In this paper I expand Eric Scerri’s notion of Popper’s naturalised approach to reduction in chemistry and investigate what its consequences might be. I will argue that Popper’s naturalised approach to reduction has a number of interesting consequences when applied to the reduction of chemistry to physics. One of them is that it prompts us to look at a ‘bootstrap’ approach to quantumchemistry, which is based on specific quantum theoretical theorems and practical considerations that (...) turn quantum ‘theory’ into quantum ‘chemistry’ proper. This approach allows us to investigate some of the principles that drive theory formation in quantumchemistry. These ‘enabling theorems’ place certain limits on the explanatory latitude enjoyed by quantum chemists, and form a first step into establishing the relationship between chemistry and physics in more detail. (shrink)
This note is intended to address one particular issue in the relative status of QuantumChemistry in comparison to both Chemistry and Physics. It has been suggested, in the context of the question of the reduction relations between Chemistry and Physics that QuantumChemistry as a research programme is incapable of furnishing useful guidance to practising chemists. If true, this claim will let us qualify QuantumChemistry as a degenerating research programme, which, (...) due to its complexity has difficulty to be applied to Chemistry. This claim is shown to be false. The replacement claim I wish to make is that QuantumChemistry is perfectly capable of furnishing such guidance, but renders the ontological status of many models favored by chemists problematic. QuantumChemistry, however, validates these models in an instrumental fashion. I will argue that QuantumChemistry is a progressive research programme. (shrink)
This paper analyses Richard Bader’s ‘operational’ view of quantum mechanics and the role it plays in the the explanation of chemistry. I argue that QTAIM can partially be reconstructed as an ‘austere’ form of quantum mechanics, which is in turn committed to an eliminative concept of reduction that stems from Kemeny and Oppenheim. As a reductive theory in this sense, the theory fails. I conclude that QTAIM has both a regulatory and constructive function in the theories of (...)chemistry. (shrink)
Mulliken proposed an Aufbauprinzip for the molecules on the basis of molecular spectroscopy while establishing, point by point, his concept of molecular orbit. It is the concept of electronic state which becomes the lever for his attribution of electronic configurations to a molecule. In 1932, the concept of orbit was transmuted into that of the molecular orbital to integrate the probabilistic approach of Born and to achieve quantitative accuracy. On the basis of the quantum works of Hund, Wigner, Lennard-Jones (...) and group theory, he suggested the fragment method to establish the characteristics of molecular orbital for polyatomic molecules. These developments make it possible to bring elements of thought on the relation between a molecular whole and its parts . An operational realism combined with the second law of thermodynamics can pave the way for interesting tracks in the mereological study of chemical systems. (shrink)
After Heitler and London published their pioneering work on the application of quantum mechanics to chemistry in 1927, it became an almost unquestioned dogma that chemistry would soon disappear as a discipline of its own rights. Reductionism felt victorious in the hope of analytically describing the chemical bond and the structure of molecules. The old quantum theory has already produced a widely applied model for the structure of atoms and the explanation of the periodic system. This (...) paper will show two examples of the entry of quantum physics into more classical fields of chemistry: inorganic chemistry and physical chemistry. Due to their professional networking, George Hevesy and Michael Polanyi found their ways to Niels Bohr and Fritz London, respectively, to cooperate in solving together some problems of classical chemistry. Their works on rare earth elements and adsorption theory throws light to the application of quantum physics outside the reductionist areas. They support the heuristic and persuasive value of quantum thinking in the 1920–1930s. Looking at Polanyi’s later oeuvre, his experience with adsorption theory could be a starting point of his non-justificationist philosophy. (shrink)
Differing views on reduction are briefly reviewed and a suggestion is made for a working definition of 'approximate reduction'. Ab initio studies in quantumchemistry are then considered, including the issues of convergence and error bounds. This includes an examination of the classic studies on CH2 and the recent work on the Si2C molecule. I conclude that chemistry has not even been approximately reduced.
This paper widens the scope of our previous paper (Harré and Llored in Found Chem 13:63–76, 2011) by scrutinizing how whole/parts relations are involved in the study of molecules. In doing so, we point out two mereological fallacies which endanger both philosophical and chemical inferences. We also further explore how the concept of affordance is related to our mereological investigation. We then refer to quantumchemistry in order to pave the way for a new mereological approach for (...) class='Hi'>chemistry. (shrink)
This paper combines naturalized metaphysics and a philosophical reflection on a recently evolving interdisciplinary branch of quantumchemistry, ab initio molecular dynamics. Bridging the gaps among chemistry, physics, and computer science, this cutting-edge research field explores the structure and dynamics of complex molecular many-body systems through computer simulations. These simulations are allegedly crafted solely by the laws of fundamental physics, and are explicitly designed to capture nature as closely as possible. The models and algorithms employed, however, involve (...) many approximations and significant degrees of idealization of their target systems. Therefore, for philosophers of science the pivotal question of whether relying only on the fundamental laws of physics supports a reductionist or realist stance arises. One conceivable answer to this question is that the irreducible approximations and idealizations support rather anti-realist positions. After reviewing an influential attitude in the philosophy of computer simulations and the debate concerning scientific realism, I offer a fair interpretation of such ab initio modelling in quantumchemistry within a naturalistic metaphysical framework that gives rise to a specific type of ontic structural realism. (shrink)
Chemistry and physics are two sciences that are hard to connect. Yet there is significant overlap in their aims, methods, and theoretical approaches. In this book, the reduction of chemistry to physics is defended from the viewpoint of a naturalised Nagelian reduction, which is based on a close reading of Nagel's original text. This naturalised notion of reduction is capable of characterising the inter-theory relationships between theories of chemistry and theories of physics. The reconsideration of reduction also (...) leads to a new characterisation of chemical theories. This book is primarily aimed at philosophers of chemistry and chemists with an interest in philosophy, but is also of interest to the general philosopher of science. (shrink)
Most contemporary chemists consider quantum mechanics to be the foundational theory of their discipline, although few of the calculations that a strict reduction would seem to require have ever been produced. In this essay I discuss contemporary algebraic and diagrammatic representations of molecular systems derived from quantum mechanical models, specifically configuration interaction wavefunctions for ab initio calculations and molecular orbital energy diagrams. My aim is to suggest that recent dissatisfaction with reductive accounts of chemical theory may stem from (...) both the inability of standard accounts of reduction to incorporate the diverse forms of representation found in chemical practice and our philosophical predilection to analyze all connections between theories in terms of logical reduction. (shrink)
Shortly before his death, Richard Bader commented in this Journal on the dichotomy that exists within chemistry and between chemists. We believe that the dichotomy results from different goals and objectives inherent in the chemical disciplines. At one extreme are designers who synthesize new molecules with interesting properties. For these chemists, the rationale underpinning molecular synthesis is far less important than the end product—the molecules themselves. At the other extreme are the chemists who seek a fundamental understanding of molecular (...) properties. We suggest that the Quantum Theory of Atoms in Molecules, by virtue of the rich hierarchical structure inherent in the theory, offers a bridge through which to unite these two groups. However, if there is to be reconciliation, it falls to the theorists to develop “quantum mechanically” correct tools and concepts useful to the synthetic and applied chemist. (shrink)
A personal account is presented for the present status of mathematical chemistry, with emphasis on non-numerical applications. These use mainly graph-theoretical concepts. Most computational chemical applications involve quantumchemistry and are therefore largely reducible to physics, while discrete mathematical applications often do not. A survey is provided for opinions and definitions of mathematical chemistry, and then for journals, books and book series, as well as symposia of mathematical chemistry.
