PhilSci Archive

Idealization and formalism in Bohr's approach to quantum theory

Tanona, Scott (2002) Idealization and formalism in Bohr's approach to quantum theory. [Preprint]

Download (190Kb) | Preview


    Bohr held that quantum mechanical symbols find meaning only in the context of an experimental setting. Making a measurement requires establishing a correspondence between a property of the quantum object and a property of the measuring system via the introduction of a classical quantity with which the measuring instrument, classically understood, interacts. However, this correspondence is only approximate and involves the use of certain idealizations, and it is the commutation rules that tell us the limitations to this process. In this context I examine the caution by Daumer, et. al. (1996) against taking too seriously the idea of operators as observables. I conclude that Bohr would neither ascribe to such naive realism about operators nor dismiss the formalism as unimportant to the understanding of quantum phenomena, although he would agree with the caution that the properties we can attribute to a system depend on the context of the experiment.

    Export/Citation:EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
    Social Networking:

    Item Type: Preprint
    Keywords: Bohr, idealization, quantum mechanics
    Subjects: General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
    Conferences and Volumes: [2002] Philosophy of Science Assoc. 18th Biennial Mtg - PSA 2002: Contributed Papers (Milwaukee, WI; 2002) > PSA 2002 Symposia
    Depositing User: Scott Tanona
    Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2002
    Last Modified: 13 Sep 2015 11:23
    Item ID: 880

    Actions (login required)

    View Item

    Document Downloads