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Speakable in quantum mechanics


At the 1927 Como conference Bohr spoke the famous words “It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how nature is. Physics concerns what we can say about nature.” However, if the Copenhagen interpretation really adheres to this motto, why then is there this nagging feeling of conflict when comparing it with realist interpretations? Surely what one can say about nature should in a certain sense be interpretation independent. In this paper I take Bohr’s motto seriously and develop a quantum logic that avoids assuming any form of realism as much as possible. To illustrate the non-triviality of this motto, a similar result is first derived for classical mechanics. It turns out that the logic for classical mechanics is a special case of the quantum logic thus derived. Some hints are provided as to how these logics are to be used in practical situations and finally, I discuss how some realist interpretations relate to these logics.

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Correspondence to Ronnie Hermens.

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Hermens, R. Speakable in quantum mechanics. Synthese 190, 3265–3286 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-012-0158-z

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  • Quantum logic
  • Intuitionistic logic
  • Instrumentalism