenberg uncertainty relations using only the basic support of the Clifford algebra. In addition we demonstrate the well known phenomenon of quantum Mach Zender interference using the same algebraic framework, as well as we give algebraic proof of quantum collapse in some cases of physical interest by direct application of the theorem that we derive to elaborate the i,±1 N algebra. We also discuss the problem of time evolution of quantum systems as well as the changes in space location, in momentum and the linked invariance principles. We are also able to re-derive the basic wave function of standard quantum mechanics by using only the Clifford algebraic approach. In this manner we obtain a full exposition of standard quantum mechanics using only the basic axioms of Clifford algebra. We also discuss more advanced features of quantum mechanics. In detail, we give demonstration of the Kocken-Specher theorem, and also we give an algebraic formulation and explanation of the EPR paradox only using the Clifford algebra. By using the same approach we also derive Bell inequalities. Our formulation is strongly based on the use of idempotents that are contained in Clifford algebra. Their counterpart in quantum mechanics is represented by the projection operators that, as it is well known, are interpreted as logical statements, following the basic von Neumann results. Von Neumann realized a matrix logic on the basis of quantum mechanics. Using the Clifford algebra we are able to invert such result. According to the results previously obtained by Orlov in 1994, we are able to give proof that quantum mechanics derives from logic. We show that indeterminism and quantum interference have their origin in the logic. Therefore, it seems that we may conclude that quantum mechanics, as it appears when investigated by the Clifford algebra, is a two-faced theory in the sense that it looks from one side to “matter per se”, thus to objects but simultaneously also to conceptual entities. We advance the basic conclusion of the paper: There are stages of our reality in which we no more can separate the logic ( and thus cognition and thus conceptual entity) from the features of “matter per se”. In quantum mechanics the logic, and thus the cognition and thus the conceptual entity-cognitive performance, assume the same importance as the features of what is being described. We are at levels of reality in which the truths of logical statements about dynamic variables become dynamic variables themselves so that a profound link is established from its starting in this theory between physics and conceptual entities. Finally, in this approach there is not an absolute definition of logical truths. Transformations , and thus … “redefinitions”…. of truth values are permitted in such scheme as well as the well established invariance principles, clearly indicate . (shrink)
An account is given of a recent proposal to complete modern quantum theory by adding a characterisation of consciousness. The resulting theory is applied to give mechanisms for typical parapsychological phenomena, and ways of testing it are discussed.
This work is a conceptual analysis of certain recent developments in the mathematical foundations of Classical and Quantum Mechanics which have allowed to formulate both theories in a common language. From the algebraic point of view, the set of observables of a physical system, be it classical or quantum, is described by a Jordan-Lie algebra. From the geometric point of view, the space of states of any system is described by a uniform Poisson space with transition probability. (...) Both these structures are here perceived as formal translations of the fundamental twofold role of properties in Mechanics: they are at the same time quantities and transformations. The question becomes then to understand the precise articulation between these two roles. The analysis will show that Quantum Mechanics can be thought as distinguishing itself from Classical Mechanics by a compatibility condition between properties-as-quantities and properties-as-transformations. -/- Moreover, this dissertation shows the existence of a tension between a certain "abstract way" of conceiving mathematical structures, used in the practice of mathematical physics, and the necessary capacity to specify particular states or observables. It then becomes important to understand how, within the formalism, one can construct a labelling scheme. The “Chase for Individuation” is the analysis of different mathematical techniques which attempt to overcome this tension. In particular, we discuss how group theory furnishes a partial solution. (shrink)
This report reviews what quantum physics and information theory have to tell us about the age-old question, How come existence? No escape is evident from four conclusions: (1) The world cannot be a giant machine, ruled by any preestablished continuum physical law. (2) There is no such thing at the microscopic level as space or time or spacetime continuum. (3) The familiar probability function or functional, and wave equation or functional wave equation, of standard quantum theory provide mere (...) continuum idealizations and by reason of this circumstance conceal the information-theoretic source from which they derive. (4) No element in the description of physics shows itself as closer to primordial than the elementary quantum phenomenon, that is, the elementary device-intermediated act of posing a yes-no physical question and eliciting an answer or, in brief, the elementary act of observer-participancy. Otherwise stated, every physical quantity, every it, derives its ultimate significance from bits, binary yes-or-no indications, a conclusion which we epitomize in the phrase, it from bit. (shrink)
I offer an account of how the quantum theory we have helps us explain so much. The account depends on a pragmatist interpretation of the theory: this takes a quantum state to serve as a source of sound advice to physically situated agents on the content and appropriate degree of belief about matters concerning which they are currently inevitably ignorant. The general account of how to use quantum states and probabilities to explain otherwise puzzling regularities is then (...) illustrated by showing how we can explain single-particle interference phenomena, the stability of matter, and interference of Bose–Einstein condensates. Finally, I note some open problems and relate this account to alternative approaches to explanation that emphasize the importance of causation, of unification, and of structure. 1 Introduction2 Two Requirements on Explanations in Physics3 What We Can use Quantum Theory to Explain4 The Function of Quantum States and Born Probabilities5 How These Functions Contribute to the Explanatory Task6 Example One: Single-Particle Interference7 Example Two: Explanation of the Stability of Matter8 Example Three: Bose Condensation9 Conclusion. (shrink)
I pedagogically show that the momentum operator in quantum mechanics, in the position representation, commonly known to be a derivative with respect to a spatial x-coordinate, can be derived by identifying momentum as the generator of space translations.
