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1913 Nobel Prize in physics in 1922 Bohr met with Heisenberg 1941 Died- 1962 in Copenhagen at age 77 Discoveries
June 29 2010
Bohr model of the atom- Electrons travel in discrete orbits around the nucleus and can jump from one orbit to another absorbing energy or releasing a photon. Correspondence principle- If you apply a new theory to a previously explained system it should closely explain the old system. Ex. Quantum theory and classical physics Complementarity- matter exhibits both particle and wave characteristics but not both at the same time. Classic concepts like location and energy cannot be combined in quantum physics. Philosophical basis for Heisenberg uncertainty principle. Shell model of the atom- The chemical properties of an element are determined by the number of valence electrons it has. Work on quantum theory Legacy Influenced many people including Heisenberg, Pauli, Lise Meitner Bohrium #107 Helped to found CERN, 1954
What was the cultural milieu within which complementarity was developed and successfully promulgated? Science does not happen in a cultural vacuum any more than a philosophical one. there are duels between opposing monisms. I wish to discuss Bohr in relation to my own methodological orientation of dialectics . In this paper I intend to address four issues: 1. I will consider the thesis that the central European community of physics was eager for an acausal account of basic reality. The two kinds of substance have no means of relating and hence reality is dual in nature. all substance is mental. By working a reduction of one of Descartes' dual elements of reality he yields a monistic account. I will consider evidence that Bohr was influenced by Sören Kierkegaard. Hayek. Moreover. (Sciabarra. For Berkeley. William James. philosophical influences were operative on Bohr in his development of complementarity? It seems unlikely that such a philosophical approach to a physical problem was developed in a philosophical vacuum. Contrary to these anti-dialectical approaches. 1995) Dialectics as I will speak of it is not any kind of natural process (as in Hegel or Marx) but rather a methodological research orientation. but I hope that it might add to the clarity and also critique of Bohr's thinking. My account is contentious. mental substance is that which thinks. Marx moves from this tradition to the belief that all reality is material. Dialectical thinking can be loosely characterized as thinking which transcends two dichotomies: the dichotomy between monism and dualism and that between atomism and wholism. 4. For instance. Berkeley's metaphysics reduces Descartes' material substance to mental appearances. dialectics . What is complementarity? The philosophical content of Bohr's thought is counterintuitive and his writing is famously bad. What is complementarity? I will offer a characterization of complementarity in my own terms before I turn to the text of Bohr's 1927 Como lecture. if any. To continue our philosophical example. Niels Bohr's philosophical notion of 'complementarity' is unusually difficult to understand but quite crucial to our grasp of the history of 20th century physics. one kind material and one kind mental. Context and Critique by Bryan Register Date: 1 Dec 97 Forum: University of Texas at Austin Copyright: Bryan Register Note: The author may or may not still agree with the views expressed in this paper. Poul Martin Møller. What does Bohr's thinking tell us about how science works? "What does it all mean?" I. Marx. Historically. 3. What. A paradigmatic case of dualistic thinking occurs in Descartes's metaphysics. wherein there are two kinds of substance in the world. later thinkers often develop a reductionist monistic account. and Utopia. and Immanuel Kant. when a dualism is laid down. collapsing one side of the duality into the other. I will consider the larger themes. while Hegel regards all reality as a single Spirit. 2. Finally. Material substance is that which is extended. in which he lays out the structure of and argument for complementarity.Complementarity: Content.
seeking to reconcile the two parts without monistically reducing one to the other. because these are concepts developed in our ordinary experience of the macroscopic world. Moreover. A new conceptual apparatus which treats light as neither a wave nor a particle. 1992. The Nature of Thought. There is no means available to us to measure light in both its wave and particle aspects. H. Atomism rarely. Dialectical thinking regards reality as interconnected. However. definitive of the thing related. there can be no progress beyond this irreducible duality.) The essence of complementarity is the view that certain features of the world are 'complementary' in a special sense. by stressing the importance of internal connections dialectics allows us to connect the piece of reality under consideration with the rest of reality in essential ways while disregarding inessential factors. I am trusting Sciabarra's comments for this account of atomism and wholism. The description of reality requires explanation in terms of either waves or particles. Thus. indescribable. exists in a pure form. However. but as a third. Tractatus LogicoPhilosophicus proposition 1. Atomism regards reality as composed of small parts which are essentially independent from one another.) While atomists regard reality as knowable in little pieces and eschew the need for integration. but refuses to accept a non-intuitive or . wholists commit the synoptic fallacy of insisting that the validity of knowledge rests on the possession of all knowledge and sometimes seek an eschatological solution to the problem of knowledge wherein the universe evolves to self-understanding. When we measure a beam of light in ways consistent with the hypothesis that light is a wave. if ever. these are two complementary approaches to describing reality.attempts to transcend the duality between dualism and monism themselves. complementarity rightly rejects a monistic reduction on grounds of empirical evidence. phenomenon which acts sometimes like a wave and sometimes like a particle. the material. When we examine a beam of light in ways appropriate to measuring a stream of particles. yet causally dependent upon. When we consider some piece of reality. but maintains that knowledge is possible without omniscience because only some connections are internal. For complementarity. we can know it without taking a synoptic or omniscient vantage point by considering it in only its internal connections to the rest of reality.) Dialectical thinking attempts to show the causal linkages and lines of dependence between the two sides of an alleged duality. or much of the Hegelian tradition such as F. (Please note that I am intimately familiar with the distinction between dualists and monists from the study of the early modern period in philosophy.21. rather. Searle might not wish to characterize his philosophy of mind as dialectical. dialectical thinking attempts to transcend the dichotomy between atomistic and wholistic approaches to nature. hence not overwhelming our limited mental economy. (Searle. we obtain results (such as interference patterns) consistent with the hypothesis that light is a wave. Bradley. I will explain this with the aid of the wave-particle nature of light. (See perhaps Brand Blanshard. (See perhaps Wittgenstein. The Rediscovery of the Mind. we obtain certain results (such as particular impacts on the measuring apparatus) consistent with the hypothesis that light is a stream of particles.) Wholism regards all of reality as internally interconnected. dialectical thinking does not commit the atomist's fallacy of considering a piece of reality in isolation from all else. Continuing the example of the material/mental dichotomy. or Bertrand Russell's Philosophy of Logical Atomism for nonparadigmatic versions of atomism. is ruled out on grounds of incoherence with our ordinary experience of the world in terms of which all experimental results must be reported. John Searle dialectically regards the mental as irreducible to.