Periodic tables (PTs) are the ‘ultimate paper tools’ of general and inorganic chemistry. There are three fields of open questions concerning the relation between PTs and physics: (i) the relation between the chemical facts and the concept of a periodic system (PS) of chemical elements (CEs) as represented by PTs; (ii) the internal structure of the PS; (iii)␣The relation between the PS and atomistic quantumchemistry. The main open questions refer to (i). The fuzziness of the concepts (...) of chemical properties and of chemical similarities of the CE and their compounds guarantees the autonomy of chemistry. We distinguish between CEs, Elemental Stuffs and Elemental Atoms. We comment on the basic properties of the basic elements. Concerning (ii), two sharp physical numbers (nuclear charge and number of valence electrons) and two coarse fuzzy ranges (ranges of energies and of spatial extensions of the atomic orbitals, AOs) characterize the atoms of the CEs and determine the two-dimensional structure of the PS. Concerning (iii), some relevant ‘facts’ about and from quantumchemistry are reviewed and compared with common ‘textbook facts’. What counts in chemistry is the whole set of nondiffuse orbitals in low-energy average configurations of chemically bonded atoms. Decisive for the periodicity are the energy gaps between the core and valence shells. Diffuse Rydberg orbitals and minute spin–orbit splittings are important in spectroscopy and for philosophers, but less so in chemical science and for the PS. (shrink)
Summary Opinion is divided as to whether chemistry is reducible to physics. The problem can be given a satisfactory solution provided three conditions are met: that a science not be identified with its theories; that several notions of theory dependence be distinguished; and that quantumchemistry, rather than classical chemistry, be compared with physics. This paper proposes to perform all three tasks. It does so by analyzing the methodological concepts concerned as well as by examining the (...) way a chemical rate constant is derivable with the help of the quantum atomic theory. The conclusion is that chemistry, and in particular quantumchemistry, is not a part of physics although it is certainly based on the latter. (shrink)
Using the notorious bridge law “water is H 2 O” and the relation between molecular structure and quantum mechanics as examples, I argue that it doesn’t make sense to aim for specific definition(s) of intertheoretical or interdiscourse relation(s) between chemistry and physics (reduction, supervenience, what have you). Proposed definitions of interdiscourse and part-whole relations are interesting only if they provide insight in the variegated interconnected patchwork of theories and beliefs. There is “automatically” some sort of interdiscourse relation if (...) different discourses claim to have something to say about the same situation (event, system), which is the basis of (contingent) local supervenience relations, which, proper empirically support being provided, can be upgraded to ceteris paribus bridge laws. Because of the ceteris paribus feature, and the discourse dependence of event identification, there is at best only global supervenience of the “special sciences” on the physical (and of parts of physics on other parts of physics). (shrink)
This treatise presents thoughts on the divide that exists in chemistry between those who seek their understanding within a universe wherein the laws of physics apply and those who prefer alternative universes wherein the laws are suspended or ‘bent’ to suit preconceived ideas. The former approach is embodied in the quantum theory of atoms in molecules (QTAIM), a theory based upon the properties of a system’s observable distribution of charge. Science is experimental observation followed by appeal to theory (...) that, upon occasion, leads to new experiments. This is the path that led to the development of the molecular structure hypothesis—that a molecule is a collection atoms with characteristic properties linked by a network of bonds that impart a structure—a concept forged in the crucible of nineteenth century experimental chemistry. One hundred and fifty years of experimental chemistry underlie the realization that the properties of some total system are the sum of its atomic contributions. The concept of a functional group, consisting of a single atom or a linked set of atoms, with characteristic additive properties forms the cornerstone of chemical thinking of both molecules and crystals and Dalton’s atomic hypothesis has emerged as the operational theory of chemistry. We recognize the presence of a functional group in a given system and predict its effect upon the static, reactive and spectroscopic properties of the system in terms of the characteristic properties assigned to that group. QTAM gives physical substance to the concept of a functional group. (shrink)
There is now a considerable body of published work on the epistemology of modern chemistry, especially with regard to the nature of quantumchemistry. In addition, the question of the metaphysical underpinnings of chemistry has received a good deal of attention. The present article concentrates on metaphysical considerations including the question of whether elements and groups of elements are natural kinds. It is also argued that an appeal to the metaphysical nature of elements can help to (...) clarify the re-emerging controversies among chemists regarding the placement of the elements hydrogen and helium in the periodic system and the question of whether there exists a best form of the periodic table. (shrink)
In his classic work The Mind and its Place in Nature published in 1925 at the height of the development of quantum mechanics but several years after the chemists Lewis and Langmuir had already laid the foundations of the modern theory of valence with the introduction of the covalent bond, the analytic philosopher C. D. Broad argued for the emancipation of chemistry from the crass physicalism that led physicists then and later—with support from a rabblement of philosophers who (...) knew as much about chemistry as etymologists—to believe that chemistry reduced to physics. Here Broad’s thesis is recast in terms more familiar to chemists. In the hard sell of particle physics, several prominent figures in chemistry—Hoffmann, Primas, and Pauling—have had their views interpreted to imply that they were sympathetic to greedy reductionism when in fact they were not. Indeed, being chemists without physicists as alter egos, they could not but side with Broad’s contention that chemistry, as a science that deals primarily in emergent phenomena which are beyond the purview of physicalism, owes no acquiescence to particle physics and its ethereal wares. Historically, among the most widely used expediencies in chemistry and materials science are additivity or mixture rules and their cohort transferability, all of which are devised and used under the mantle of naive reductionism. Here it is argued that while the transfer of functional groups between molecules works empirically to an extent, it is strictly outlawed by the no-cloning theorem of quantum mechanics. Several illustrative examples related to chemistry’s irreducibility to physics are presented and discussed. The failure of naive reductionism exhibited by the deep-inelastic scattering of leptons by A > 2 nuclei is traced to the same flawed reasoning that was the original basis of Moffitt’s ‘atoms in molecules’ hypothesis, the neglect of context, nuclei in the case of high-energy physics and molecules in the case of chemistry. A non-exhaustive list of other contexts from physics, chemistry, and molecular biology evidencing similar departures from the ideal of additivity or reductionism is provided for the perusal of philosophers. Had the call by the mathematician J. T. Schwartz for developments in mathematical linguistics possessed of a less single, less literal, and less simple-minded nature been met, perhaps it might have persuaded scientists to abandon their regressive fixation with unphysical reductionism and to adapt to new methodologies that engender a more nuanced handling of ubiquitous emergent phenomena as they arise in Nature than is the case today. (shrink)
