Cassirer’s Functional-Based Approach in the Reconstruction of the Early Quantum Theory

Roberto Angeloni
Université Paris 7 – Denis Diderot, France | robert_angeloni@hotmail.com

Received: 30-March-2018 | Accepted: 20-June-2018 | Published: 31-December-2018
Disputatio [Dec. 2018], Vol. 7, No. 8, a012 | DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.2552851
Article | [EN] | Full Text | Statistics Copyright Notice [es] | Vol. 7 No. 8

How to cite this article:
Angeloni, Roberto. «Cassirer’s Functional-Based Approach in the Reconstruction of the Early Quantum Theory». Disputatio. Philosophical Research Bulletin 7, nº 8 (2018), a012.


Abstract | I propose a rational reconstruction of the early quantum theory (1900-1913) in terms of the ideas presented by Ernst Cassirer. Specifically, I propose to reconsider the early quantum theory through the lens of the method of conceptual functionalization that Ernst Cassirer laid down in his Substance and Function (1910) and he later refined in Determinism and Indeterminism in Modern Physics (1937). Following Cassirer’s functional interpretation of natural sciences, it is my primary concern to reconsider the conceptual evolution of Planck’s quantum of action from 1900 to 1913. In this regard, I shall emphasize the importance of the quantum of action (Planck’s constant) in the architectonic structure of the early quantum theory, in the role of an element of fundamental continuity between the first quantum theory and the formulation by Niels Bohr of the first atomic theory.
Keywords |
 Functional-based approach · Neo-kantism · Planck · Einstein · Bohr.

El enfoque basado en funciones de Cassirer en la reconstrucción de la teoría cuántica temprana

Resumen | En este escrito propongo una reconstrucción racional de la teoría cuántica temprana (1900-1913) en términos de las ideas presentadas por Ernst Cassirer. Específicamente, propongo reconsiderar la teoría cuántica temprana a través de la lente del método de funcionalización conceptual que Ernst Cassirer estableció en su Substance and Function (1910) y luego refinó en Determinism and Indeterminism in Modern Physics (1937). Siguiendo la interpretación funcional de las ciencias naturales de Cassirer, mi principal preocupación es reconsiderar la evolución conceptual del quantum de acción de Planck desde 1900 hasta 1913. En este sentido, enfatizaré la importancia del quantum de acción (la constante de Planck) en la estructura arquitectónica de la teoría cuántica temprana, en el papel de un elemento de continuidad fundamental entre la primera teoría cuántica y la formulación por Niels Bohr de la primera teoría atómica.
Palabras Clave | Enfoque basado en funciones · Neokantismo · Planck · Einstein · Bohr.


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