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On the nature of continuous physical quantities in classical and quantum mechanics

Halvorson, Hans (2000) On the nature of continuous physical quantities in classical and quantum mechanics. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Within the traditional Hilbert space formalism of quantum mechanics, it is not possible to describe a particle as possessing, simultaneously, a sharp position value and a sharp momentum value. Is it possible, though, to describe a particle as possessing just a sharp position value (or just a sharp momentum value)? Some, such as Paul Teller, have thought that the answer to this question is No -- that the status of individual continuous quantities is very different in quantum mechanics than in classical mechanics. On the contrary, I shall show that the same subtle issues arise with respect to continuous quantities in classical and quantum mechanics; and that it is, after all, possible to describe a particle as possessing a sharp position value without altering the standard formalism of quantum mechanics.


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Item Type: Preprint
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Halvorson, Hans
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Hans Halvorson
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2001
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:10
Item ID: 97
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/97

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