Two radically different views about time are possible. According to the first, the universe is three dimensional. It has a past and a future, but that does not mean it is spread out in time as it is spread out in the three dimensions of space. This view requires that there is an unambiguous, absolute, cosmic-wide "now" at each instant. According to the second view about time, the universe is four dimensional. It is spread out in both space and time (...) - in space-time in short. Special and general relativity rule out the first view. There is, according to relativity theory, no such thing as an unambiguous, absolute cosmic-wide "now" at each instant. However, we have every reason to hold that both special and general relativity are false. Not only does the historical record tell us that physics advances from one false theory to another. Furthermore, elsewhere I have shown that we must interpret physics as having established physicalism - in so far as physics can ever establish anything theoretical. Physicalism, here, is to be interpreted as the thesis that the universe is such that some unified "theory of everything" is true. Granted physicalism, it follows immediately that any physical theory that is about a restricted range of phenomena only, cannot be true, whatever its empirical success may be. It follows that both special and general relativity are false. This does not mean of course that the implication of these two theories that there is no unambiguous cosmic-wide "now" at each instant is false. It still may be the case that the first view of time, indicated at the outset, is false. Are there grounds for holding that an unambiguous cosmic-wide "now" does exist, despite special and general relativity, both of which imply that it does not exist? There are such grounds. Elsewhere I have argued that, in order to solve the quantum wave/particle problem and make sense of the quantum domain we need to interpret quantum theory as a fundamentally probabilistic theory, a theory which specifies how quantum entities - electrons, photons, atoms - interact with one another probabilistically. It is conceivable that this is correct, and the ultimate laws of the universe are probabilistic in character. If so, probabilistic transitions could define unambiguous, absolute cosmic-wide "nows" at each instant. It is entirely unsurprising that special and general relativity have nothing to say about the matter. Both theories are pre-quantum mechanical, classical theories, and general relativity in particular is deterministic. The universe may indeed be three dimensional, with a past and a future, but not spread out in four dimensional space-time, despite the fact that relativity theories appear to rule this out. These considerations, finally, have implications for views about the arrow of time and free will. (shrink)
It is usually taken for granted that orthodox quantum theory poses a serious problem for scientific realism, in that the theory is empirically extraordinarily successful, and yet has instrumentalism built into it. This paper stand this view on its head. I argue that orthodox quantum theory suffers from a number of serious (if not always noticed) defects precisely because of its inbuilt instrumentalism. This defective character of orthdoox quantum theory thus undermines instrumentalism, and supports scientific realism. I (...) go on to consider whether there is here the basis of a general argument against instrumentalism. (shrink)
There is a consistent and simple interpretation of the quantum theory of isolated systems. The interpretation suffers no measurement problem and provides a quantum explanation of state reduction, which is usually postulated. Quantum entanglement plays an essential role in the construction of the interpretation.
