Quantum Theory from Non-Quantal Postulates

  • Alfred Landé
Part of the Fundamental Theories of Physics book series (FTPH, volume 22)


Theoretical physics aims at deducing formal relations between observed data by the combination of simple and general empirical propositions which, if true, will ‘explain’ the variety of phenomena. In the process of constructing a physical theory on a postulational basis one may distinguish between three steps. First, by critical evaluation of experience one arrives at ideological pictures for the connection of individual data (e.g. for the ‘path’ of a firefly, Margenau) and at general notions expressed in everyday language which takes much for granted and may involve circularity in the definition of terms. Second, the resulting picture is formalized and condensed into general laws. Third, the formal laws are now put in correspondence with a physical ‘model’ which gives an operational definition of each symbol, resulting in a self-consistent physical theory. In spite of its vagueness, step 1 is of importance to the physicist since it furnishes a legitimate basis for his selection of one formalism among many possible ones as the formal substructure of his laws.


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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alfred Landé
    • 1
  1. 1.Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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