) Complentarity thus provides a dualistic account of quantum reality. However. This is something like radar or sonar in which we send out a sensing beam which carries information back to us after having interacted with objects (in . Particles at the quantum level are intriguing in that they are not observable by any passive means. New experimental reports in the early 20th century indicated that light had a particle-like nature. lower-energy less compact. To understand Bohr's work. For Bohr. there is no way to dialectically consider the part in its essential context to the whole.) Before continuing with Bohr's argument. while low-energy ones are low but long. with Duhem (Aim and Structure of Physical Theory . 15-17. see The Undivided Universe . Thus. but not at the same time.purely mathematical description of quantum reality because of considerations of the meaning and origin of concepts. Moreover. 15-17. then. high-energy waves are short but high. we can know quantum reality but we lose its connection to the rest of reality. its frequency (as that of all waves) varies directly with energy: high energy light has high frequency. we can know classical reality but lose the details of the quantum situation. If this is the case. we must glance at both of these characterizations and their relationship. Historically. I must digress to make several points drawn from quantum mechanics. (I return to these considerations in more detail on pp.) (David Bohm's account may be dialectical. In the wave characterization of light. when we investigate reality in a way which coheres with the wave nature of light. While even living cells can be observed with the aid of a passive microscope which does not interact with the cell. while lowenergy ones are large clouds. it might be instead a wholist account. To whatever degree we are investigating reality in a way which coheres with the particle nature of light. If light is regarded as a wave. To measure features of an electron such as its position and momentum. Hence I conclude that complementarity is exactly opposed to a dialectical mode of investigation. Frequency is inversely related to wavelength: high frequency light has low wavelength. we must force it into interaction with photons. there had long been a debate between proponents of light as a wave and light as a beam of particles. A sort of bridge between the wave and particle characterizations is that wavelength varies inversely with the 'compactness' of a photon. Since the modes of investigation are complementary and hence irreconcilable. But the behavior of light in quantum reality is not consistent with classical mechanics except in the limit wherein quantum reality approaches the classical description. (See also pp. higher-energy photons are more compact. while it is the new quantum mechanics which requires a description of light as particles in addition to waves. sub-atomic particles can only be studied by active modes of investigation. If light is regarded as a particle. Light can be regarded as either waves or particles. these are complementary descriptions which are irreducibly dualistic. then quantum reality cannot be understood simultaneously with an understanding of classical reality. high-energy photons are small and dense. These points are non-philosophical in that they are observation reports not yet interpreted in any relevant way. classical mechanics deals with light as waves. or particle of light. 1905) advocate a purely mathematical account with no requirement of visualizability. and the atom is provided by the one and the whole provided by the other. which might. The classical physics of the 19th century had regarded light as wave-like. This corresponds to the distinction between atomism and wholism.
and so forth. Not only do photons come with certain inverse relationships. When the photon and electron interact. The first orbital has members of only a certain very low energy. we can determine only one of momentum or position at a time. Electrons move from higher levels to lower by emitting a photon. The degree to which we measure position is the degree to which we do not measure momentum. The relationship here is one of uncertainty: to whatever degree we know the precise momentum. electrons can exist only at certain energy levels. The reason radar does not knock down the planes whose position it discovers is that the radar waves are very weak in comparison with the planes. his first presentation of complementarity. it is maintained in [the Como lecture] that the fundamental postulate of the indivisibility of the quantum of action is itself. They move from lower levels to higher when absorbing a photon. by bouncing back from them). In the midtwenties crisis of physics.radar and sonar. we want to know (at least) two things about them: their momenta and their positions. As one might expect. an irrational element which inevitably requires us to forego a causal . low-energy photon pinpoints momentum with great clarity but cannot determine the electron's position. Thus photons exist only in the quantities of energy required to raise or lower an electron by one orbital. It is these allowable energy levels which Bohr calls the 'quantum of action'. but cannot precisely determine the momentum of the target electron. was conceived in opposition to Schrödinger's wave mechanics. In an atom. we can learn them only within certain levels of precision. the photon has a high momentum and hence measures only the position of the target electron clearly. when using a compact. and so the amount of energy emitted or absorbed by an electron in moving between orbitals must match the amount of energy required to move to the lower or higher orbital. the second has members of only a certain somewhat higher enery. The measurement problem deepens when we consider another factor. waving a baseball bat about until it smashed into something. Since Werner Heisenberg discovered this crucial relationship it is called the "Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle". they only come in certain allowable levels of energy. high-energy photon to measure the momentum or position of an electron. In opposition to this view. called orbitals. we benefit from the interaction in that the electron has affected the photon in a way informative to us. from the classical point of view. Using a dispersed. There is one last problem with quantum measurement. But. and conversely. unfortunately. To see how electrons work. we do not know the precise position and contrariwise. Bohr tells that the Como lecture. The unique problem in quantum measurement is that the photons with which electrons must interact to be measured are on the same order of causal power as the electron itself. this would be analogous to the effect of the measuring photon on the measured electron. say. Not only can we learn position or momentum of electrons only to the degree that we have not learned the other. Especially had the great success of Schrödinger's wave mechanics revived the hopes of many physicists of being able to describe atomic phenomena along lines similar to those of classical physical theories without introducing 'irrationalities' of the kind which had thus far been characteristic of the quantum theory. We can find these by forcing electrons into interaction with photons. the electron has been affected by the photon with which it interacted. But since we are using such a gross measuring technique. If we had to find something's position by. Photons are packets of energy. In introducing his work.
An experience of momentum. Schrödinger's work had provided an alternative to Heisenberg's matrix mechanics. p 11). (Atomic Physics and the Description of Nature. on the other hand. because of the coupling between phenomena and their observation. Since electrons and the photons by which we measure their momenta and positions exist only in certain allowable energy levels. If we find location. Bohr argues that there is a difficulty decoupling the observer from the observed. He explains that his ground for this is that "the finite magnitude of the quantum of action prevents altogether a sharp distinction between a phenomenon and the agency by which it is observed " (Atomic Physics and the Description of Nature.the balls are moving. we can't know motion and hence can't discover causal relations between particles. which is a matter of location). In these comments. This is because for him causality is an impoverished notion of mere direct contact pressures.description and which. A causal account for Bohr is an account of the motions of things as a result of their interaction with other things. which latter includes motion. but for Bohr it seems that the momentum description is a causal account despite the absence in it of a description of location.or even whether . Neither of these accounts are causal or allow for a causal interpretation (even in Bohr's sense. on this implicit account of causality. or the fact that electrons within atoms jump from orbital level to orbital level without occupying intervening spaces or taking time for the jump. Many physicists believed that Schrödinger's work meant that quantum mechanics would not require a radical break with classical mechanics. forces us to adopt a new mode of description designated as complementary in the sense that any given application of classical concepts precludes the simultaneous use of other classical concepts which in a different connection are equally necessary for the elucidation of the phenomena. because knowing that there is causal contact rests on knowing that there is contact. The paradigm case of causal interactions is the interaction of billiard balls: one object hits another. might enable a causal account of electron motion. such as the Aristotelian (in which the cause of action is not exclusively prior action but the nature of the acting entity). we can get location by taking only a still photo of the table. makes it move. and itself stops moving. A richer concept of causality. would be nothing but gigantic vectors drawn on a schematic drawing of the table. implies that there can be no causal account of electron motion. regarding the new quantum phenomena as irreducibly wave-like would not require the violation of classical modes of thought. Newtonian gravitation is a non-causal relation because it operates instantaneously and at a distance. Bohr maintains that the quantum of action. we must choose between location and momentum. 1934. in the historical context. there is a certain acontinuity built into the structure of matter at the atomic level. introduction. It is this position which Bohr takes as his foil. Bohr's point is that. The precision of our knowledge of the one is the imprecision of our knowledge of the other. It is worth noting that. the version of causality which appears in Cartesian mechanics and which maintains that causal relations are exclusively contact pressures between physical objects and fields. introduction. which tells us nothing about where . p. 10) Bohr reports that. Bohr seems to be freezing the concept of causality into one of its instantiations. To repeat the billiard-ball analogy. Since classical mechanics had regarded light as waves. But in quantum measurement. letting us know which direction the balls are moving but not where they are. Hence. the object is a . the activity undertaken by the subject (scientist) in attempting to apprehend the object determines the object (electron). since in all quantum measurement is active.