In the Critique of Pure Reason Kant argues that the empirical knowledge of the world depends on a priori conditions of human sensibility and understanding, i. e., our capacities of sense experience and concept formation. The objective knowledge presupposes, on one hand, space and time as a priori conditions of sensibility and, on another hand, a priori judgments, like the principle of causality, as constitutive conditions of understanding. The problem is that in the XX century the physical science completely changed (...) how we conceive our knowledge of the world. Face to this new situation, what was changed in our classical reason? However, if the transcendental point of view is adopted, in the specific case of quantum mechanics, we have to wonder about the general conditions of this theory that make possible such knowledge, which predictive value is much more accurate than the classical physics. The aim of this work is firstly to show the Kantian implications on Bohr’s interpretation of quantum phenomena and secondly to provide an overview of the key elements for understanding the transcendental locus of ordinary language in the quantum mechanics context, in order to give support to a transcendental pragmatic position in the analysis of science. (shrink)
This paper centers on the implicit metaphysics beyond the Theory of Relativity and the Principle of Indeterminacy – two revolutionary theories that have changed 20th Century Physics – using the perspective of Husserlian Transcedental Phenomenology. Albert Einstein (1879-1955) and Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976) abolished the theoretical framework of Classical (Galilean- Newtonian) physics that has been complemented, strengthened by Cartesian metaphysics. Rene Descartes (1596- 1850) introduced a separation between subject and object (as two different and self- enclosed substances) while Galileo and Newton (...) did the “mathematization” of the world. Newtonian physics, however, had an inexplicable postulate of absolute space and absolute time – a kind of geometrical framework, independent of all matter, for the explication of locality and acceleration. Thus, Cartesian modern metaphysics and Galilean- Newtonian physics go hand in hand, resulting to socio- ethical problems, materialism and environmental destruction. Einstein got rid of the Newtonian absolutes and was able to provide a new foundation for our notions of space and time: the four (4) dimensional space- time; simultaneity and the constancy of velocity of light, and the relativity of all systems of reference. Heisenberg, following the theory of quanta of Max Planck, told us of our inability to know sub- atomic phenomena and thus, blurring the line between the Cartesian separation of object and subject, hence, initiating the crisis of the foundations of Classical Physics. But the real crisis, according to Edmund Husserl (1859-1930) is that Modern (Classical) Science had “idealized” the world, severing nature from what he calls the Lebenswelt (life- world), the world that is simply there even before it has been reduced to mere mathematical- logical equations. Husserl thus, aims to establish a new science that returns to the “pre- scientific” and “non- mathematized” world of rich and complex phenomena: phenomena as they “appear to human consciousness”. To overcome the Cartesian equation of subject vs. object (man versus environment), Husserl brackets the external reality of Newtonian Science (epoché = to put in brackets, to suspend judgment) and emphasizes (1) the meaning of “world” different from the “world” of Classical Physics, (2) the intentionality of consciousness (L. in + tendere = to tend towards, to be essentially related to or connected to) which means that even before any scientific- logical description of the external reality, there is always a relation already between consciousness and an external reality. The world is the equiprimordial existence of consciousness and of external reality. My paper aims to look at this new science of the pre- idealized phenomena started by Husserl (a science of phenomena as they appear to conscious, human, lived experience, hence he calls it phenomenology), centering on the life- world and the intentionality of consciousness, as providing a new way of looking at ourselves and the world, in short, as providing a new metaphysics (as an antidote to Cartesian metaphysics) that grounds the revolutionary findings of Einstein and Heisenberg. The environmental destruction, technocracy, socio- ethical problems in the modern world are all rooted in this Galilean- Newtonian- Cartesian interpretation of the relationship between humans and the world after the crumbling of European Medieval Ages. Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) comments that the modern world is going toward a nihilism (L. nihil = nothingness) at the turn of the century. Now, after two World Wars and the dropping of Atomic bomb, the capitalism and imperialism on the one hand, and on the other hand the poverty, hunger of the non- industrialized countries alongside destruction of nature (i.e., global warming), Nietzsche might be correct: unless humanity changes the way it looks at humanity and the kosmos. The works of Einstein, Heisenberg and Husserl seem to be pointing the way for us humans to escape nihilism by a “great existential transformation.” What these thinkers of post- modernity (after Cartesian/ Newtonian/ Galilean modernity) point to are: a) a new therapeutic way of looking at ourselves and our world (metaphysics) and b) a new and corrective notion of “rationality” (different from the objectivist, mathematico- logical way of thinking). This paper is divided into four parts: 1) A summary of Classical Physics and a short history of Quantum Theory 2) Einstein’s Special and General Relativity and Heisenberg’s Indeterminacy Principle 3) Husserl’s discussion of the Crisis of Europe, the life- world and intentionality of consciousness 4) A Metaphysics of Relativity and Indeterminacy and a Corrective notion of Rationality in Husserl’s Phenomenology . (shrink)
Entanglement is one of the most striking features of quantum mechanics, and yet it is not specifically quantum. More specific to quantum mechanics is the connection between entanglement and thermodynamics, which leads to an identification between entropies and measures of pure state entanglement. Here we search for the roots of this connection, investigating the relation between entanglement and thermodynamics in the framework of general probabilistic theories. We first address the question whether an entangled state can be transformed (...) into another by means of local operations and classical communication. Under two operational requirements, we prove a general version of the Lo-Popescu theorem, which lies at the foundations of the theory of pure-state entanglement. We then consider a resource theory of purity where free operations are random reversible transformations, modelling the scenario where an agent has limited control over the dynamics of a closed system. Our key result is a duality between the resource theory of entanglement and the resource theory of purity, valid for every physical theory where all processes arise from pure states and reversible interactions at the fundamental level. As an application of the main result, we establish a one-to-one correspondence between entropies and measures of pure bipartite entanglement and exploit it to define entanglement measures in the general probabilistic framework. In addition, we show a duality between the task of information erasure and the task of entanglement generation, whereby the existence of entropy sinks (systems that can absorb arbitrary amounts of information) becomes equivalent to the existence of entanglement sources (correlated systems from which arbitrary amounts of entanglement can be extracted). (shrink)
