University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

History of Science and Technology/Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science Colloquium

Friday, March 27th 2009
Speaker: Frederick Kronz, National Science Foundation
Subject: On Actual and Virtual Chances
Refreshments served in Room 216 Physics at 3:15 p.m.

The standard account of the two-slit experiment is presented, and that is followed by a careful examination of some of the key assumptions involved in the account. Logical, metaphysical, and probabilistic assumptions are revealed and then called into question. The standard logic of the experiment presupposes a particle model, and that leads to paradoxical probabilistic consequences. An alternative logical structure is proposed for the experiment; it is based on a wave model. That logical structure leads to a non-standard theory of probability that has distinct advantages, including the ability to give a coherent account of the two-slit experiment. That account explicitly involves a distinction between actual and virtual chances, which may have important interpretive consequences for the quantum realm and more broadly including such areas as economics, queuing theory, and psychology.

Sponsored by the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science.

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