This article considers two important traditions concerning the chemical elements. The first is the meaning of the term “element” including the distinctions between element as basic substance, as simple substance and as combined simple substance. In addition to briefly tracing the historical development of these distinctions, I make comments on the recent attempts to clarify the fundamental notion of element as basic substance for which I believe the term “element” is best reserved. This discussion has focused on the writings of (...) Fritz Paneth which are here analyzed from a new perspective. The other tradition concerns the reduction of chemistry to quantum mechanics and an understanding of chemical elements through their microscopic components such as protons, neutrons and electrons. I claim that the use of electronic configurations has still not yet settled the question of the placement of several elements and discuss an alternative criterion based on maximizing triads of elements. I also point out another possible limitation to the reductive approach, namely the failure, up to now, to obtain a derivation of the Madelung rule. Mention is made of some recent similarity studies which could be used to clarify the nature of ‘elements’. Although it has been suggested that the notion of element as basic substance should be considered in terms of fundamental particles like protons and electrons, I resist this move and conclude that the quantum mechanical tradition has not had much impact on the question of what is an element which remains an essentially philosophical issue. (shrink)
The recent exchange on the quantum justification of the Periodic System of the Elements in this Journal between Scerri [Foundations of Chemistry 6: 93–116, 2004] and Friedrich [Foundations of Chemistry 6: 117–132, 2004] is supplemented by some methodological comments.
This paper traces the origins of Eugene Wigner's pioneering application of group theory to quantum physics to his early work in chemistry and crystallography. In the early 1920s, crystallography was the only discipline in which symmetry groups were routinely used. Wigner's early training in chemistry, and his work in crystallography with Herman Mark and Karl Weissenberg at the Kaiser Wilhelm institute for fiber research in Berlin exposed him to conceptual tools which were absent from the pedagogy available (...) to physicists for many years to come. This both enabled and pushed him to apply the group theoretic approach to quantum physics. It took many years for the approach first introduced by Wigner in the 1920s – and whose reception by the physicists was initially problematical – to assume the pivotal place it now holds in physical theory and education. This is but one example that attests to the historic contribution made by the periphery in initiating new types of thought-perspectives and scientific careers. (shrink)
It is argued that the conventional descriptions of chemical bonds as covalent, ionic, metallic, and Van der Waals are compromising the usefulness of quantum mechanics in the synthesis and design of new molecules and materials. Parallels are drawn between the state of chemistry now and when the idea that phlogiston was an element impeded the development of chemistry. Overcoming the current obstacles will require new methods to describe molecular structure and bonding, just as new concepts were needed (...) before the phlogiston theory could be set aside. (shrink)
Atomic states are rigorously characterized by the total orbital angular momentum and the total spin angular momentum, but chemists persist in the use of electron configurations based on one-electron quantum numbers and simplified rules for predicting ground state configurations. This practice is defended against two lines of criticism, and its use in teaching chemistry is encouraged with the claim that the inductive approach of Mendeleev and the deductive approach initiated by Schrödinger compose the consummate example of that interaction (...) of empirical and rational epistemologies that defines how chemists think. (shrink)
This article will explore whether there are arguments for Aristotle's concept mixis which can aid our current discussions within the philosophy of chemistry. We remain troubled by the way and extent to which chemical substance in bulk can be identified with or reduced to the stability and structure of molecules, and whether these in turn can be identified with or reduced to elemental atoms and the quantum theoretical characterization of their electrons. Aristotle was as determined as we are (...) to think through the implications of substances comprised of constituents and to question their status in chemical compounds. (shrink)
Ellis argues that certain essential properties of objects in the world not only determine the nature of these objects but also how they will behave in any situation. In this paper I will critique Ellis's essentialism from the perspective of the philosophy of chemistry, arguing that our current knowledge of chemistry in fact does not lend itself to essentialist interpretations and that this seriously undercuts Ellis's project. In particular I will criticize two key distinctions Ellis draws between internal (...) vs. external properties and essential vs. accidental properties, showing that at the chemical level such distinctions are insupportable. If essential properties only exist at the level of sub-atomic physics, then Ellis's hopes that essentialism will provide a theoretical basis for a philosophy of chemistry are at best hopes for a very distant future, since the argument that chemical structure and dynamics can be explained at the quantum level derived is purely from analogy to much simpler systems than those chemists actually study. This suggests that we have very little scientific evidence that scientific essentialism is a viable ontology. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556; e-mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
It is my pleasure to open this special issue with which we like to celebrate the fifth birthday of our journal. What was originally conceived as one special issue of HYLE that has rapidly grown to a considerable number of high quality papers for which we need at least two issues. We received a total of 19 paper submissions, some of which are still under review. The manuscripts cover nearly every aspect of models outlined in the Call for Paper (HYLE (...) 4, pp. 171f.), and much more. As far as the review procedure allows, we are going to divide the topic roughly into three topical sections, each with about four contributions. The following four papers of the present volume make up the first section that is devoted to models in quantum and computational chemistry. The second section, to be published in the next issue, is more specifically on a very peculiar type of models in chemistry: molecular models. The third and last section will be on models of complex systems, in particular in biochemistry, geochemistry, and chemical engineering. (shrink)
