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Quantum mechanics according to a pragmatist transcendental approach: study of the universal or relative nature of the means of knowledge in microphysics


This research project aims at clarifying the origins, the statute and the role of the means of knowledge used in the research activity of microphysics: the instrumental means (i.e. the measurement apparatus), the sensorial and conceptual means enabling us to perceive the measurement outcomes and to refer to them, and the mathematical means corresponding to the formalism of quantum mechanics, which enables us to predict (statistically) and interpret the measurement outcomes.

The objective is to determine, for each of these means of knowledge, if it is universal (i.e. valid and relevant in the context of every possible research activity) or relative to a specific research activity (the one of microphysics). This research will contribute to improve our understanding of the physicists activity (pragmatist dimension) and to identify the a priori elements the physicist introduce in their knowledge of the world (transcendental dimension).

For conceptual clarity, a distinction will be made between the experimental event (e.g. the shift of the pointer on the apparatus) and the physical event, which corresponds to an interpretation of the experimental event (e.g. a physical quantity having a definite value at a given time).

In order to structure this research, the following questions will be examined one by one:
- Do all the possible measurement apparatus, in principle, produce a well-defined outcome?
- Is the Kantian transcendental aesthetic locally valid in the case of the perception of an experimental event?
- In which respect can a physical event, occurring at the end of a measurement process, be called a classical event? And
- For each component of the formalism of quantum mechanics (i.e. the vector spaces, the complex numbers, Schrodingers equation, etc.), is it possible to reformulate every possible physical theory in terms of this component?

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August-Schmidt-Str. 4

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