I look at the distinction between between realist and antirealist views of the quantum state. I argue that this binary classification should be reconceived as a continuum of different views about which properties of the quantum state are representationally significant. What's more, the extreme cases -- all or none --- are simply absurd, and should be rejected by all parties. In other words, no sane person should advocate extreme realism or antirealism about the quantum state. And if (...) we focus on the reasonable views, it's no longer clear who counts as a realist, and who counts as an antirealist. Among those taking a more reasonable intermediate view, we find figures such as Bohr and Carnap -- in stark opposition to the stories we've been told. (shrink)
In this paper I put forward a new micro realistic, fundamentally probabilistic, propensiton version of quantum theory. According to this theory, the entities of the quantum domain - electrons, photons, atoms - are neither particles nor fields, but a new kind of fundamentally probabilistic entity, the propensiton - entities which interact with one another probabilistically. This version of quantum theory leaves the Schroedinger equation unchanged, but reinterprets it to specify how propensitons evolve when no probabilistic transitions occur. (...) Probabilisitic transitions occur when new "particles" are created as a result of inelastic interactions. All measurements are just special cases of this. This propensiton version of quantum theory, I argue, solves the wave/particle dilemma, is free of conceptual problems that plague orthodox quantum theory, recovers all the empirical success of orthodox quantum theory, and at the same time yields as yet untested predictions that differ from those of orthodox quantum theory. (shrink)
A fully micro realistic, propensity version of quantum theory is proposed, according to which fundamental physical entities - neither particles nor fields - have physical characteristics which determine probabilistically how they interact with one another . The version of quantum "smearon" theory proposed here does not modify the equations of orthodox quantum theory: rather, it gives a radically new interpretation to these equations. It is argued that there are strong general reasons for preferring quantum "smearon" theory (...) to orthodox quantum theory; the proposed change in physical interpretation leads quantum "smearon" theory to make experimental predictions subtly different from those of orthodox quantum theory. Some possible crucial experiments are considered. (shrink)
Gravity remains the most elusive field. Its relationship with the electromagnetic field is poorly understood. Relativity and quantum mechanics describe the aforementioned fields, respectively. Bosons and fermions are often credited with responsibility for the interactions of force and matter. It is shown here that fermions factually determine the gravitational structure of the universe, while bosons are responsible for the three established and described forces. Underlying the relationships of the gravitational and electromagnetic fields is a symmetrical probability distribution of fermions (...) and bosons. Werner Heisenberg's assertion that the Schr\'f6dinger wave function and Heisenberg matrices do not describe one thing is confirmed. It is asserted that the conscious observation of Schr\'f6dinger's wave function never causes its collapse, but invariably produces the classical space described by the Heisenberg picture. As a result, the Heisenberg picture can be explained and substantiated only in terms of conscious observation of the Schr\'f6dinger wave function. Schr\'f6dinger\'92s picture is defined as information space, while Heisenberg\'92s picture is defined as classical space. B-theory postulates that although the Schr\'f6dinger picture and the Heisenberg picture are mathematically connected, the former is eternal while the latter is discrete, existing only as the sequence of discrete conscious moments. Inferences related to information-based congruence between physical and mental phenomena have long been discussed in the literature. Moreover, John Wheeler suggested that information is fundamental to the physics of the universe. However, there is a great deal of uncertainty about how the physical and the mental complement each other. Bishop Berkeley and Ernst Mach, to name two who have addressed the subject, simply reject the concept of the material world altogether. Professor Hardy defined physical reality as 'dubious and elusive'. It is proposed in this paper that physical reality, or physical instantiation in the classical space as described by Heisenberg picture is one thing with the consciousness. (shrink)
In the author’s previous contribution to this journal (Rosen 2015), a phenomenological string theory was proposed based on qualitative topology and hypercomplex numbers. The current paper takes this further by delving into the ancient Chinese origin of phenomenological string theory. First, we discover a connection between the Klein bottle, which is crucial to the theory, and the Ho-t’u, a Chinese number archetype central to Taoist cosmology. The two structures are seen to mirror each other in expressing the psychophysical (phenomenological) action (...) pattern at the heart of microphysics. But tackling the question of quantum gravity requires that a whole family of topological dimensions be brought into play. What we find in engaging with these structures is a closely related family of Taoist forebears that, in concert with their successors, provide a blueprint for cosmic evolution. Whereas conventional string theory accounts for the generation of nature’s fundamental forces via a notion of symmetry breaking that is essentially static and thus unable to explain cosmogony successfully, phenomenological/Taoist string theory entails the dialectical interplay of symmetry and asymmetry inherent in the principle of synsymmetry. This dynamic concept of cosmic change is elaborated on in the three concluding sections of the paper. Here, a detailed analysis of cosmogony is offered, first in terms of the theory of dimensional development and its Taoist (yin-yang) counterpart, then in terms of the evolution of the elemental force particles through cycles of expansion and contraction in a spiraling universe. The paper closes by considering the role of the analyst per se in the further evolution of the cosmos. (shrink)
An introduction to the special issue on epistemic logic and the foundations of game theory edited by Michael Bacharach and Philippe Mongin. Contributors are Michael Bacharach, Robert Stalnaker, Salvatore Modica and Aldo Rustichini, Luc Lismont and Philippe Mongin, and Hyun-Song Shin and Timothy Williamson.