there is no tension between describing the thing as it is in itself and the thing as it is given us. Since high-energy photons measure position and low-energy photons measure momentum. and the measurement of quantum phenomena.5. The deeper structure of argument is that by choosing which level of energy to employ in measuring the electron. But even this relationship is unexciting. we choose what to measure. there are specific allowable levels of energy of photons. Quantum phenomena can become an object to us only . Bohr believes that this feature. On such an account.5 to discover an in-between level of information. Secondly. as well. 4. a clearly impossible state of affairs.product both of its own intrinsic nature and the active means of knowing it employed by the subject. But we could not use a photon of energy 2. The precision of our measurement is determined by the energy of the photon used. Because of the quantum of action. the object is partly a product of the subject's activity and hence is partly subjective. This does not demand a radical reconsideration of the subject/object relationship: that we can know only some things about an object does not mean that it is not an object distinct from the subject which knows it. we could use a photon of energy 2 to discover fairly detailed information about position but only vague information about momentum. if photons could exist with any quantity of energy and there were no quantum of action. making it difficult to distinguish the object from the subject. as it only stipulates a limit on which properties of the object are knowable. that is. The relationship between 4 and 1 is not changed by the possible existence of 1. That an object can be known to us only so precisely does not mean that it is indistinguishable from the subject that knows it. The first is that it is not the quantum of action but rather the inverse relation between the measuring capacities of photons which yields Bohr's epistemological problem. That his argument deals in particular with light interacting with the object tips us off to the problem. It is this relationship which is epistemically relevant. Traditionally. these conditions cannot be regarded as invalidating the objectivity for which they are the prerequisite. There is no principled distinction between macroscopic phenomena which become objects to us without complementary descriptions but only when light is present. 3. accounts of objectivity have demanded that an object be given to the subject without in any way interacting with the subject. only measurements of certain precisions are possible. There are two critiques which can be raised against this argument. Thus. Moreover. We are only able to see macroscopic objects when they are exposed to light. the quantum of action. photons with energy level 4 would measure position but not momentum and photons with energy level 1 would measure momentum but not position. Since it is is in virtue of these conditions that the thing becomes an object. This relationship between 1 and 4 would hold even if non-whole numbers were allowable levels of energy. Bohr is wrong to argue that since we must actively interact with the object to measure it. is of crucial epistemic importance. Let us say for simplicity's sake that these allowable levels are whole numbers: 1. 2. A more novel account of objectivity (such as Kelley's in The Evidence of the Senses ) might allow us to regard the object as directly given despite its causal interaction with the subject. But the quantum of action merely stipulates a limit on the precision of our measurement and cannot justify Bohr's subject/object difficulties. or we could use a photon of energy 3 to discover fairly detailed information about momentum but only vague information about position. since photons come in only certain allowable levels of energy. not the fact that photons only come in certain allowable energies. because we can describe the thing as it is in itself because it is directly given us through our cognitive faculties in a causal interaction.
and the famous linguist Vilhelm Thomsen would gather at the home of one or the other for further discussion. in particular his . 1991) notes that Bohr took Høffding's required freshman philosophy course but had already known him: Bohr had known. in Bohr's own words. pp. Bohr did not leave anything like detailed notes on the works of earlier thinkers and his colleagues do not report anything like Bohr reading scholarly commentaries of Kant's critiques or other philosophical works. Høffding long before becoming a university student. can be found in the first part of his Como lecture. However. 118) Folse provides a clear explication of this crucial passage (pp. Any influence is very likely to have worked on Bohr through the medium of his philosophy professor and family friend Harald Høffding. then complementarity hinders the investigation of quantum reality. Folse notes that this notion of complementarity was "never seriously altered" (p. But it may be possible to maintain a fully consistent description of quantum phenomena which involves neither wave nor particle descriptions. Høffding apparently appreciated young Niels.under certain conditions. In later years Bohr spoke with great respect of Høffding. Moreover." (p. just as classical phenomena become objects to us only under certain conditions.. 105) and that "The argument presented in the Como paper always remained Bohr's basic approach to complementarity. Whence Complementarity? Any hypothesis about philosophical influences on Bohr is inherently speculative. Christiansen [Bohr's physics professor]. Christian Bohr [Niels's father].. Høffding. A more full statement.. In any case. Pais (Niels Bohrs' Times. Such a description would not employ complementary concepts such as wave and particle. I hope that my critical comments have made clear that Bohr's notion of complementarity cannot be simply read from the conditions of quantum measurement. admiring his ever searching open mind. It is possible that some outside force informed Bohr's interpretation. If this program could be successful. since Bohr passed away before the interviewing process was complete. his interviewers have found only hints of evidence for influence. the figures of whom I will speak may have influenced Bohr even if I have made serious errors in my interpretation of complementarity. I maintain my interpretation throughout and the reader should note that my cases for influences will be weakened in important ways if my interpretation is in error. I have now completed a critical and speculative review of the content of complementarity. I will turn now to consider possible influences on Bohr's thinking from outside the physical problems. 1985) "Bohr presents virtually the entire argument [of complementarity] in the six paragraphs which comprise the first section of his paper. Those conditions cannot therefore invalidate objectivity but are objectivity's prerequisite." (p. 108) Moreover. Complementarity as a research program holds that we are limited to alternating wave and particle descriptions of quantum reality.. for at one time during the latter's student years he sent him some sheets of a new edition of his book on logic with a request for his 'customary criticism'. Two months later he wrote Bohr thanking him for his 'good collaboration'. II. 108-117) on which I based the above discussion of complementarity. According to Folse (The Philosophy of Niels Bohr. Since this is the case. but would attempt to dialectically relate all known features of quantum phenomena within a new (possibly non-intuitive or exclusively mathematical) conceptual apparatus. 52-57 of Atomic Physics and the Description of Nature .