The "usual story" regarding molecular chemistry is that it is roughly an application of quantum mechanics. That is to say, quantum mechanics supplies everything necessary and sufficient, both ontologically and epistemologically, to reduce molecular chemistry to quantum mechanics. This is a reductive story, to be sure, but a key explanatory element of molecular chemistry, namely molecular structure, is absent from the quantum realm. On the other hand, typical characterizations of emergence, such as the (...) unpredictability or inexplicability of molecular structure based on quantum mechanics, do not characterize the relationship between molecular chemistry and quantum mechanics well either. A different scheme for characterizing reduction and emergence is proposed that accommodates the relationship between quantum mechanics and molecular chemistry and some initial objections to the scheme are considered. (shrink)
The "usual story" regarding molecular chemistry is that it is roughly an application of quantum mechanics. That is to say, quantum mechanics supplies everything necessary and sufficient, both ontologically and epistemologically to reduce molecular chemistry to quantum mechanics. This is a reductive story, to be sure, but a key explanatory element of molecular chemistry, namely molecular structure, is absent from the quantum realm. On the other hand, typical characterizations of emergence, such as the (...) unpredictability or inexplicability of molecular structure based on quantum mechanics do not characterize the relationship between molecular chemistry and quantum mechanics well either. A different scheme for characterizing reduction and emergence is proposed that accommodates the relationship between quantum mechanics and molecular chemistry and some initial objections to the scheme are considered. (shrink)
Work on the central problems of the philosophy of science has led the author to attempt to create an intelligible version of quantum theory. The basic idea is that probabilistic transitions occur when new stationary or particle states arise as a result of inelastic collisions.
A recent rethinking of the early history of Quantum Mechanics deemed the late 1920s agreement on the equivalence of Matrix Mechanics and Wave Mechanics, prompted by Schrödinger’s 1926 proof, a myth. Schrödinger supposedly failed to achieve the goal of proving isomorphism of the mathematical structures of the two theories, while only later developments in the early 1930s, especially the work of mathematician John von Neumman (1932) provided sound proof of equivalence. The alleged agreement about the Copenhagen Interpretation, predicated to (...) a large extent on this equivalence, was deemed a myth as well. If such analysis is correct, it provides considerable evidence that, in its critical moments, the foundations of scientific practice might not live up to the minimal standards of rigor, as such standards are established in the practice of logic, mathematics, and mathematical physics, thereby prompting one to question the rationality of the practice of physics. In response, I argue that Schrödinger’s proof concerned primarily a domain-specific ontological equivalence, rather than the isomorphism. It stemmed initially from the agreement of the eigenvalues of Wave Mechanics and energy-states of Bohr’s Model that was discovered and published by Schrödinger in his First and Second Communications of 1926. Schrödinger demonstrated in this proof that the laws of motion arrived at by the method of Matrix Mechanics could be derived successfully from eigenfunctions as well (while he only outlined the reversed derivation of eigenfunctions from Matrix Mechanics, which was necessary for the proof of isomorphism of the two theories). This result was intended to demonstrate the domain-specific ontological equivalence of Matrix Mechanics and Wave Mechanics, with respect to the domain of Bohr’s atom. And although the full-fledged mathematico-logical equivalence of the theories did not seem out of the reach of existing theories and methods, Schrödinger never intended to fully explore such a possibility in his proof paper. In a further development of Quantum Mechanics, Bohr’s complementarity and Copenhagen Interpretation captured a more substantial convergence of the subsequently revised (in light of the experimental results) Wave and Matrix Mechanics. I argue that both the equivalence and Copenhagen Interpretation can be deemed myths if one predicates the philosophical and historical analysis on a narrow model of physical theory which disregards its historical context, and focuses exclusively on its formal aspects and the exploration of the logical models supposedly implicit in it. (shrink)
Eric Scerri and other authors have acknowledged that the reality of chemical orbitals is not compatible with quantum mechanics. Recently, however, Scerri and Sharon Crasnow have argued that if chemists cannot consider orbitals as real entities, then chemistry is in danger of being reduced to physics. I argue that the question of the existence of orbitals is best viewed as an issue of approximation, not metaphysics: in many chemically important cases orbitals do not make sufficiently accurate predictions, and (...) must be replaced. Chemists and physicists can acknowledge this fact while maintaining the utility of orbitals and the autonomy of chemistry. (shrink)
One of the most influential physics books of the twentieth century was actually about biology. In a series of lectures, Erwin Schrödinger described how he believed that quantum mechanics, or some variant of it, would soon solve the riddle of life. These lectures were published in 1944 under the title What is life? and are credited by some as ushering in the age of molecular biology. In the nineteenth century, many scientists thought they knew the answer to Schrödinger’s rhetorical (...) question. Life, they maintained, was some sort of magic matter. The continued use of the term ‘organic chemistry’ is a hangover from that era. The belief that there is a chemical recipe for life led to the hope that, if only we knew what it was, we could mix up the right stuff in a test tube and make life in the lab. Most research on biogenesis has followed that tradition, by assuming that chemistry was a bridge — and a long one at that — linking matter with life. Elucidating this chemical pathway has been a tantalizing goal, spurred on by the famous Miller–Urey experiment of 1952, in which amino acids were made by sparking electricity through a mixture of water and common gases. But the concept has turned out to be something of a blind alley, and further progress with prebiotic chemical synthesis has been frustratingly slow. The origin of life remains one of the great outstanding mysteries of science. To take up Schrödinger’s suggestion, a radical solution to the problem, ‘What is life?’ could be that quantum mechanics enabled life to emerge directly from the atomic world, without the need for complex intermediate chemistry. Life must have a chemical basis: organic molecules provide the hardware for biology. But what about the software? When Schrödinger asked, ‘What is life?’ he could already glimpse the central significance of the cell’s information storage and replication processes, even though the role of DNA and the genetic code was yet to be discovered.. (shrink)
Despite its importance to Chemistry, the Pauli Exclusion Principle appears as a rather ad hoc addition to quantum mechanics. In this paper a description of its origin is given together with a critical discussion of its use and significance in Chemistry and Quantum Physics.
