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Observables, Disassembled

Roberts, Bryan W. (2017) Observables, Disassembled. [Preprint]

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Abstract

How should we characterise the observable aspects of physics? This paper makes a start on this question by analysing the concept of an observable in quantum mechanics, arguing that philosophers and physicists should jettison a standard dogma: that observables must be represented by self-adjoint Hermitian operators. Four classes of non-standard observables are identified: normal operators, symmetric operators, real-spectrum operators, and none of these. The philosophical and physical implications of each are explored.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Roberts, Bryan W.b.w.roberts@lse.ac.uk0000-0003-0548-1280
Keywords: quantum theory, observables, non-Hermitian, non-self-adjoint, philosophy of physics
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Theory/Observation
Depositing User: Dr. Bryan W. Roberts
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2017 14:19
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2017 14:19
Item ID: 12964
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Theory/Observation
Date: 2017
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/12964

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