Posted: Oct 09, 2011 12:55 pm
by mizvekov
twistor59 wrote:Well a few posts back I proposed that the appropriate definition of "are" is "is modelled by", since modelling is all we ever do in theoretical physics. The only question then is whether you can be arsed to say, for example, "momentum is modelled by the eignenvalues of the Hermitian operator p." Or whether you say "momentum is a Hermitian operator"...
Either way people generally know what is meant.

Well I agree in a sense that all you ever do in theoretical physics is model building, since that is the main goal, and here this language is appropriate. But theoretical physicists are not shy when talking about the nature of things, and here it can get a bit confusing. I am not concerned with the usage of language in this particular case, but whether the distinction is minded.
When for example one says "eignenvalues of the Hermitian operator are real", it's very explicit that what is meant here is their nature.