Indeterministic finite-precision physics and intuitionistic mathematics [article]

Tein van der Lugt
2021 arXiv   pre-print
In recent publications in physics and mathematics, concerns have been raised about the use of real numbers to describe quantities in physics, and in particular about the usual assumption that physical quantities are infinitely precise. In this thesis, we discuss some motivations for dropping this assumption, which we believe partly arises from the usual point-based approach to the mathematical continuum. We focus on the case of classical mechanics specifically, but the ideas could be extended
more » ... other theories as well. We analyse the alternative theory of classical mechanics presented by Gisin and Del Santo, which suggests that physical quantities can equivalently be thought of as being only determined up to finite precision at each point in time, and that doing so naturally leads to indeterminism. Next, we investigate whether we can use intuitionistic mathematics to mathematically express the idea of finite precision of quantities, arriving at the cautious conclusion that, as far as we can see, such attempts are thwarted by conceptual contradictions. Finally, we outline another approach to formalising finite-precision quantities in classical mechanics, which is inspired by the intuitionistic approach to the continuum but uses classical mathematics.
arXiv:2108.05735v1 fatcat:yrpuc6jysndxxpknoo6cx2tctu