p. Fall 1970) Holton notes that. for some idea of who might have been at work on Bohr's mind. without having also to agree with the antiscientific attitude of much of the work.. a crucial and early influence was the work of Kierkegaard. volume 2.. (p 99) Clearly..it is remembered that in 1909 Niels sent his brother Harald as a birthday gift Kierkegaard's book. Høffding reported that in a youthful crisis. Stages on Life's Way. In this light it is trivial to see that reading Kierkegaard only a few years before he developed his 1912 quantized theory of the atom may have been an influence on Bohr's thinking. but he may not have come to Bohr through Høffding.'" (pp. This mirrors Bohr's notion of irreducible acausality in electron motion. 64-79. which on the classical view would be ascribed to the same state of the atom.. according to the quantum postulate. As Holton points out. 1040) Moreover. and Immanuel Kant. see David Norton. Personal Destinies. between which . (For accounts of Kierkegaard's thought. a causal description of electron motion in quantum reality is impossible. William James.efforts at understanding the principles of quantum mechanics.. But Pais's other quotation is different: Bohr also says of Kierkegaard that "His language is wonderful. History of Modern Philosophy. he read poetry to him.) I want also to mention a much more speculative hypothesis regarding Kierkegaard's influence. there is scant reason to suspect that Bohr had any scholarly contact with philosophy save through Høffding." (Pais. 424) I would argue with Holton that "One can well imagine that Niels Bohr could enjoy the aesthetic experience and the moral passion. Moreover.. When Bohr visited Høffding during his final illness. Poul Martin Møller is another influence. Recall that." (Dædelus 99. 1976.' he had found solace and new strength though Kierkegaard's writings. "In Høffding's own life. Gerald Holton discusses the possibility of a Kierkegaardian influence on Bohr in his paper "The Roots of Complementarity. correspond to separate transition processes. Bohr's association with Høffding suggests three influences: Søren Kierkegaard. one which is ill-supported but intriguing. for Bohr. in which he was near 'despair. there was an intimate relationship between the two men and it would be hopelessly strange to maintain that the two did not discuss philosophical issues. we leap from stage to stage in analogy to an electron leaping from orbital to orbital.. This implies that something other than mechanism is involved in moving an electron about. but I do not believe that it would be very easy to find anything better." (Holton.. Bohr notes in the Como lecture that Here the contrast with the ordinary way of description appears strikingly in the circumstance that spectral lines." (p. 1900. Kierkegaard maintained a stage theory in which individuals can progress in life through a series of incommensurable stages. with a letter saying 'It is the only thing I have to send. we can be absolutely confident that Kierkegaard impressed Bohr as well.. one can disagree with the content of a theory while accepting its structure. Kierkegaard's romantic existentialism maintains that an individual's change from one stage of life to another is a matter irreducibly of subjective choice. pp. 285-289. ". pp. and especially Høffding. He once took Heisenberg along to listen to a 'beautiful lecture on Socrates' by the 85-year-old Høffding. 1041) Further. arguing that Bohr said that he was "not in agreement with Kierkegaard". will. most of which has not been translated. Moreover. I even think it is one of the most delightful things I have ever read. often sublime [but] there is of course much in Kierkegaard which I cannot accept. We should therefore turn to Høffding's work. 1040-1041) Pais demurs.
The hypothesis that he developed the acausal nature of the shift under Kierkegaard's influence seems on face less likely but a consideration worth taking note of. 69. and divide myself into an infinite retrogressive sequence of 'I's who consider each other. one generates (becomes) a new subjectivity which is no longer the original awareness. Where. I become confused and feel giddy as if I were looking down into a bottomless abyss. But for Møller. but a new object to a new subject. because it becomes the gaze itself. an early nineteenth century poet and novelist. because he seems to be faced with exactly the opposite problem. we find as much evidence of our own measuring apparatus (which seems implicitly to be for Bohr an extension of the subject) as we do of the object as it is in itself. the subject can never be an object because the subject disappears under its own gaze. and as soon as I stop. and my ponderings result finally in a terrible headache. Poul Martin Møller. emphasis added) This is probably a metaphorical description. Thus the original subjectivity is no longer subjectivity at all. 440) Møller is confronted with the 'problem of the disappearing self'. Trying to make an object of one's own subjectivity is futile: one might as well try to see what one looks like with one's eyes closed by standing in front of a mirror and opening one's eyes very quickly. whom [Bohr] would often quote. When we look at quantum phenomena. as Pais puts it. then. (Pais. I do not know at which 'I' to stop as the actual. but at least in Bohr's linguistic choice it seems that electrons move freely and without cause between incommensurable stages just as does the human soul in Kierkegaard. In introspection. Subjectivity is never an object. p. I even think that I think of it. I get to think about my own thoughts of the situation in which I find myself. One can continue this process ad infinitum but one will never be able to observe the awareness with which one must be identified in the moment. As soon as one's eyes open." (424) According to Pais. When this happens. the object (one's face with closed eyes) is ruined. the oftquoted lines are these from Møller's novel Adventures of a Danish Student : My endless inquiries made it impossible for me to achieve anything. I will explain in steps: y y y y Normally and originally. The hypothesis that Bohr developed the incommensurability of quantum orbitals from Kierkegaard's account seems likely. the problem of a disappearing object." (Atomic Theory and the Description of Nature. This is the problem of trying to experience oneself. is the object? For Bohr.the excited atom has a choice . there is indeed again an 'I' which stops at it. the object of one's awareness is in part the subject himself. and at one time professor of philosophy at Copenhagen. Combining . "One Dane whose influence Bohr acknowledged. It is intriguing that Bohr would cite this passage. as soon as one has found subjectivity. Moreover.. one is a subject aware of objects outside oneself. one tries to take that very awareness as one's object. Hence's one's self of the moment has always disappeared from one's gaze just as it forms. it has become an object. analogously.. I want to mention now the.
