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Is the principle of least (better: stationary) action only an axiom in classical mechanics, or can it be derived from a more profound (classical) principle?

As far as I know, it can be derived from the path integral formulation of QM. Is this a more profound justification for the principle of least action? Or are we just moving in circles, since QM emerges from canonical quantization of a classical Hamiltonian where the principle of least action has already been used?

If QM is indeed a more profound justification of the principle of least action, does this imply that QM might be necessary for classical physics?

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# I Classical/QM justification of principle of least action

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