Phenomenal surfaces and noumenal depths: Philosophy and quantum theory
Nickard, Gary Laurence
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Quantum theory as it stands today is perhaps the single most comprehensive, experimentally verified and successful theory in the entire history of science. Using a philosophical context, this synthesis challenges the impression shared by many physicists and laymen alike that in some way this theory is incomplete, philosophically flawed, or self-contradictory. In simple terms and with little scientific or philosophical jargon, this is an examination of some of the philosophical implications quantum theory. In particular, the Copenhagen interpretation of Bohr and Heisenberg is systematically explored revealing its neo-Kantian and anti-realist features. The unsung "hero" of this tale, as recognized by Heisenberg is the German poet and naturalist Goethe whose heterodox Theory of Colors , dismissed by so many as an anti-science diatribe, actually presciently outlines a position similar to the indeterminacy principle. Goethe maintained that theories are not objective descriptions as such, but rather the points of view of the scientist framed within a particular context of knowledge. As Bohr said: "Natural Science is not nature itself but part of a relation between man and nature, and therefore is dependant on man." Finally the physical theories of de Broglie and Bohm are contextualized within the philosophical ideas of Bergson, Deleuze. Kant and Whitehead. In particular Whitehead's idea of the "Melodic Metaphor" an embrace of the matter wave model is seen as a new "Music of the Spheres." Finally, the notion of aesthetic beauty in scientific theory is examined in some depth, revealing it to be an important criterion for judging the validity of theoretical constructs.