later psychologist]. and so forth. However. (pp. That Høffding would have then returned to Denmark and made no mention of James to his circle of students and friends. I don't know. 1034-1035) So it seems that Bohr read James fifteen years or more prior to the 1927 Como lecture.. in virtue of being taken as an object. so we are left no choice but to accept that Bohr appreciated it. Rubin may have sent the book to Bohr after their conversation.. seems completely incredible. Kuhn: But it would be before Manchester ? Bohr: Oh yes.. The following is from the final interview of Bohr. I read actually the work of William James.. both father and son. According to Pais. and it may be at the time I was working with surface tension . I got so much to do.. 1035) But 1932 is five years after the Como lecture and also several years after Bohr had begun to apply complementarity to psychological issues.these views brings an endless circle of self-referential negation: the subject. We need first to know when Bohr read James. an external thing taken as an object becomes. I don't know. the psychologist and Bohr's former fellow student. conducted by Thomas Kuhn: Bohr: I was a close friend of Rubin [a fellow student. or it may be just a little later. Høffding had visited James in America in 1904 and had a very positive view of his work. (p. Rosenfeld believes that a few days earlier Bohr had had a conversation with Rubin.. which subject anihilates itself. He recalls that in or about 1932.. reduces that feature to a mere object. I will try to show the full implication of this when concluding our discussion of James. but an object is always annihilated in favor of being a feature of the subject. Holton points out that: Rosenfeld [in a letter to Holton] has expressed his strong belief that the work of William James was not known to Niels Bohr until about 1932. 439-441) Are we to believe Bohr or Rosenfeld? As Folse notes. . therefore. it was many years before. Bohr showed excited interest in the book. but when the subject gazes at that feature of itself that feature becomes thereby a mere object. including the Bohrs. however. Bohr showed Rosenfeld a copy of James's Principles of Psychology . The subject annihilates itself in favor of being an object. Bohr quoted this passage frequently. Moreover. Kuhn: When was this that you read William James? Bohr: That may be a little later. (Pais. when it gazes at some feature of itself. and.. Bohr shared the same excitement with several visitors.. a feature of the subject." During the next few days. and Rosenfeld retained the definite impression that this was Bohr's first acquaintance with William James's work. and especially pointed out to Rosenfeld the passages on the "stream of consciousness.
which presumably include actions like perception." (Holton.. Hence the transitive parts of consciousness . or of subjective life. On the one hand.' and the places of flight the 'transitive parts. but it is likely that Bohr had had at least some exposure to James's thought early on. even though his full examination of James's work seems likely to have occurred too late for an influence to have occurred." (Holton. because Bohr speaks of James's psychological work whereas "when Rosenfeld brings up James's name. once in the 1900's and again in 1932. Bohr talks like this: "I read some. while Rosenfeld believes that Bohr first looked at The Principles of Psychology no earlier than 1932. James moves into a problem identical to Møller's disappearing self. on the other.. . of consciousness. Let us call the resting places the 'substantive parts.. 1036) Which is it? On the one hand. the whole thing is coming [back to me]! ." (51) However. but that was an interest by [and here Bohr suddenly stopped and exclaimed]-oh. it is at least slightly possible that Bohr discovered James twice. Folse seems to be in error. According to Folse. where every thought is expressed in a sentence and every sentence closed by a period. (50-51) Folse hypothesizes that Bohr may have been aware of James's psychological work as early as 1904. I am going to move now to a consideration of what content Bohr's thought might have were he influenced by James at an early date. Moreover. consciousness flows in an unbroken and integrated stream much like the wave-oriented classical description of the world. he does so in connection with the claim that complementarity is essentially a pragmatist character. this accords nicely with both Rosenfeld's and Bohr's memories. it flows. Holton cites from James: "Consciousness does not appear to itself chopped up in bits.It seems extraordinary to suppose that both Rubin and Høffding would have listened to Bohr's meditations on these themes and not noticed the obvious connection with James's problems in The Principles of Psychology. he may have simply forgotten the text in the intervening quarter of a century.' of the stream of thought. providing additional evidence for some early influence. If his early exposure was not deep or rigorous... We must remain agnostic about the question of influence. Let us call it the stream of thought. according to Holton.. what is that called? It is called 'The Stream of Thoughts'. consciousness works in fits and starts rather like the particle-oriented quantum description of the world. But Rosenfeld's memory seems to be much more distinct than Bohr's. 1034) Here we seem to have exactly equal evidence for the two sides. James also wrote that "Like a bird's life...I think I read the book. But "The Stream of Thoughts" is a chapter of The Principles of Psychology and hence their memories do in fact conflict. called. The rhythm of language expresses this. To try to catch the transitive parts is to make them all of a sudden into substantive parts. Folse argues that it is improbable in the extreme that Høffding would not speak of James to Bohr very early on. In the interview with Kuhn. Bohr recalled having looked at "The Stream of Thoughts" before 1912. Rosenfeld's recollection seems more reliable than Bohr's. Moreover. On the other hand.. [thought] seems to be made of an alternation of flights and perchings. or a paragraph. No.. This is a perfect match to the irreducible duality demanded by complementarity. but may not have discovered James's philosophical work until 1932." But in apparent contrast.
the problems are structurally identical: Bohr's objects disappear under his gaze while the others' own subjectivities disappear under their own gaze. and that which in our reasoning refers to the 'totality of conditions in the sensible world'. however. albeit elusive. It is very difficult to say in what way Bohr's problem is related. For Møller and James. That is. Since the object of quantum measurement melts into the subject at the same time that the subject turns into an object when examined. the object just is a feature of the subject. and intrinsic to the subject. however. For Bohr the necessity is both empirical. all experience is of the subject. Honner comments that: Kant and Bohr are both concerned with what cannot but be the case. which ceases to be subjective when examined and is hence an object. We may disappear in an infinity of introspection. introspection and so forth . to maintain that he was directly influenced by Kant as he may have been by the previous three figures. given his elaboration of the necessary conditions for unambiguous communication about experience. He made a sharp distinction between that which lies entirely outside the sensible world. the object of quantum measurement is simultaneously an object which is presented by consciousness to itself. For Bohr. (p 12) . inasmuch as it rests on the quantum postulate. and epistemological. though it is connected with the necessary conditions for the possibility of experiential knowledge. the 'transcendental'. We can have no experience of the active knowing self. I will try to show a methodological similarity between Kant and Bohr by discussing Honner's gloss of Bohr's argument and juxtaposing it with key ideas from Kant's work. the others can't find the subject. the self disappears under examination but the object is a steady reference point. Let me try to clarify this claim. If Møller and James provide us with a metaphysics of subjective vertigo.always shift out from under one's gaze to become the gaze itself. which he called 'transcendent'.deduction. I will now combine the two views to try to see a coherent influence. I see little reason. On the one hand. Let me conclude the question of influences with a discussion of Bohr's relation to Immanuel Kant. but there is always the object to which we inevitably return. the problems are exactly opposite: Bohr can't find an object. For Kant this necessity is not an empirical demand.and with no substantial self to have the chance. Honner claims in The Description of Nature (1987) that Bohr's argument for complementarity is a transcendental argument which takes the same form as Kantian arguments for synthetic a priori knowledge. to try to maintain that Bohr accepted both theses. meaning. This is an endless and maddening circle. Møller and James both experience the problem of the disappearing self. My argument for similarity in content will stem from my discussion of James and Møller's contribution above. Bohr provides us with a metaphysics of pure absence: endless falling with no chance of ever hitting the ground of the object . Kant gave the term 'transcendental' a specific. I will argue that Bohr was operating under implicitly Kantian modes of thought and that Bohr's philosophy was Kantian through and through both in method and content. On the other hand.