By analysing a contemporary criticism to the so called “mathematical chemistry”, we discuss what we understand by mathematizing chemistry and its implications. We then pass to ponder on some positions on the subject by considering the cases of Laszlo, Venel and Diderot, opponents to the idea of mathematization of chemistry. In contrast, we analyse some scholars’ ideas on the fruitful relationship between mathematics and chemistry; here Dirac and Brown are considered. Finally, we mention that the mathematical– (...) class='Hi'>chemistry relationship should be considered beyond the mere aspect of whether chemistry is or not able to be mathematized. This discussion is based upon opinions by Kant and Comte, the first one having two positions on chemistry based upon mathematics and the latter mooting the idea of doing chemistry with mathematical spirit. (shrink)
The Pauli Exclusion Principle and the reduction of chemistry have been the subject of considerable philosophical debate, The present article considers the view that the lack of derivability of the Exclusion Principle represents a problem for physics and denies the reduction of chemistry to quantum mechanics. The possible connections between the Exclusion Principle and the hidden variable debate are also briefly criticised.
Philosophers of chemistry, following the lead of physicists, have been slow to realize that molecular descriptions issuing from quantum mechanics in the absence of chemical theory are fatally flawed. In the wake of this realization, new topics have begun to unfoldincluding new metaphysical issues, new concerns about the philosophy of chemistry's place in the philosophy of science, and new accounts of how properties are observed, inferred, and presented. A recent collection of essays, Of Minds and Molecules: New (...) Philosophical Perspectives on Chemistry edited by Nalini Bhushan and Stuart Rosenfeld, reveals what some of these new issues are and suggests new directions for the philosophy of chemistry. (shrink)
This study discusses the relationship between Green Chemistry and Environmental Sustainability as expressed in textbooks and articles on Green Chemistry authored by their promoters. It was found that although the Brundtland concept of Sustainable Development/Sustainability has been mentioned often by green chemists, a full analysis of that relationship was almost never attempted. In particular, green chemists have paid scarce attention to the importance of The Second Law of thermodynamics on Environmental Sustainability and the consequences of the limitations it (...) imposes on Green Chemistry, which are discussed in this paper. (shrink)
The historical development of the electronic configuration model is traced and the status of the model with respect to quantum mechanics is examined. The successes and problems raised by the model are explored, particularly in chemical ab initio calculations. The relevance of these issues to whether chemistry has been reduced to quantum mechanics is discussed, as are some general notions on reduction.
There is a particular irony that chemistry – the most visual, tactile, and pungent of sciences – is rarely associated with modern notions of aesthetics and science. Indeed, as any examination of aesthetics and modern science reveals, physics, rather than chemistry or biology, is considered the paradigm because of its extraordinary ability to comprehend and communicate through the symbolic language of mathematics. Echoing Heisenberg’s 1970 essay, "The Meaning of Beauty in the Exact Sciences", this perspective on physics takes (...) the inherent abstraction of quantum mechanics and relativity as the result of the physicists’ search for beauty in nature. (shrink)
The fundamental concept of structured chemical system has been introduced and analysed in this paper. This concept, as in biology but not in physics, is very important in chemistry. In fact, the main chemical concepts (molecule and compound) have been identified as systemic concepts and their use in chemical explanation can only be justified in this approach. The fundamental concept of “environment” has been considered and then the system concept in mechanics, chemistry and biology. The differences and the (...) analogies between the use of the systemic approach in these disciplines have been analyzed and correlated to the general problem of reductionism and complexity perspectives. The inanimate–animate dichotomy can be reconsidered in this new approach. Since the chemical systemic concepts of molecule and compound can be dated to the nineteenth century, chemistry can be considered the first true systemic science and its historical evolution can be a model for other sciences (such as the humanities) where the systemic concepts are important. (shrink)
I discuss the quantum mechanical theory of consciousness and freewill offered by Stapp (1993, 1995, 2000, 2004). First I show that decoherence-based arguments do not work against this theory. Then discuss a number of problems with the theory: Stapp's separate accounts of consciousness and freewill are incompatible, the interpretations of QM they are tied to are questionable, the Zeno effect could not enable freewill as he suggests because weakness of will would then be ubiquitous, and the holism of measurement (...) in QM is not a good explanation of the unity of consciousness for essentially the same reason that local interactions may seem incapable to account for it. (shrink)
We argue that human consciousness may be a property of single electron in the brain. We suppose that each electron in the universe has at least primitive consciousness. Each electron subjectively “observes” its quantum dynamics (energy, momentum, “shape” of wave function) in the form of sensations and other mental phenomena. However, some electrons in neural cells have complex “human” consciousnesses due to complex quantum dynamics in complex organic environment. We discuss neurophysiological and physical aspects of this hypothesis and (...) show that: (1) single chemically active electron has enough informational capacity to “contain” the richness of human subjective experience; (2) quantum states of some electrons might be directly influenced by human sensory data and have direct influence upon human behavior in real brain; (3) main physical and philosophical drawbacks of “conventional” “quantum theories of consciousness” may be solved by our hypothesis without much changes in their conceptual basis. We do not suggest any “new physics”, and our neuroscientific assumptions are similar to those used by other proponents of “quantum consciousness”. However, our hypothesis suggests radical changes in our view on human and physical reality. (shrink)
_René Descartes proposed an interactive dualism that posits an interaction between the_ _mind of a human being and some of the matter located in his or her brain. Isaac Newton_ _subsequently formulated a physical theory based exclusively on the material/physical_ _part of Descartes’ ontology. Newton’s theory enforced the principle of the causal closure_ _of the physical, and the classical physics that grew out of it enforces this same principle._ _This classical theory purports to give, in principle, a complete deterministic account (...) of the_ _physically described properties of nature, expressed exclusively in terms of these_ _physically described properties themselves. Orthodox contemporary physical theory_ _violates this principle in two separate ways. First, it injects random elements into the_ _dynamics. Second, it allows, and also requires, abrupt probing actions that disrupt the_ _mechanistically described evolution of the physically described systems. These probing_ _actions are called Process 1 interventions by von Neumann. They are psycho-physical_ _events. Neither the content nor the timing of these events is determined either by any_ _known law, or by the afore-mentioned random elements. Orthodox quantum mechanics_ _considers these events to be instigated by choices made by conscious agents. In von_ _Neumann’s formulation of quantum theory each such intervention acts upon the state of_ _the brain of some conscious agent. Thus orthodox von Neumann contemporary physics_ _posits an interactive dualism similar to that of Descartes. But in this quantum version the_ _effects of the conscious choices upon our brains are controlled, in part, by the known_ _basic rules of quantum physics. This theoretically specified mind-brain connection allows_ _many basic psychological and neuropsychological findings associated with the apparent_ _physical effectiveness of our conscious volitional efforts to be explained in a causal and_ _practically useful way.. (shrink)
The textbook presentation of quantum mechanics, in a nutshell, is this. The physical state of any isolated system evolves deterministically in accordance with Schrödinger's equation until a "measurement" of some physical magnitude M (e.g. position, energy, spin) is made. Restricting attention to the case where the values of M are discrete, the system's pre-measurement state-vector f is a linear combination, or "superposition", of vectors f1, f2,... that individually represent states that..
