Description of Compound Physical Systems and Logical Interaction of Physical Systems

  • Dirk Aerts


It seems to be difficult to give a description of the whole universe at once, so we are always obliged to consider subsystems of a bigger physical system. We all know that quantum mechanics is not compatible with this situation. A lot of problems of interpretation are due to this fact. Some physicists do not bother about this situation because for them an isolated system is an idealization of the real situation and the theory need not be able to describe such an idealization. I think the procedure of considering subsystems and describing them as isolated systems is much more fundamental. One can ask for example the following question: “Should we ever have found mathematics without considering our fingers as isolated systems?” One could protest by saying that to do quantum logic one does not need mathematics. But then it is possible to ask the following question: “Should we ever have agreed to treat two symbols a and b written on the blackboard as being two symbols and not a mass of chalk dust if we should never have seen and understood two cars as two cars, two houses as two houses, etc…”. So the situation seems to be that we use a language to describe nature and this language is built up with the notion of isolated systems. There have been several attempts to axiomatize this language (e.g. logic, set theory).


Tensor Product Physical System Classical System Coupling Condition Complex Hilbert Space 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dirk Aerts
    • 1
  1. 1.Theoretische Natuurkunde Free University of BrusselsBrusselsBelgium

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