Why Be Regular? Part I

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Feintzeig, Benjamin H.; (Le)Manchak, JB; Rosenstock, Sarita; Weatherall, James Owen
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preprint description
We provide a novel perspective on "regularity" as a property of representations of the Weyl algebra. We first critique a proposal by Halvorson [2004, "Complementarity of representations in quantum mechanics", Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 35(1), pp. 45--56], who argues that the non-regular "position" and "momentum" representations of the Weyl algebra demonstrate that a quantum mechanical particle can have definite values for position or momentum, contrary to a widespread view. We how that there are obstacles to such an intepretation of non-regular representations. In Part II, we propose a justification for focusing on regular representations, pace Halvorson, by drawing on algebraic methods.