A Topos Foundation for Theories of Physics: I. Formal Languages for Physics. Andreas Döring and Chris Isham.
This paper is the first in a series whose goal is to develop a fundamentally new way of constructing theories of physics. The motivation comes from a desire to address certain deep issues that arise when contemplating quantum theories of space and time. Our basic contention is that constructing a theory of physics is equivalent to finding a representation in a topos of a certain formal language that is attached to the system. Classical physics arises when the topos is the category of sets. Other types of theory employ a different topos. In this paper we discuss two different types of language that can be attached to a system, S. The first is a propositional language, PL(S); the second is a higher-order, typed language L(S). Both languages provide deductive systems with an intuitionistic logic. The reason for introducing PL(S) is that, as shown in paper II of the series, it is the easiest way of understanding, and expanding on, the earlier work on topos theory and quantum physics. However, the main thrust of our programme utilises the more powerful language L(S) and its representation in an appropriate topos.
This is a little outside of our usual areas, but I think it will appeal to at least some readers. Personally, I find the approach aesthetically very, very appealing for several reasons, and I would be thrilled if an answer to quantum cosmology came from this direction, but I'm the first to admit that my grasp of the phsyics is barely enough to follow along. I was able to make it through this paper fairly easily, but things aren't too interesting in the classical case, and I sadly suspect that the application to quantum physics in parts II and III will leave me behind.
Via The n-Category Cafe, where there is also considerable discussion, much of it around the single word "peristalithic"...
Recent comments
2 days 5 hours ago
4 days 3 min ago
2 weeks 1 day ago
3 weeks 5 hours ago
4 weeks 3 hours ago
5 weeks 5 days ago
6 weeks 1 day ago
7 weeks 1 day ago
7 weeks 5 days ago
7 weeks 5 days ago