But Bohr is attempting to find a method for describing very complex problems. I'll just move through the shorter three-term version and compare it with elements of Kant's program. (B1) Some kind of conceptual framework is a necessary condition of the possibility of ordering experience. This gloss is more difficult to interpret. Moreover.Kant turned to his transcendental approach. that is. These considerations are known as the transcendental." For simplicity's sake. Such truths would be necessary for us. 104) but Honner notes that "After recognizing these links. 12) Kant sought conclusions which would be necessary and yet possessed of empirical significance. the interpretation of which requires a very complex and delicate conceptual apparatus. The one was critical. by reflecting on the necessary conditions for the possibility of experience. empiricists had denied the possibility of necessary truths and rationalists who sought necessary truths did so by stipulating some basic definitions without empirical ground and proving theses based on them. The thing-in-itself is transcendent. they transcend the known without going beyond it. He suggested that we begin with the givenness of experience and then. it is possible to arrange Bohr's arguments more economically. which is always outside of experience.. It is the transcendent thing-in-itself which makes it such that we have experience at all. What exactly are the 'boundaries of human experience'? Honner's Bohr contrasts them with 'more normal experiences'. because they state that to which experience must adhere. Kant sought to break out not by trying to prove necessary truths from individual experiences (assumed in advance to be impossible) but by reflecting on that which makes our experience possible. Bohr "constantly argues through a series of ten steps" (p. for instance. seeming to imply a temporal relationship: the normal is that with which we already have experience (such as classical . the other dogmatic. certain considerations which are not transcendent are implied in all reasoning and all experience." (p. sense experience is generated by the subject under some kind of stimulus from the thing-in-itself. so the claim clearly holds true for his problem. and they chased one another like a dog his tail: in a very small circle. move to universal conditions. but would possess empirical import. the effect of a certain monetary policy on the economic situation. According to Honner. Honner points out that ". causal and other relations can be understood only with the aid of a conceptual framework. But with more complex phenomena. Historically. He sought not the conclusions of experience but the presuppositions of experience. not by a pre-existing conceptual apparatus as in Kant. since our experience would always adhere to them. It is possible that perceptually given phenomena are ordered. It is impossible to perceive. it is the transcendental forms of the mind which determine what that experience will be. so that the connections between key statements become more apparent. However..For Kant. (B2) It is a necessary condition of the possibility of objective descriptions of processes at the boundaries of human experience that concepts related to more normal experiences be employed. but by their own ordered nature and the capacity of the mind to recognize this pre-existing order.
then. he appears to assume that any successful communication must employ terms which are related to such ordinary language. above on pp. Honner had previously interpreted this point as point (vi) in the longer version of his gloss. (B3) Our position as observers in a domain of experience where unambiguous application of concepts depends essentially on the conditions of observation demands the use of complementary descriptions if the description is to be exhaustive.mechanical phenomena). no matter how far the processes concerned transcend the range of ordinary experience. On my interpretation of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. Bohr is arguing. which reads: (vi) It is a necessary condition for the possibility of unambiguous communication that suitably refined everyday concepts be used. that is. if the interpretation is to make the quantum event into an object of our awareness. hence we must describe light under each aspect to complete its description. in this case. the boundaries are the new frontier experiences (such as quantum mechanical phenomena). Since the opposed conditions (choices of measuring apparatus) provide us with different information.. such elements as the Transcendental Aesthetic and Transcendental Deduction(s) do not function as arguments in the sense of deductive motions from premises to conclusions or gatherings of empirical evidence. (p. the two possible conditions tell us that light is either a wave or else it is a particle. is the pre-existing conceptual apparatus. The resemblance may be even more thoroughgoing when we bear in mind that Kant's categories were developed with a Newtonian or classical universe in mind. In this case. Objectivity for Kant rests on an experience being informed by the categories of the mind.. but a direct articulation of what he sees as constitutive of experiment and communication. not the other way 'round. 88) The last sentence is Bohr's Kantian claim. This is a Kantian claim wherein the possibility of something's being an object of our awareness rests on the object matching (in some way) the nature of the subject. The key step in the argument is the claim that objectivity of description requires conservatism in conceptual use. 88) Honner further notes that The argument is not an axiomatic one. while for Bohr objectivity rests on an experience being informed by the categories of classical mechanics. an exhaustive description must combine the descriptions provided by both of the possible conditions. that new experiences such as experience of quantum phenomena must be interpreted in terms derived from classical mechanics if the description is to be objective. The 'conditions of observation' to which Honner refers are the measuring apparatus which relate inversely and measure different features of quantum events. (p 105) This reiterates the deeper structure of argument which I found in complementarity. 7-8. but rather a . (p. The 'nature of the subject'.. He takes it as read that ordinary language can be used to provide a satisfactorily objective account of experience and activity in the real world. Further.
This is why the subject and object are tightly coupled: the object is just as much a feature of the subject as it is of the intrinsic thingin-itself. For Bohr. While Kant's categories of the mind are not mutually exclusive in one experience. When we reflect on the conditions of experimental reports. Bohr seems to make a similar claim. the categories of the mind. The object of one's awareness is one's own subjectivity. Moreover. according to rules which probably amount to classical mechanics. 14-15. they determine what we experience. by themselves. . the possibility of a quantum phenomenon becoming an object to our awareness .is our realization of it in classical terms treated as complementary to each other. Likewise for Kant. Method and content exist in a dialectical relationship such that each tends to determine the other. What content must Bohr's philosophy have. what it is that becomes an object to the subject depends on the action of the subject. space-time location and causality are complementary. But for Kant. It is difficult to find in the quantum object something not placed in it by its examination by the subject. So location in space and time could not be known along with the causal relations acting on an electron. if its method is as I have described above? In quantum phenomena. it seemed that a momentum description was to be the causal description. 14-15 in reference to James and Møller. as it is unlikely that Bohr studied Kant in sufficient depth to even know what his account of causality was. This is the deep subjectivity which I described on pp. space and time inform every external experience and causality is the rule according to which phenomena are placed in space and time. as on pp. but quantum phenomena evades description by either of these concepts alone. This is a highly Kantian argument and completes my justification for the conclusion that Bohr was a methodological Kantian. we always find the classical phenomena of wave and particle. the knowing subject is ultimately unknowable but is itself a thing-in-itself our knowledge of which is determined by the categories. Recall that location and momentum are complementary and mutually exclusive descriptions of electrons. This seemingly crucial point is actually insignificant. Hence. levitate for twenty years. they would allow for my dropped glass to turn into a rhinoceros on its way to the ground. For Bohr. Does the subject choose to experience a wave or a particle? Position or momentum? The thing-in-itself is determined as one of these not solely in virtue of its intrinsic nature but in virtue of the knowing activity of the subject. fly back up to my hand. I take this as a proof of content similarity. and shatter there without ever having hit the ground (or turned back into a glass). The main difference between Kant and Bohr comes specifically on the issue of whether the determinants of experience are complementary or mutually consistent. Kant's philosophy is as vertiginous as I tried to show Bohr's to be above.meditative reflection on human experience to see ever-present within it certain structural conditions.becoming objective . Space and time alone are insufficient to create our experience. But the method and the content of complementarity are not the same thing and I will turn now to discuss one last time the content of complementarity. Kantian causality is the mental function according to which phenomena are ordered coherently in space and time.
