77 research outputs found

    Bohr’s quantum postulate and time in quantum mechanics

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    In this paper I shall consider the concept of time used in the quantum theory from the perspective of Bohr’s ideas as presented in what he called the quantum postulate and some of its consequences. In particular, Bohr’s views on the role of the experimental arrangement that defines the context in which we can consider the state of the quantum system to be defined – and the related interpretation of the quantum wave function –, enables a view on the time concept being used in the theory that makes compatible the discontinuous changes in individual physical systems with a continuous description in time of the behavior of an ensemble of systems. A crucial aspect will be to show that Bohr’s ideas are coherent with the use of an external classical time

    The relation between classical and quantum electrodynamics

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    In this article it is presented the idea that quantum electrodynamics presents intrinsic limitations in the description of physical processes that makes it impossible to recover from it the type of description we have with classical electrodynamics. In this way I cannot consider classical electrodynamics as reducing to quantum electrodynamics and being recovered from it by some sort of limiting procedure. Quantum electrodynamics has to be seen not as an independent theory but just as an upgrade of classical electrodynamics and the theory of relativity, which permits an extension of classical theory in the description of phenomena that, while being clearly related to the conceptual framework of the classical theory – the description of matter, radiation, and their interaction –, cannot be properly addressed from the classical theory

    The Dirac equation, the concept of quanta, and the description of interactions in quantum electrodynamics

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    In this article the Dirac equation is used as a guideline to the historical emergence of the concept of quanta, associated with the quantum field. In Pascual Jordan’s approach, electrons as quanta result from the quantization of a classical field described by the Dirac equation. With this quantization procedure – also used for the electromagnetic field – the concept of quanta becomes a central piece in quantum electrodynamics. This does not seem to avoid the apparent impossibility of using the concept of quanta when interacting fields are considered together as a closed system. In this article it is defended that the type of analysis that leads to so drastic conclusions is avoidable if we look beyond the mathematical structure of the theory and take into account the physical ideas inscribed in this mathematical structure. In this case we see that in quantum electrodynamics we are not considering a closed system of interacting fields, what we have is a description of the interactions between distinct fields. In this situation the concept of quanta is central, the Fock space being the natural mathematical structure that permits maintaining the concept of quanta when considering the interaction between the fields

    Time in the theory of relativity: on natural clocks, proper time, the clock hypothesis, and all that

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    When addressing the notion of proper time in the theory of relativity, it is usually taken for granted that the time read by an accelerated clock is given by the Minkowski proper time. However, there are authors like Harvey Brown that consider necessary an extra assumption to arrive at this result, the so-called clock hypothesis. In opposition to Brown, Richard T. W. Arthur takes the clock hypothesis to be already implicit in the theory. In this paper I will present a view different from these authors by recovering Einstein's notion of natural clock and showing its relevance to the debate

    The renormalization of charge and temporality in quantum electrodynamics

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    In this article it is intended a closer look at the renormalization procedure used in quantum electrodynamics to cope with the divergent integrals that appear in higher-order calculations within the theory. The main focus will be the charge renormalization that reveals, in a clearer way than the mass renormalization, structural limitations present in quantum electrodynamics that are even more aggravating than the ones usually pointed at when considering the renormalization procedure. In this way we see that the possibility of charge renormalization is due to limitations of the theory in the temporal description of the interactions

    The relation between classical and quantum electrodynamics

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    In this article it is presented the idea that quantum electrodynamics presents intrinsic limitations in the description of physical processes that makes it impossible to recover from it the type of description we have with classical electrodynamics. In this way I cannot consider classical electrodynamics as reducing to quantum electrodynamics and being recovered from it by some sort of limiting procedure. Quantum electrodynamics has to be seen not as an independent theory but just as an upgrade of classical electrodynamics and the theory of relativity, which permits an extension of classical theory in the description of phenomena that, while being clearly related to the conceptual framework of the classical theory – the description of matter, radiation, and their interaction –, cannot be properly addressed from the classical theory

    Informal and formal proofs, metalogic, and the groundedness problem

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    When modeling informal proofs like that of Euclid’s Elements using a sound logical system, we go from proofs seen as somewhat unrigorous – even having gaps to be filled – to rigorous proofs. However, metalogic grounds the soundness of our logical system, and proofs in metalogic are not like formal proofs and look suspiciously like the informal proofs. This brings about what I am calling here the groundedness problem: how can we decide with certainty that our metalogical proofs are rigorous and sustain our logical system? In this paper, I will expose this problem. I will not try to solve it here

    The relativity of simultaneity and presentism

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    According to conventional wisdom, presentism is at odds with the theory of relativity. This is supposed to be shown quite simply just by considering the relativity of simultaneity. In this paper I will show that conventional wisdom is wrong. In fact by clarifying the physical meaning of the relativity of simultaneity one can inform the philosophical debate and endorse a presentist view

    Geometrical objects and figures in practical, pure, and applied geometry

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    The purpose of this work is to address what notion of geometrical object and geometrical figure we have in different kinds of geometry: practical, pure, and applied. Also, we address the relation between geometrical objects and figures when this is possible, which is the case of pure and applied geometry. In practical geometry it turns out that there is no conception of geometrical object
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