Quantum mechanical unbounded operators and constructive mathematics - A rejoinder to bridges

Geoffrey Hellman

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14 Scopus citations


As argued in Hellman (1993), the theorem of Pour-El and Richards (1983) can be seen by the classicist as limiting constructivist efforts to recover the mathematics for quantum mechanics. Although Bridges (1995) may be right that the constructivist would work with a different definition of 'closed operator', this does not affect my point that neither the classical unbounded operators standardly recognized in quantum mechanics nor their restrictions to constructive arguments are recognizable as objects by the constructivist. Constructive substitutes that may still be possible necessarily involve additional 'incompleteness' in the mathematical representation of quantum phenomena. Concerning a second line of reasoning in Hellman (1993), its import is that constructivist practice is consistent with a 'liberal' stance but not with a 'radical', verificationist philosophical position. Whether such a position is actually espoused by certain leading constructivists, they are invited to clarify.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-127
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Philosophical Logic
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997


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