The modes of physical properties in the logical foundations of physics

Sonja Smets



We present a conceptual analysis of the notions of actual physical property and potential physical property as used by theoretical physicists/mathematicians working in the domain of operational quantum logic. We investigate how these notions are being used today and what role they play in the specified field of research. In order to do so, we will give a brief introduction to this area of research and explain it as a part of the discipline known as “mathematical metascience”. An in depth analysis of Aristotle’s use of the notions of “actuality” and “potentiality” is presented in order to point out exactly how much of the Aristotelian connotations are embedded in the contemporary use of the concepts under investigation. Although we will not focus in depth on all the drawbacks in the early historical development of physics due to the overwhelming influence of Aristotle’s writings, our analysis does touch upon some aspects of the Aristotelian theory of movement that are often overthrown nowadays.


actuality; potentiality; physical property; operational quantum logic

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ISSN: 1425-3305 (print version)

ISSN: 2300-9802 (electronic version)

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