We cannot believe. that every physicist but Einstein had been subject to the same constellation of influences which Bohr had been when he developed his views. science. Recall that Bohr took Høffding's course in the history of philosophy. rather.in the aftermath of Germany's defeat the dominant intellectual tendency in the Weimar academic world was a neo-romantic. 1918-1927: Adaptation by German Physicists and Mathematicians to a Hostile Intellectual Environment". as well as for the study of institutions and the forms of society. James. Kant's central theses about the workings of the subject in producing experience "lay at the heart of Kant's great and profound intellectual work. Why Was Complementarity Accepted? Bohr's ideas were ultimately accepted by the physics community as a whole. When the war came to its famously disastrous conclusion. III. Forman notes ." (p. having sought the credit. 1971) that following the defeat of Germany in the First World War the German academic establishment grew hostile to the idea of causality and sought a romantic. (p.. volume two of which includes almost a hundred pages devoted to Kant. explanation of the world. What explains the fairly ready acceptance by the physics community of this perspective which is so counterintuitive? I will argue with Forman ("Weimar Culture.. 31) While Høffding is hardly a Kantian. and that there is historical evidence for Bohr having studied the thinker's work.. and Kant.. I do not mean to suggest that Bohr did nothing but produce a version of others' thoughts. however. I have argued for possible influence on Bohr by Kierkegaard. took some of the blame.." Moreover. 4) During the war. art. He says of Kant that ". we may be sure that Bohr gained at least some access to Kant's central theses in his university class. and languages. of course. the problems in quantum mechanics which stimulated Bohr's meditations.. Høffding's main translated work is his twovolume History of Modern Philosophy.This brings us to the question of how Bohr may have been exposed to Kant. as opposed to scientific. Forman tries to show that . My arguments have been that Bohr's work showed a certain similarity to the work of the prior thinker. Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences. Causality. he responded to problems in the way one might were one influenced by these figures. We cannot ignore." reveling in crises and characterized by antagonism toward analytical rationality generally and toward the exact sciences and their technical applications particularly. existentialist "philosophy of life. literature. hard scientists had stressed their contribution to the war and the impending victory as a victory of science and technical rationality. This was then the intellectual milieu within which quantum mechanics was discovered and its interpretation promulgated. with the exception of Einstein and a few others. and Quantum Theory. and it is in virtue of this that he occupies the central position in the history of modern thought.the point of view which he adopted possesses general significance for the study of religion. Møller. We have seen that complementarity cannot be read out of quantum phenomena but that there are other factors which gave rise to it.
Every cultural manifestation . 30) . and therein lies the relation of destiny to life and causality to death.that scientists were blamed for "the destruction of the soul. I work a different philosophy and a different history from that which is German and hence cannot understand his work. and the whole of the intellectual and material misery bound up with that of the crisis is charged to natural science's account. The book was "Almost universally read. physicists do nothing but spin out the nature of their own subjectivity.." (p. nothing but the inner structure of the mind . 11) A paradigmatic instance of the new mode of philosophy is Spengler's Decline of the West. since I write this in a culture that is not Weimar Germany. Sarcastic critique aside... 33) It seems rather difficult to see what the difference between destiny .) But we must also bear in mind that. except that destiny is transcendently good and causality the putrescent core of evil (and physicists the wicked bearers of death).." (p. each wholly unique apart from a common life cycle. Forman cites this from Spengler: Destiny is the word for indescribable inner certainty. The Spenglerian account of world history is based on the proposition that the principal cultures are autonomous organisms. after all.. according to Spengler. science. fit the time: ". its present state.000 copies even though there were only 300.which utterly and irrevocably determines the future . Forman notes that ".art. 37.perverse and denigrating as this image is." (p.might be.. (p. it must still be recognized for what it is . 36) Moreover.on the whole its fatalisticrelativistic pessimism was precisely the right tone for a defeated Germany.an integral part of an analysis of Western culture.. It was.. (p.. by means of numbers.. the vast and ever more meaningless and threadbare fabric woven by natural science falls apart. says Forman. by means of conceptual analyses. 30) According to Forman. it is crucial to note another of Forman's citations from Spengler: "The goal [of science] reached.000 college graduates in the whole of Germany...and causality . the other to create. a gloomy 1918 publication which." (p.as bearing the guilt for the world crisis in which we stand at present. and its future prospects..which utterly and irrevocably determines the future .is simply and solely an expression of the soul of that particular culture and as such is neither "valid" nor even comprehensible outside that culture. or whatever . emphasis added) According to Spengler. as in Kant. 31) Moreover.The one requires us to dismember." (p. Spengler maintains that over the course of the twentieth century the "Destiny Idea" would replace the "Causality Principle". of the world" and that one scientist noted at the time that opponents of science treated it ".. (Perhaps it is the difference between efficient and final causality. the book had sold between 1923 and 1926 100.. One makes the essence of the causal clear by means of a physical or epistemological system. which expressed and shaped the notions and inclinations of the educated middle classes in postwar Germany.
opening pages of the volume on 'General Foundations of Physics' in the new edition of the Handbuch der Physik .empiricism=positivism=narrow specialization= utilitarianism=materialism attempting to make only an exception of Helmholtz. In this same year. who. Helmholtz was recast as an opponent of Hegel . no mention of Mach at all.not idealism ." (Forman.. 50-51) . not from Spengler.the goal of science is culture. 42) In 1925. In this essay there is. rector of the University of Würzburg from 1914-1928.... above all to Hegel.. Just before the 1918 collapse. long before there was any motivation from quantum mechanics to do so. He argued that the technological age which had given rise to classical physics was over and that the academy ought to enter the new realms of atomic and relativistic physics. they slowly began to give up causal explanations and indeed violently reject causality. he ".Over time. (p.. "Yet it is perfectly clear that... 41) In a 1920 address. not the faintest touch of positivism. It seems that von Mises was borrowing." (p." (p. p.. These areas are to be preferred because they have "taken up again 'the question of the old alchemists. Wien gave a public lecture to the effect that physics was utterly independent from philosophical concerns. he stated in a lecture that ".. were he alive today would look to "German idealism" to put us on our feet again.. In a 1919 article commemorating the 25th anniversary of Helmholtz's death. Forman notes that Wien thus implicitly concedes the series of equations made repeatedly by the antagonists of modern science . of course. 45) In 1920.. 41) He spent most of his time defending a modified version of Mach's extreme positivism. the notion that physics was of value not for technological application but for satisfying human spiritual drives and cultural expression was printed into the ". He invoked Helmholtz's name and referred to him as a "pure empiricist in particular opposition to the German idealist philosophy.D. 44) In 1929. central European physicists came to internalize these views... And one cannot help but be struck at the close correspondence between [his image of physics] and that which Spengler sketched in the final pages of the Decline of the West ." Sommerfeld spoke in 1925 to the effect that he was not advocating mysticism but merely opposing the empiricist trends of the previous period. A paradigm case of this process was the conversion of Wilhelm Wien. 49) and begun to reenumerate number mysteries.. but from Sommerfeld who had recently written an article on "A Number Mystery in the Theory of the Zeeman Effect. p. Richard von Mises had begun to lead the charge against science from his position as chair of applied mathematics at the University of Berlin.. physics candidates ought to be examined.. Sommerfeld was indeed catering to the antirational as well as the antipositivist inclinations of his audience. we are assured.represented the 'postulate of the cognizability of nature' as 'in the final analysis not so very far from the fundamental idea of the Hegelian philosophy of identity'. While physicists at first began only to recast the purpose of their discipline into one more humanistic. he wept while speaking to the effect that philosophy ought to be a subject matter on which all German Ph.and one with 'ideal' rather than 'material' goals in mind for science. But as Forman points out.'" (p." (pp." (Forman.
