Isn't the answer to this question exactly what is the core mental activity when doing "physics" ? Isn't the construction of a mental picture (in my case, an identification between mathematical objects and physical objects) of what "goes on physically" the essence of develloping an intuition for physics ?reilly said:And, what exactly does it mean to "say what is going on physically?"
In the same way a biologist thinks of cells and biomolecules as the mental pictures that help him construct his thinking about his subject matter or a pharmacologist helps him think of strategies to fight a certain illness ?
I'm sorry, but to me, it is helpful to think, in the case of a double-slit experiment for instance, that an electron went through both slits at the same time and then interfered with itself. I like to keep that mental picture, and it helps in figuring out what are the essential contributions, and what are secondary effects. On the other hand, I have difficulties doing that when I am not entitled to "my mental picture of reality" and when I'm supposed to be thinking about "formal tools to predict statistical outcomes of ensembles of experiments". There's no intuition to be gained from that, is there ?
As I said elsewhere, isn't such a mental picture the WHOLE PURPOSE of the concept of "reality" ? So the "difficulty" with quantum theory is to find such a picture, which should be suggestive of the entire formalism in a natural way.