The Axiomatic Approach in Physics

  • Thomas A. Brody


In this paper it is shown, firstly, that physical theories contain not completely formalizable elements, the most significant being meaning assignments to formal components, approximations, unspecified elements fixed by suitable determination in specific models, and the scope (or region of validity) of the theories; secondly, that the importance of these elements depends on the type of theory as specified by a number of characteristics; and thirdly, that theories can — and must — contain various kinds of inconsistencies that are amenable to rational manipulation but preclude axiomatization within the framework of formal logic. Finally a number of aims for the axiomatic approach are outlined which are compatible with these non-formalizable elements and moreover do not exist for axiomatic methods in mathematics.


Statistical Mechanic Physical Theory Theoretical Structure Axiomatic Approach Primitive Concept 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1993

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  • Thomas A. Brody

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