We show that consciousness may violate the basic quantum principle, according to which the nonorthogonal quantum states can't be distinguished. This implies that the physical world is not causally closed without consciousness, and consciousness is a fundamental property of matter.
This paper offers a critical assessment of the current state of the debate about the identity and individuality of material objects. Its main aim, in particular, is to show that, in a sense to be carefully specified, the opposition between the Leibnizian ‘reductionist’ tradition, based on discernibility, and the sort of ‘primitivism’ that denies that facts of identity and individuality must be analysable has become outdated. In particular, it is argued that—contrary to a widespread consensus—‘naturalised’ metaphysics supports both the acceptability (...) of non-qualitatively grounded (both ‘contextual’ and intrinsic) identity and a pluralistic approach to individuality and individuation. A case study is offered that focuses on non-relativistic quantum mechanics, in the context of which primitivism about identity and individuality, rather than being regarded as unscientific, is on the contrary suggested to be preferable to the complicated forms of reductionism that have recently been proposed. More generally, by assuming a plausible form of anti-reductionism about scientific theories and domains, it is claimed that science can be regarded as compatible with, or even as suggesting, the existence of a series of equally plausible grades of individuality. The kind of individuality that prevails in a certain context and at a given level can be ascertained only on the basis of the specific scientific theory at hand. (shrink)
Rudyard Kipling, the famous English author of The 'Jungle Book', born in India, wrote one day these words: 'Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet'. In my Essay I show that Kipling was not completely right. I try to show the common ground between Buddhist philosophy and quantum physics. There is a surprising paralelism between the philosophical concept of reality articulated by Nagarjuna and the physical concept of reality implied by quantum (...) physics. For neither is there a fundamental core to reality; rather, reality concists of systems of interacting objects. Such concepts of reality cannot be reconciled with the substantial, subjective, holistic or instrumentalistic concepts of reality that underlie modern modes of thought. (shrink)
It has been widely thought that consciousness has no causal efficacy in the physical world. However, this may be not the case. In this paper, we show that a conscious being can distinguish definite perceptions and their quantum superpositions, while a physical measuring system without consciousness cannot distinguish such nonorthogonal quantum states. The possible existence of this distinct quantum physical effect of consciousness may have interesting implications for the science of consciousness. In particular, it suggests that consciousness (...) is not emergent but a fundamental feature of the universe. This may provide a possible quantum basis for panpsychism. (shrink)
Quantum indeterminism may make available the option of an interactionism that does not have to pay the price of a force over and above those forces that are acknowledged in physics in order to explain how intentions can be physically effective. I show how this option might work in concrete terms and offer a criticism of it.
René Descartes proposed an interactive dualism that posits an interaction between the mind of a human being and some of the matter located in his or her brain. Isaac Newton subsequently formulated a physical theory based exclusively on the material/physical part of Descartes’ ontology. Newton’s theory enforced the principle of the causal closure of the physical, and the classical physics that grew out of it enforces this same principle. This classical theory purports to give, in principle, a complete deterministic account (...) of the physically described properties of nature, expressed exclusively in terms of these physically described properties themselves. Orthodox contemporary physical theory violates this principle in two separate ways. First, it injects random elements into the dynamics. Second, it allows, and also requires, abrupt probing actions that disrupt the mechanistically described evolution of the physically described systems. These probing actions are called Process 1 interventions by von Neumann. They are psycho-physical events. Neither the content nor the timing of these events is determined either by any known law, or by the afore-mentioned random elements. Orthodox quantum mechanics considers these events to be instigated by choices made by conscious agents. In von Neumann’s formulation of quantum theory each such intervention acts upon the state of the brain of some conscious agent. Thus orthodox von Neumann contemporary physics posits an interactive dualism similar to that of Descartes. But in this quantum version the effects of the conscious choices upon our brains are controlled, in part, by the known basic rules of quantum physics. This theoretically specified mind-brain connection allows many basic psychological and neuropsychological findings associated with the apparent physical effectiveness of our conscious volitional efforts to be explained in a causal and practically useful way.. (shrink)
The central thesis of this paper is that contemporary theoretical physics is grounded in philosophical presuppositions that make it difficult to effectively address the problems of subject-object interaction and discontinuity inherent to quantum gravity. The core objectivist assumption implicit in relativity theory and quantum mechanics is uncovered and we see that, in string theory, this assumption leads into contradiction. To address this challenge, a new philosophical foundation is proposed based on the phenomenology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Martin Heidegger. (...) Then, through the application of qualitative topology and hypernumbers, phenomenological ideas about space, time, and dimension are brought into focus so as to provide specific solutions to the problems of force-field generation and unification. The phenomenological string theory that results speaks to the inconclusiveness of conventional string theory and resolves its core contradiction. (shrink)
I offer an account of how the quantum theory we have helps us explain so much. The account depends on a pragmatist interpretation of the theory: This takes a quantum state to serve solely as a source of sound advice to physically situated agents on the content and appropriate degree of belief about matters concerning which they are currently inevitably ignorant. The general account of how to use quantum states and probabilities to explain otherwise puzzling regularities is (...) then illustrated by showing how we can explain single particle interference phenomena, the stability of matter, and interference of Bose-Einstein condensates. Finally I note some open problems and relate this account to alternative approaches to explanation that emphasize the importance of causation, of unification, and of structure. (shrink)
One of the most prospective directions of study of C.G. Jung’s synchronicity phenomenon is reviewed considering the latest achievements of modern science. The attention is focused mainly on the quantum entanglement and related phenomena – quantum coherence and quantum superposition. It is shown that the quantum non-locality capable of solving the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox represents one of the most adequate physical mechanisms in terms of conformity with the Jung’s synchronicity hypothesis. An attempt is made on psychophysiological substantiation (...) of synchronicity within the context of molecular biology. An original concept is proposed, stating that biological molecules involved in cell division during mitosis and meiosis, particularly DNA may be considered material carriers of consciousness. This assumption may be formulated on the basis of phenomenology of Jung’s analytical psychology. (shrink)
