Observables, disassembled

Citation data:

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, ISSN: 1355-2198, Vol: 63, Page: 150-162

Publication Year:
2018
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Repository URL:
http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14449
DOI:
10.1016/j.shpsb.2018.02.002
Author(s):
Roberts, Bryan W.
Publisher(s):
Elsevier BV; Elsevier
Tags:
Arts and Humanities; Physics and Astronomy
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article description
How should we characterise the observable aspects of quantum theory? This paper argues that philosophers and physicists should jettison a standard dogma: that observables must be represented by self-adjoint or Hermitian operators. Four classes of non-standard observables are identified: normal operators, symmetric operators, real-spectrum operators, and none of these. The philosophical and physical implications of each are explored.