In this paper I elicit a prediction from structural realism and compare it, not to a historical case, but to a contemporary scientific theory. If structural realism is correct, then we should expect physics to develop theories that fail to provide an ontology of the sort sought by traditional realists. If structure alone is responsible for instrumental success, we should expect surplus ontology to be eliminated. Quantum field theory (QFT) provides the framework for some of the best confirmed theories (...) in science, but debates over its ontology are vexed. Rather than taking a stand on these matters, the structural realist can embrace QFT as an example of just the kind of theory SR should lead us to expect. Yet, it is not clear that QFT meets the structuralist's positive expectation by providing a structure for the world. In particular, the problem of unitarily inequivalent representations threatens to undermine the possibility of QFT providing a unique structure for the world. In response to this problem, I suggest that the structuralist should endorse pluralism about structure. (shrink)
Relationships between current theories, and relationships between current theories and the sought theory of quantum gravity (QG), play an essential role in motivating the need for QG, aiding the search for QG, and defining what would count as QG. Correspondence is the broad class of inter-theory relationships intended to demonstrate the necessary compatibility of two theories whose domains of validity overlap, in the overlap regions. The variety of roles that correspondence plays in the search for QG are illustrated, using (...) examples from specific QG approaches. Reduction is argued to be a special case of correspondence, and to form part of the definition of QG. Finally, the appropriate account of emergence in the context of QG is presented, and compared to conceptions of emergence in the broader philosophy literature. It is argued that, while emergence is likely to hold between QG and general relativity, emergence is not part of the definition of QG, and nor can it serve usefully in the development and justification of the new theory. (shrink)
The author’s studies in the philosophy of science, culminating in this book, were inspired by his previous research in the domains of classical and quantum gravity. In fact it was the need to bring some order in the family of modern classical theories of gravitation and to build up the appropriate conceptual foundations of quantum gravity , that forced the author to create his own methodological model of theory change, which he applies rather successfully to the most (...) controversial case study, the Lorentz-Einstein transition. (shrink)
Principles are central to physical reasoning, particularly in the search for a theory of quantum gravity (QG), where novel empirical data is lacking. One principle widely adopted in the search for QG is UV completion: the idea that a theory should (formally) hold up to all possible high energies. We argue---/contra/ standard scientific practice---that UV-completion is poorly-motivated as a guiding principle in theory-construction, and cannot be used as a criterion of theory-justification in the search for QG. For this, we (...) explore the reasons for expecting, or desiring, a UV-complete theory, as well as analyse how UV completion is used, and how it should be used, in various specific approaches to QG. (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 are two parts. The notion of an "event" is reinterpreted from being an epistemological state of indefiniteness to being an objective state of indefiniteness. And the mathematical framework of finite probability theory is recast as the quantum probability calculus for QM/sets. The point (...) is not to clarify finite probability theory but to elucidate quantum mechanics itself by seeing some of its quantum features in a classical setting. (shrink)
In the paper we will employ set theory to study the formal aspects of quantum mechanics without explicitly making use of space-time. It is demonstrated that von Neuman and Zermelo numeral sets, previously efectively used in the explanation of Hardy’s paradox, follow a Heisenberg quantum form. Here monadic union plays the role of time derivative. The logical counterpart of monadic union plays the part of the Hamiltonian in the commutator. The use of numerals and monadic union in the (...) classical probability resolution of Hardy’s paradox [1] is supported with the present derivation of a commutator for sets. (shrink)
In this text the ancient philosophical question of determinism (“Does every event have a cause ?”) will be re-examined. In the philosophy of science and physics communities the orthodox position states that the physical world is indeterministic: quantum events would have no causes but happen by irreducible chance. Arguably the clearest theorem that leads to this conclusion is Bell’s theorem. The commonly accepted ‘solution’ to the theorem is ‘indeterminism’, in agreement with the Copenhagen interpretation. Here it is recalled that (...) indeterminism is not really a physical but rather a philosophical hypothesis, and that it has counterintuitive and far-reaching implications. At the same time another solution to Bell’s theorem exists, often termed ‘superdeterminism’ or ‘total determinism’. Superdeterminism appears to be a philosophical position that is centuries and probably millennia old: it is for instance Spinoza’s determinism. If Bell’s theorem has both indeterministic and deterministic solutions, choosing between determinism and indeterminism is a philosophical question, not a matter of physical experimentation, as is widely believed. If it is impossible to use physics for deciding between both positions, it is legitimate to ask which philosophical theories are of help. Here it is argued that probability theory – more precisely the interpretation of probability – is instrumental for advancing the debate. It appears that the hypothesis of determinism allows to answer a series of precise questions from probability theory, while indeterminism remains silent for these questions. From this point of view determinism appears to be the more reasonable assumption, after all. (shrink)
