Disciplines

Continental Philosophy | Logic and foundations of mathematics | Philosophy of Science

Abstract

This book deals with the 'crisis of objectivity' and the 'crisis of realism' which overtook physics when Heisenberg and Bohr consciously rejecting the intentionality-structure of classical physics, gave physics a new form and a new philosophy. The new physics was called quantum mechanics and the new philosophy was called complimentarity. Using the method 'analysis of horizons,' the author attempts to disentangle the epistemological and ontological pesuppositions of Heisenberg's view of complementarity. A similar analysis of Bohr's view of complimentarity reveals a remarkable contrast in basic philosophy between the two founders of quantum physics. The author distinguishes various kinds of objectivity and realism and discusses critically the different aspects of the crisis that emerges in the quantum theory of measurement, the indeterminacy relations and in the statistical and causal structure of quantum mechanics. Heisenberg's formulation of the crisis is reduced to the underlying presuppositions of his thought. These presuppositions are criticised and shown to be defective. A more nuanced epistemological analysis reveals that quantum mechanics answers in a specially beautiful way to the full exigencies of the human mind and its knowledge of concrete reality.