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Shadows of language in physics and cybernetics

Löfgren, Lars LU (1996) In Systems Research 13(3). p.329-340
Abstract
In a large variety of disciplines, fundamental studies often straddle in self-referential situations, in need of relativization to language and complementaristic resolution. In such attempts, the languages at play are hardly visible themselves. Only shadows of language, somewhat characteristic of the various disciplines, become visible and tractable. We select two domains, quantum mechanics and cybernetics, for a comparative study of their complementarity concepts with consequence for understandings of observability, describability, and objectivity. In particular, we compare Bohr-Pauli’s "nondetachability of the observer" and von Foerster’s aphorisms for objectivity.



In quantum mechanics, with its emphasis on... (More)
In a large variety of disciplines, fundamental studies often straddle in self-referential situations, in need of relativization to language and complementaristic resolution. In such attempts, the languages at play are hardly visible themselves. Only shadows of language, somewhat characteristic of the various disciplines, become visible and tractable. We select two domains, quantum mechanics and cybernetics, for a comparative study of their complementarity concepts with consequence for understandings of observability, describability, and objectivity. In particular, we compare Bohr-Pauli’s "nondetachability of the observer" and von Foerster’s aphorisms for objectivity.



In quantum mechanics, with its emphasis on experimentability and measurability, Bohr's primary view of complementarity takes the form of a tension between definability and measurability. In cybernetics, we have a central interest in inferribility above the more constructive measurability, and the linguistic complementarity takes the form of a tension between describability and interpretability.



In quests for a complete quantum mechanical measurement language, we face an interesting situation, that of simulating semantic measurability by syntactic inferribility. It calls for a cybernetic tie, whereby the two processes of assertibility, by measurability and by provability, become united under complementarity. Although semantic and syntactic processes are complementary within the measurement language, they may be unfolded in levels of constructivity, allowing identification of the lowest levels. Namely, identification of the constructivity level of a basic measurement sentence, i.e., a sentence which can be affirmed by a direct measurement (without involving further inferences), with the lowest constructivity level of syntactic provability.



We exemplify with an explanation of a recent challenge against Bohr’s wave-particle compementarity. Namely, by the so called double-prism experiment of Ghose, Home, and Agarwal. We find the experiment quite interesting, not by the alleged challenge, but by realizing that its interpretation requires a levelled approach to quantum theory. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
ties, interpretability, cuts, double-prism experiment in quantum mechanics, inferribility, constructivity, measurability, von Foerster’s objectivity aphorisms, non-detachability of observer, complementarity, describability, language
in
Systems Research
volume
13
issue
3
pages
329 - 340
publisher
John Wiley & Sons
external identifiers
  • scopus:8444226839
ISSN
0734-7448
DOI
10.1002/(SICI)1099-1735(199609)13:3<329::AID-SRES98>3.0.CO;2-2
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
04a25642-ffc8-4088-a643-07cae5afb7ac (old id 120378)
date added to LUP
2007-07-02 14:37:05
date last changed
2017-01-01 07:24:50
@article{04a25642-ffc8-4088-a643-07cae5afb7ac,
  abstract     = {In a large variety of disciplines, fundamental studies often straddle in self-referential situations, in need of relativization to language and complementaristic resolution. In such attempts, the languages at play are hardly visible themselves. Only shadows of language, somewhat characteristic of the various disciplines, become visible and tractable. We select two domains, quantum mechanics and cybernetics, for a comparative study of their complementarity concepts with consequence for understandings of observability, describability, and objectivity. In particular, we compare Bohr-Pauli’s "nondetachability of the observer" and von Foerster’s aphorisms for objectivity. <br/><br>
<br/><br>
In quantum mechanics, with its emphasis on experimentability and measurability, Bohr's primary view of complementarity takes the form of a tension between definability and measurability. In cybernetics, we have a central interest in inferribility above the more constructive measurability, and the linguistic complementarity takes the form of a tension between describability and interpretability.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
In quests for a complete quantum mechanical measurement language, we face an interesting situation, that of simulating semantic measurability by syntactic inferribility. It calls for a cybernetic tie, whereby the two processes of assertibility, by measurability and by provability, become united under complementarity. Although semantic and syntactic processes are complementary within the measurement language, they may be unfolded in levels of constructivity, allowing identification of the lowest levels. Namely, identification of the constructivity level of a basic measurement sentence, i.e., a sentence which can be affirmed by a direct measurement (without involving further inferences), with the lowest constructivity level of syntactic provability.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
We exemplify with an explanation of a recent challenge against Bohr’s wave-particle compementarity. Namely, by the so called double-prism experiment of Ghose, Home, and Agarwal. We find the experiment quite interesting, not by the alleged challenge, but by realizing that its interpretation requires a levelled approach to quantum theory.},
  author       = {Löfgren, Lars},
  issn         = {0734-7448},
  keyword      = {ties,interpretability,cuts,double-prism experiment in quantum mechanics,inferribility,constructivity,measurability,von Foerster’s objectivity aphorisms,non-detachability of observer,complementarity,describability,language},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {329--340},
  publisher    = {John Wiley & Sons},
  series       = {Systems Research},
  title        = {Shadows of language in physics and cybernetics},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1099-1735(199609)13:3<329::AID-SRES98>3.0.CO;2-2},
  volume       = {13},
  year         = {1996},
}