I propose a gentle reconciliation of Quantum Theory and General Relativity. It is possible to add small, but unshackling constraints to the quantum fields, making them compatible with General Relativity. Not all solutions of the Schrodinger's equation are needed. I show that the continuous and spatially separable solutions are sufficient for the nonlocal manifestations associated with entanglement and wavefunction collapse. After extending this idea to quantum fields, I show that Quantum Field Theory can be defined in (...) terms of partitioned classical fields. One key element is the idea of integral interactions, which also helps clarifying the quantum measurement and classical level problems. The unity of Quantum Theory and General Relativity can now be gained with the help of the partitioned fields' energy-momentum. A brief image of a General Relativistic Quantum Standard Model is outlined. (shrink)
In quantum theory every state can be diagonalized, i.e. decomposed as a convex combination of perfectly distinguishable pure states. This elementary structure plays an ubiquitous role in quantum mechanics, quantum information theory, and quantum statistical mechanics, where it provides the foundation for the notions of majorization and entropy. A natural question then arises: can we reconstruct these notions from purely operational axioms? We address this question in the framework of general probabilistic theories, presenting a set of (...) axioms that guarantee that every state can be diagonalized. The first axiom is Causality, which ensures that the marginal of a bipartite state is well defined. Then, Purity Preservation states that the set of pure transformations is closed under composition. The third axiom is Purification, which allows to assign a pure state to the composition of a system with its environment. Finally, we introduce the axiom of Pure Sharpness, stating that for every system there exists at least one pure effect occurring with unit probability on some state. For theories satisfying our four axioms, we show a constructive algorithm for diagonalizing every given state. The diagonalization result allows us to formulate a majorization criterion that captures the convertibility of states in the operational resource theory of purity, where random reversible transformations are regarded as free operations. (shrink)
David Bohm, in his "causal theory", made the correct Hegelian synthesis of Einstein's thesis that there is a "there" there, and Bohr's antithesis of "thinglessness" (Nick Herbert’s term). Einstein was a materialist and Bohr was an idealist. Bohm showed that quantum reality has both. This is “physical dualism” (my term). Physical dualism may be a low energy approximation to a deeper monism of cosmic consciousness called "the super-implicate order" (Bohm and Hiley’s term), “pregeometry” (Wheeler’s term), “substratum” (Dirac’s term), “funda-MENTAL (...) space” (Hameroff’s term), “Chi” (Chinese medicine & Falun Gong) etc., but for our immediate pragmatic purpose of constructing naturally conscious nano-computers and of virtually reverse engineering alleged reports of propellantless UFO propulsion (French Intelligence Report, 1999 CNINews1@aol.com Vol. 5, No. 11, Part 1 -- August 1, 1999 & NIDS report "Best UFO Cases - Europe", I. Von Ludwiger) to the stars and beyond, physical dualism will work. (shrink)
This self-contained letter shows how ψ-epistemic quantum gravity (QG), that is, QG with a ψ-epistemic interpretation of quantum theory, in principle obtains from a deterministic model of the Elementary Process Theory (EPT) that describes an individual process at supersmall (Planck) scale by which a predominantly gravitational interaction takes place. While both ψ-epistemic QG and the model of the EPT remain to be formulated rigorously, this shows how the probabilistic nature of our knowledge of the physical world emerges in (...) a strictly deterministic universe--God does not play dice, it is our knowledge of the outcome of a process that is fundamentally probabilistic. (shrink)
Stapp and others have proposed that reality involves a fundamental life process, or creative process. It is shown how this process description may be unified with the description that derives from quantum physics. The methods of the quantum physicist and of the biological sciences are seen to be two alternative approaches to the understanding of nature, involving two distinct modes of description which can usefully supplement each other, and neither on its own contains the full story. The unified (...) view explains the major features of quantum mechanics and suggests that biological systems may function more effectively than would be expected on the basis of quantum mechanics alone. (shrink)
Genesis of the early quantum theory represented by Planck’s 1897-1906 papers is considered. It is shown that the first quantum theoretical schemes were constructed as crossbreed ones composed from ideal models and laws of Maxwellian electrodynamics, Newtonian mechanics, statistical mechanics and thermodynamics. Ludwig Boltzmann’s ideas and technique appeared to be crucial. Deriving black-body radiation law Max Planck had to take the experimental evidence into account. It forced him not to deduce from phenomena but to use more theory instead. (...) The experiments forced Planck to apply the statistical technique to radiation in increasing portions. Planck’s theories in no way were generalizations of existing experimental results. They represented the stages of an ambitious programme of Maxwellian electrodynamics and statistical mechanics reconciliation. (shrink)
Twenty-first century science faces a dilemma. Two of its well-verified foundation stones - relativity and quantum theory - have proven inconsistent. Resolution of the conflict has resisted improvements in experimental precision leaving some to believe that some fundamental understanding in our world-view may need modification or even radical reform. Employment of the wave-front model of electrodynamics, as a propagation process with a Markov property, may offer just such a clarification.
