The Nature of Quantum Truth: Logic, Set Theory, & Mathematics in the Context of Quantum Theory
thesisposted on 24.10.2013 by Kimberly Frey
In order to distinguish essays and pre-prints from academic theses, we have a separate category. These are often much longer text based documents than a paper.
The purpose of this dissertation is to construct a radically new type of mathematics whose underlying logic differs from the ordinary classical logic used in standard mathematics, and which we feel may be more natural for applications in quantum mechanics. Specifically, we begin by constructing a first order quantum logic, the development of which closely parallels that of ordinary (classical) first order logic --- the essential differences are in the nature of the logical axioms, which, in our construction, are motivated by quantum theory. After showing that the axiomatic first order logic we develop is sound and complete (with respect to a particular class of models), this logic is then used as a foundation on which to build (axiomatic) mathematical systems --- and we refer to the resulting new mathematics as "quantum mathematics." As noted above, the hope is that this form of mathematics is more natural than classical mathematics for the description of quantum systems, and will enable us to address some foundational aspects of quantum theory which are still troublesome --- e.g. the measurement problem --- as well as possibly even inform our thinking about quantum gravity. After constructing the underlying logic, we investigate properties of several mathematical systems --- e.g. axiom systems for abstract algebras, group theory, linear algebra, etc. --- in the presence of this quantum logic. In the process, we demonstrate that the resulting quantum mathematical systems have some strange, but very interesting features, which indicates a richness in the structure of mathematics that is classically inaccessible. Moreover, some of these features do indeed suggest possible applications to foundational questions in quantum theory. We continue our investigation of quantum mathematics by constructing an axiomatic quantum set theory, which we show satisfies certain desirable criteria. Ultimately, we hope that such a set theory will lead to a foundation for quantum mathematics in a sense which parallels the foundational role of classical set theory in classical mathematics. One immediate application of the quantum set theory we develop is to provide a foundation on which to construct quantum natural numbers, which are the quantum analog of the classical counting numbers. It turns out that in a special class of models, there exists a 1-1 correspondence between the quantum natural numbers and bounded observables in quantum theory whose eigenvalues are (ordinary) natural numbers. This 1-1 correspondence is remarkably satisfying, and not only gives us great confidence in our quantum set theory, but indicates the naturalness of such models for quantum theory itself. We go on to develop a Peano-like arithmetic for these new "numbers," as well as consider some of its consequences. Finally, we conclude by summarizing our results, and discussing directions for future work.