or to description by differential equations. is the central concept of classical physics. Wherever Bohr got the idea. then I think we must construe such repudiation as directed against the sort of cognitive enterprise in which physicists theretofore had understood themselves to be engaged.. 6-7 and 18-19 I have discussed Bohr's slippery and impoverished characterization of causality. And again. that physicists in the 1920's . Weimar German physicists did not get it from the physics. than that Kant had tainted Weimar German physics. in several senses narrower than.The physicists seemed to be inviting a sense of crisis and doom.and taking pleasure in doing so . for him.. What Does It All Mean? Bohr developed a (broadly!) Kantian interpretation of quantum mechanics under the influence of philosophers reasoning in a (broadly!) Kantian way and promulgated it to a scientific community which had already accepted a (broadly!) Kantian interpretation of human reasoning as such as being a spinning-out of its own nature and not a report of an independent world. not wider than. science is not automatically objective. an assertion of the invalidity of the law of causality. and as the justification for. to action by contact. not that they had uncovered some deep philosophical problem in their researches.if we find physicists repudiating causality . 60) In physics.occasionally [use] the word "causality". 66) It is crucially worth noting. On the one hand. Since I have not found any other source for this particular idiosyncracy of Bohr's thinking. But those physicists who wrote of the crisis in 1921 and 1922 didn't have any common ideas about its source or nature. to the conservation of energy and momentum. This shows more. ".. in many instances these special definitions of causality were advanced in conjunction with.. (p.. it is plausible that the intellectual milieu of mid20's physics was the influence under which he so mistreated the notion of causality.. as Forman notes. 69) Note that on pp. the sense of impending disaster was invested in the "crisis of the old quantum theory" which physicists felt before 1925. The general lesson which we may be able to draw is twofold.. that which tends to make science non-objective is subjectivist philosophy. IV. Hermann Weyl declared "The New Crisis in the Foundations of Mathematics" which." (p." (p. also with Forman. to the absence of action at a distance. causality seems to be action by contact or visualizability.without making any attempt to critically analyze and revise the notion itself. "determinism" . It had become fashionable. On the other hand. to visualization in space and time. Hence Forman notes that ". This suggests that the physicists were looking about for a crisis and managed to find one. for physics to be engaged in its death throes and final crisis. And Bohr's argument against causality rests on the very impoverishment that Forman here points out was characteristic of German physics as a whole.as equivalent to the laws of classical mechanics..was precipitated virtually out if thin air in the two or three years following Germany's defeat. of course. Causality. We need to notice that causality was being gutted as a concept long before the 1925 discovery of quantum mechanics. It is likely that this predisposition against causality is the very reason why quantum mechanics was interpreted as necessarily acausal and why Bohr's interpretation got such good mileage. Forman argues. however. .
In fact. there are an infinite number of equations which describe lines moving within the prescribed area. provides a mathematical equation which describes it. may have helped cause the war and the loss. The deep lesson to draw . However. Which one of these interpretations is the true one is a question for philosophy. came to insist on an acausal and anti-realist interpretation of quantum mechanics without experimental reports themselves stimulating the interpretation. The one of these theories which is mathematically simpler is usually the best theory. If these accounts of influence are correct. a causal realist sees the objective world acting in a certain way according to its own natural laws. The physical scientist. a Kantian sees the working of the human mind. Persons working under different philosophical presuppositions will interpret the data in different ways. but they did so in combination with an array of material factors such as new weapons and propaganda techniques. and hence for greater caution in the philosophical training of scientists and political leaders. For instance. which abandons objectivity in philosophy in favor of a subjectivist account is very likely to 'find' evidence for this very world-view in its science. Hence. It would be a bizarre kind of monistic historical idealism to suggest that material factors are inefficacious and that philosophy is history's sole driving force. Other ideas which stemmed from philosophy. Hence. Aim and Structure of Physical Science . the data always underdetermines ontological interpretation. what scientists report that they have seen is a matter not only of the experimental results (which don't interpret themselves). the physics community was working under philosophical influences. and Forman has shown how Weimar physicists in general. I can best explain this with the help of Pierre Duhem's notion of theory indeterminacy. in seeking to interpret this data. if x and y increase in direct proportion but with a certain margin of error. Since philosophy is the discipline which asks and answers the basic questions about the relation between the subject and object and the possibility of objectivity. it is no surprise that the philosophic milieu (in a material context which it forms and which forms it) should profoundly influence our interpretation of phenomena as objective or subjective. such as nationalism and mercantilism. but sometimes also of philosophical influence. the precision of the data is finite. 1905) Duhem notes that in any experimental report. This introduces an indeterminacy between experimental reports and their interpretation.I have shown how Bohr. we would actually fill up a space with a certain width when we allow for the margin of error of the data. At a higher level. the data always fails to determine which if any physical theory or interpretation is uniquely correct. Science is free of neither. If we trace the data as a line in an x-y coordinate grid. such as Weimar Germany. though it does serve to select group of theories which fit the data. the message did not cause the loss. But we must avoid monistic reductionism in favor of dialectical methodology. A culture. Objectivity in science rests in part on objectivity in philosophy. Weimar Germany was ripe for Spengler's Kantian message because it had lost the First World War. There is a dialectical interplay between material and ideological factors. not for science (though scientists have as much right as anyone to speculate in these areas). then they provide evidence for an interpretation of history in which philosophical ideas are a very powerful factor in shaping events. A religious mystic sees the evidence of God's existence in every action. there will be a space the width of the margin of error drawn at 45° from the origin of the graph. (Duhem.
from a dialectical study of complementarity in philosophy and history is that science describes the kind of world that philosophy tells it to describe. .