To comprehend the special relativity genesis, one should unfold Einstein’s activities in quantum theory first . His victory upon Lorentz’s approach can only be understood in the wider context of a general programme of unification of classical mechanics and classical electrodynamics, with relativity and quantum theory being merely its subprogrammes. Because of the lack of quantum facets in Lorentz’s theory, Einstein’s programme, which seems to surpass the Lorentz’s one, was widely accepted as soon as quantum theory (...) became a recognized part of physics. A new approach to special relativity genesis enables to broaden the bothering “Trinity” group of its creators to include Gilbert N. Lewis. Notwithstanding that the links necessarily existing between all the 1905 papers were obscured by Einstein himself due to the reasons discussed below, Lewis revealed from the very beginning the connections between special relativity and quasi-corpuscular theory of light, as he punctuated: “The consequences which one of us obtained from a simple assumption as to the mass of a beam of light, and the fundamental conservation of mass, energy and momentum, Einstein has derived from the principle of relativity and the electromagnetic theory” (Lewis G.N.& Tolman R.C. “The Principle of Relativity and Non-Newtonian Mechanics”, Philosophical Magazine, 1908). (shrink)
We comment some recent results obtained by using a Clifford bare bone skeleton of quantum mechanics in order to formulate the conclusion that quantum mechanics has its origin in the logic, and relates conceptual entities. Such results touch directly the basic problem about the structure of our cognitive and conceptual dynamics and thus of our mind. The problem of exploring consciousness results consequently to be strongly linked. This is the reason because studies on quantum mechanics applied to (...) this matter are so important for neurologists and psychologists. Under this profile we present some experimental results showing violation of Bell inequality during the MBTI test in investigation of C.V. Jung’s theory of personality. (shrink)
In times of crisis, when current theories are revealed as inadequate to task, and new physics is thought to be required---physics turns to re-evaluate its principles, and to seek new ones. This paper explores the various types, and roles of principles that feature in the problem of quantum gravity as a current crisis in physics. I illustrate the diversity of the principles being appealed to, and show that principles serve in a variety of roles in all stages of the (...) crisis, including in motivating the need for a new theory, and defining what this theory should be like. In particular, I consider: the generalised correspondence principle, UV-completion, background independence, and the holographic principle. I also explore how the current crisis fits with Friedman's view on the roles of principles in revolutionary theory-change, finding that while many key aspects of this view are not represented in quantum gravity, the view could potentially offer a useful diagnostic, and prescriptive strategy. This paper is intended to be relatively non-technical, and to bring some of the philosophical issues from the search for quantum gravity to a more general philosophical audience interested in the roles of principles in scientific theory-change. (shrink)
The central motivating idea behind the development of this work is the concept of prespace, a hypothetical structure that is postulated by some physicists to underlie the fabric of space or space-time. I consider how such a structure could relate to space and space-time, and the rest of reality as we know it, and the implications of the existence of this structure for quantum theory. Understanding how this structure could relate to space and to the rest of reality requires, (...) I believe, that we consider how space itself relates to reality, and how other so-called "spaces" used in physics relate to reality. In chapter 2, I compare space and space-time to other spaces used in physics, such as configuration space, phase space and Hilbert space. I support what is known as the "property view" of space, opposing both the traditional views of space and space-time, substantivalism and relationism. I argue that all these spaces are property spaces. After examining the relationships of these spaces to causality, I argue that configuration space has, due to its role in quantum mechanics, a special status in the microscopic world similar to the status of position space in the macroscopic world. In chapter 3, prespace itself is considered. One way of approaching this structure is through the comparison of the prespace structure with a computational system, in particular to a cellular automaton, in which space or space-time and all other physical quantities are broken down into discrete units. I suggest that one way open for a prespace metaphysics can be found if physics is made fully discrete in this way. I suggest as a heuristic principle that the physical laws of our world are such that the computational cost of implementing those laws on an arbitrary computational system is minimized, adapting a heuristic principle of this type proposed by Feynman. In chapter 4, some of the ideas of the previous chapters are applied in an examination of the physics and metaphysics of quantum theory. I first discuss the "measurement problem" of quantum mechanics: this problem and its proposed solution are the primary subjects of chapter 4. It turns out that considering how quantum theory could be made fully discrete leads naturally to a suggestion of how standard linear quantum mechanics could be modified to give rise to a solution to the measurement problem. The computational heuristic principle reinforces the same solution. I call the modified quantum mechanics Critical Complexity Quantum Mechanics (CCQM). I compare CCQM with some of the other proposed solutions to the measurement problem, in particular the spontaneous localization model of Ghirardi, Rimini and Weber. Finally, in chapters 5 and 6, I argue that the measure of complexity of quantum mechanical states I introduce in CCQM also provides a new definition of entropy for quantum mechanics, and suggests a solution to the problem of providing an objective foundation for statistical mechanics, thermodynamics, and the arrow of time. (shrink)
