Philosophy

There are many books seeking to make sense of stdQM from philosophical point of view without much success. The accepted view after 100 years of fruitless pondering, is that stdQM does not make sense, but anyway works extremely well and so it does not matter much that it does not make sense.

The book Quantum Theory and the Flight from Realism, Philosophical Responses to Quantum Mechanics by Christopher Norris, is presented by

  • This book is a critical introduction to the long history of debate concerning the conceptual foundations of quantum mechanics and the problems it has posed for physicists and philosophers. Quantum theory is widely held to resist any realist interpretation and to mark the advent of a ‘postmodern’ science characterised by paradox, uncertainty, and the limits of precise measurement.

Norris starts his critical analysis by

  • In this book I examine various aspects of the near century-long debate concerning the conceptual foundations of quantum mechanics (QM) and the problems it has posed for physicists and philosophers from Einstein to the present. They include the issue of wave-particle dualism; the uncertainty attaching to measurements of particle location or momentum; the (supposedly) observer-induced ‘collapse of the wave-packet’; and the evidence of remote superluminal (i.e. faster-than-light) interaction between widely separated particles.
  • I also show in some detail how the orthodox ‘Copenhagen’ interpretation of QM has influenced current anti-realist or ontologicalrelativist approaches to philosophy of science, among them the arguments advanced by thinkers such as Michael Dummett, Thomas Kuhn and W.V.Quine. Moreover, there are clear signs that some philosophers—including Hilary Putnam—have retreated from a realist position very largely in response to just these problems with the interpretation of quantum mechanics.
  • So it is important to grasp exactly how the problems arose and exactly why—on what scientific or philosophical grounds—any alternative (realist) construal should have been so often and routinely ruled out as a matter of orthodox QM wisdom.

Norris is a realist and is critical to the anti-realist orthodox QM wisdom and so could be expected to welcome realQM, if it works.

Compare with this blog post recalling in particular that the Energiewende of today is an expression of the power of German idealism threatening to once again destroy German society by one-sided irrational irreality.

Paul Forman launched (1971) in Weimar culture, causality, and quantum theory: adaptation by German physicists and mathematicians to a hostile environment, the idea that quantum physics developed in the Weimar republic of Germany in the 1920s as part of a revolt against causality, determinism and materialism made responsible for a loss of of German national identity:

  • If the physicist were to improve his public image he had first and foremost to dispense with causality, with rigorous determinism, that most universally abhorred feature of the physical world picture. And this, of course, turned out to be precisely what was required for the solution of those problems in atomic physics which were then at the focus of the physicist’s interest.

In this perspective stdQM (and relativity theory)  connects to German idealism rather than English and French rationalism, and it is no wonder that Planck, Einstein, Born and Heisenberg were all German.

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