b>: Replacing faulty nineteenth century physics by its orthodox quantum successor converts the earlier materialist conception of nature to a structure that does not enforce the principle of the causal closure of the physical. The quantum laws possess causal gaps, and these gaps are filled in actual scientific practice by inputs from our streams of consciousness. The form of the quantum laws permits and suggests the existence of an underlying reality that is built not on substances, but (...) on psychophysical events, and on objective tendencies for these events to occur. These events constitute intrinsic mind-brain connections. They are fundamental links between brain processes described in physical terms and events in our streams of consciousness. This quantum ontology confers upon our conscious intentions the causal efficacy assigned to them in actual scientific practice, and creates a substance- free interactive dualism. This putative quantum ontology has previously been shown to have impressive explanatory power in both psychology and neuroscience. Here it is used to reconcile the existence of physically efficacious conscious free will with causal anomalies of both the Libet and Einstein-Rosen-Podolsky types. (shrink)
The measurement problem of quantum theory is discussed, and the difficulty of trying to solve it within the confines of a local, Lorentz-invariant physics is emphasised. This leads to the obvious suggestion to seek a solution beyond physics, in particular, by introducing the concept of consciousness. The resulting dualistic model, in the natural form suggested by quantum theory, is shown to differ in several respects from the classical model of Descartes, and to suggest solutions to some of the (...) long-standing problems concerning the relation of consciousness to the physical world. (shrink)
This paper attempts to build a bridge between the interpretation of quantum theory and the philosophy of mind. In contrast to other such attempts, the bridge which this paper suggests does not consist in extending features of quantum theory to the philosophy of mind. The argument of this paper is that the discussion about a revision of the Cartesian tradition in current philosophy of mind is relevant to the interpretation of quantum theory: taking this discussion into account (...) sharpens up the task for the interpretation of quantum physics as far as the scope of what is known as quantum holism is concerned. In particular, considering this discussion makes out a strong case against the interpretation that considers quantum holism to be universal in the physical realm. (shrink)
Niels Bohr, founding father of modern atomic physics and quantum theory, was as original a philosopher as he was a physicist. This study explores several dimensions of Bohr's vision: the formulation of quantum theory and the problems associated with its interpretation, the notions of complementarity and correspondence, the debates with Einstein about objectivity and realism, and his sense of the infinite harmony of nature. Honner focuses on Bohr's epistemological lesson, the conviction that all our description of nature is (...) dependent on the words we use and the ways we can unambiguously use them. (shrink)
Replies are given to arguments advanced in this journal that claim to show that it is to nonlinear classical mechanics rather than quantum mechanics that one must look for the physical underpinnings of conscious ness..
In the Critique of Pure Reason Kant argues that the empirical knowledge of the world depends on a priori conditions of human sensibility and understanding, i. e., our capacities of sense experience and concept formation. The objective knowledge presupposes, on one hand, space and time as a priori conditions of sensibility and, on another hand, a priori judgments, like the principle of causality, as constitutive conditions of understanding. The problem is that in the XX century the physical science completely changed (...) how we conceive our knowledge of the world. Face to this new situation, what was changed in our classical reason? However, if the transcendental point of view is adopted, in the specific case of quantum mechanics, we have to wonder about the general conditions of this theory that make possible such knowledge, which predictive value is much more accurate than the classical physics. The aim of this work is firstly to show the Kantian implications on Bohr’s interpretation of quantum phenomena and secondly to provide an overview of the key elements for understanding the transcendental locus of ordinary language in the quantum mechanics context, in order to give support to a transcendental pragmatic position in the analysis of science. (shrink)
The Everett interpretation of quantum theory requires either the existence of an infinite number of conscious minds associated with each brain or the existence of one universal consciousness. Reasons are given, and the two ideas are compared.
It is usually taken for granted that orthodox quantum theory poses a serious problem for scientific realism, in that the theory is empirically extraordinarily successful, and yet has instrumentalism built into it. This paper stand this view on its head. I argue that orthodox quantum theory suffers from a number of serious (if not always noticed) defects precisely because of its inbuilt instrumentalism. This defective character of orthdoox quantum theory thus undermines instrumentalism, and supports scientific realism. I (...) go on to consider whether there is here the basis of a general argument against instrumentalism. (shrink)
Rob Clifton was one of the most brilliant and productive researchers in the foundations and philosophy of quantum theory, who died tragically at the age of 38. Jeremy Butterfield and Hans Halvorson collect fourteen of his finest papers here, drawn from the latter part of his career (1995-2002), all of which combine exciting philosophical discussion with rigorous mathematical results. Many of these papers break wholly new ground, either conceptually or technically. Others resolve a vague controversy intoa precise technical problem, (...) which is then solved; still others solve an open problem that had been in the air for soem time. All of them show scientific and philosophical creativity of a high order, genuinely among the very best work in the field. The papers are grouped into four Parts. First come four papers about the modal interpretation of quantum mechanics. Part II comprises three papers on the foundations of algebraic quantum field theory, with an emphasis on entanglement and nonlocality. The two papers in Part III concern the concept of a particle in relativistic quantum theories. One paper analyses localization; the other analyses the Unruh effect (Rindler quanta) using the algebraic approach to quantum theory. Finally, Part IV contains striking new results about such central issues as complementarity, Bohr's reply to the EPR argument, and no hidden variables theorems; and ends with a philosophical survey of the field of quantum information. The volume includes a full bibliography of Clifton's publications. Quantum Entanglements offers inspiration and substantial reward to graduates and professionals in the foundations of physics, with a background in philosophy, physics, or mathematics. (shrink)
There have been suggestions that the unity of consciousness may be related to the kind of holism depicted only in quantum physics. This argument will be clarified and strengthened. It requires the brain to contain a quantum system with the right properties — a Bose-Einstein condensate. It probably does contain one such system, as both theory and experiment have indicated. In fact, we cannot pay full attention to a quantum whole and its parts simultaneously, though we may (...) oscillate between the two. In a quantum theory of consciousness, emergent meanings arise as an inevitable consequence of Heisenberg''s Uncertainty Principle. (shrink)
An account is given of a recent proposal to complete modern quantum theory by adding a characterisation of consciousness. The resulting theory is applied to give mechanisms for typical parapsychological phenomena, and ways of testing it are discussed.