Recent developments in pure mathematics and in mathematical logic have uncovered a fundamental duality between "existence" and "information." In logic, the duality is between the Boolean logic of subsets and the logic of quotient sets, equivalence relations, or partitions. The analogue to an element of a subset is the notion of a distinction of a partition, and that leads to a whole stream of dualities or analogies--including the development of new logical foundations for information theory parallel to Boole's development (...) of logical finite probability theory. After outlining these dual concepts in mathematical terms, we turn to a more metaphysical speculation about two dual notions of reality, a fully definite notion using Boolean logic and appropriate for classical physics, and the other objectively indefinite notion using partition logic which turns out to be appropriate for quantum mechanics. The existence-information duality is used to intuitively illustrate these two dual notions of reality. The elucidation of the objectively indefinite notion of reality leads to the "killer application" of the existence-information duality, namely the interpretation of quantum mechanics. (shrink)
Ernst Mach's atomistic theory of sensation faces problems in doing justice to our ability to perceive and remember complex phenomena such as melodies and shapes. Christian von Ehrenfels attempted to solve these problems with his theory of "Gestalt qualities", which he sees as entities depending one-sidedly on the corresponding simple objects of sensation. We explore the theory of dependence relations advanced by Ehrenfels and show how it relates to the views on the objects of perception advanced by Husserl and by (...) the Gestalt psychologists. (shrink)
Bohm and Hiley suggest that a certain new type of active information plays a key objective role in quantum processes. This paper discusses the implications of this suggestion to our understanding of the relation between the mental and the physical aspects of reality.
Representation theorems are often taken to provide the foundations for decision theory. First, they are taken to characterize degrees of belief and utilities. Second, they are taken to justify two fundamental rules of rationality: that we should have probabilistic degrees of belief and that we should act as expected utility maximizers. We argue that representation theorems cannot serve either of these foundational purposes, and that recent attempts to defend the foundational importance of representation theorems are unsuccessful. As a result, (...) we should reject these claims, and lay the foundations of decision theory on firmer ground. (shrink)
As is well known, Einstein was dissatisfied with the foundation of quantum theory and sought to find a basis for it that would have satisfied his need for a causal explanation. In this paper this abandoned idea is investigated. It is found that it is mathematically not dead at all. More in particular: a quantum mechanical U(1) gauge invariant Dirac equation can be derived from Einstein's gravity field equations. We ask ourselves what it means for physics, the history (...) of physics and for the actual discussion on foundations. (shrink)
Over the last decade, Axel Honneth has established himself as one of the leading social and political philosophers in the world today. Rooted in the tradition of critical theory, his writings have been central to the revitalization of critical theory and have become increasingly influential. His theory of recognition has gained worldwide attention and is seen by some as the principal counterpart to Habermass theory of discourse ethics. In this important new volume, Honneth pursues his path-breaking work on recognition by (...) exploring the moral experiences of disrespect that underpin the conduct of social and political critique. What we might conceive of as a striving for social recognition initially appears in a negative form as the experience of humiliation or disrespect. Honneth argues that disrespect constitutes the systematic key to a comprehensive theory of recognition that seeks to clarify the sense in which institutionalized patterns of social recognition generate justified demands on the way subjects treat each other. This new book by one of the leading social and political philosophers of our time will be of particular interest to students and scholars in social and political theory and philosophy. (shrink)
Which way does causation proceed? The pattern in the material world seems to be upward: particles to molecules to organisms to brains to mental processes. In contrast, the principles of quantum mechanics allow us to see a pattern of downward causation. These new ideas describe sets of multiple levels in which each level influences the levels below it through generation and selection. Top-down causation makes exciting sense of the world: we can find analogies in psychology, in the formation of (...) our minds, in locating the source of consciousness, and even in the possible logic of belief in God. (shrink)
The original purpose of the present study, 2011, started with a preprint «On the Probable Failure of the Uncountable Power Set Axiom», 1988, is to save from the transfinite deadlock of higher set theory the jewel of mathematical Continuum — this genuine, even if mostly forgotten today raison d’être of all traditional set-theoretical enterprises to Infinity and beyond, from Georg Cantor to David Hilbert to Kurt Gödel to W. Hugh Woodin to Buzz Lightyear.
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