The Common Logical Structure of Classical and Quantum Mechanics (and All Scientific Theories)”

Gabriele CarcassiUniversity of Michigan

Tuesday, September 20, 2022
1:00pm–3:00pm (East Coast time)

[Registration Form] (Abstract and Video Below)

• The Foundations of Physics @Harvard series is co-sponsored by the Department of Philosophy
• This is a free Zoom event (no registration fee)
• The meeting ID and password will be shared with those who register
• Each talk will be 1 hour, followed by a 5-minute break and then 55 minutes for questions
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• You can visit the YouTube channel here

Questions or comments: Jacob Barandes, firstname_lastname(at) (organizer)

Video (YouTube), Slides (PDF)


Open Discussion and Q&A


In this presentation we will see that the logical structures of classical and quantum theory are both instances of a common structure that is necessary to all scientific  theories (i.e. theories connected to experimental verification). We will see that the seeming incompatibility of classical logic with quantum mechanics stems from muddling temporal or statistical considerations. These issues can be resolved by clarifying the full meaning of the statements, which will require us to consider all statistically relevant statements, and not only those about single-shot measurements. Once this is done, a complete parallel can be made (e.g. both theories provide both a distributive and non-distributive lattice) in terms of basic and well-known mathematical structures. We will see that, in general, if one wants to describe a physical theory where each statement is linked, at least in line of principle, with an experimental test, a similar structure necessarily emerges.