Quantum field theory (QFT) combines quantum mechanics with Einstein's special theory of relativity and underlies elementary particle physics. This book presents a philosophical analysis of QFT. It is the first treatise in which the philosophies of space-time, quantum phenomena, and particle interactions are encompassed in a unified framework. Describing the physics in nontechnical terms, and schematically illustrating complex ideas, the book also serves as an introduction to fundamental physical theories. The philosophical interpretation both upholds the reality of (...) the quantum world and acknowledges the irreducible cognitive elements in its representation. The interpretation is based on an analysis of our ways of thinking as the are embedded in the logical structure of QFT. The author argues that philosophical categories are significant only if they play active and essential roles in our knowledge and hence constitute part of the theories in actual use. Thus she regards physical theories as primary, extracts their categorical structure, and uses it to rethink key philosophical questions. Among the questions this book tries to answer are: What are the quantum properties independent of measurements? How do we refer to individual things in a continuous field? How do theories relate to objects? What are the general conditions of the world and of our ways of thinking that make possible our knowledge of the microscopic realm, which is so intangible and counterintuitive? As a penetrating analysis of vital themes in contemporary science, the book will engage the interest of students and professionals in physics and philosophy alike. (shrink)
In Process and Reality and other works, Alfred North Whitehead struggled to come to terms with the impact the new science of quantum mechanics would have on metaphysics.This ambitious book is the first extended analysis of the intricate relationships between relativity theory, quantum mechanics, and Whitehead's cosmology. Michael Epperson illuminates the intersection of science and philosophy in Whitehead's work-and details Whitehead's attempts to fashion an ontology coherent with quantum anomalies.Including a nonspecialist introduction to quantum mechanics, Epperson (...) adds an essential new dimension to our understanding of Whitehead-and of the constantly enriching encounter between science and philosophy in our century. (shrink)
In this new edition, Arthur Fine looks at Einstein's philosophy of science and develops his own views on realism. A new Afterword discusses the reaction to Fine's own theory. "What really led Einstein . . . to renounce the new quantum order? For those interested in this question, this book is compulsory reading."--Harvey R. Brown, American Journal of Physics "Fine has successfully combined a historical account of Einstein's philosophical views on quantum mechanics and a discussion of some of (...) the philosophical problems associated with the interpretation of quantum theory with a discussion of some of the contemporary questions concerning realism and antirealism. . . . Clear, thoughtful, [and] well-written."--Allan Franklin, Annals of Science "Attempts, from Einstein's published works and unpublished correspondence, to piece together a coherent picture of 'Einstein realism.' Especially illuminating are the letters between Einstein and fellow realist Schrodinger, as the latter was composing his famous 'Schrodinger-Cat' paper."--Nick Herbert, New Scientist "Beautifully clear. . . . Fine's analysis is penetrating, his own results original and important. . . . The book is a splendid combination of new ways to think about quantum mechanics, about realism, and about Einstein's views of both."--Nancy Cartwright, Isis. (shrink)
This paper tries to get a grip on two seemingly conflicting intuitions about reductionism in quantum mechanics. On the one hand it is received wisdom that quantum mechanics puts an end to ‘reductionism’. Quantum-entanglement is responsible for such features of quantum mechanics as holism, the failure of supervenience and emergence. While I agree with these claims I will argue that it is only part of the story. Quantum mechanics provides us with thorough-going reductionist explanations. I (...) will distinguish two kinds of micro-explanation (or micro-‘reduction’). I will argue that even though quantum-entanglement provides an example for the failure of one kind of micro-explanation it does not affect the other. Contrary to a recent paper by Kronz and Tiehen I claim that the explanation of the dynamics of quantum mechanical systems is just as reductionist as it used to be in classical mechanics. (shrink)
This paper attempts an interpretation of Everett's relative state formulation of quantum mechanics that avoids the commitment to new metaphysical entities like âworldsâ or âmindsâ. Starting from Everett's quantum mechanical model of an observer, it is argued that an observer's belief to be in an eigenstate of the measurement (corresponding to the observation of a well-defined measurement outcome) is consistent with the fact that she objectively is in a superposition of such states. Subjective states corresponding to such beliefs (...) are constructed. From an analysis of these subjective states and their dynamics it is argued that Everett's pure wave mechanics is subjectively consistent with von Neumann's classical formulation of quantum mechanics. It follows from the argument that the objective state of a system is in principle unobservable. Nevertheless, an adequate concept of empirical reality can be constructed. (shrink)
Aiming to unravel the mystery of quantum mechanics, this book is concerned with questions about action-at-a-distance, holism, and whether quantum mechanics gives a complete account of microphysical reality. With rigorous arguments and clear thinking, the author provides an introduction to the philosophy of physics.
As is well known, Einstein was dissatisfied with the foundation of quantum theory and sought to find a basis for it that would have satisfied his need for a causal explanation. In this paper this abandoned idea is investigated. It is found that it is mathematically not dead at all. More in particular: a quantum mechanical U(1) gauge invariant Dirac equation can be derived from Einstein's gravity field equations. We ask ourselves what it means for physics, the history (...) of physics and for the actual discussion on foundations. (shrink)
What is quantum mechanics about? The most natural way to interpret quantum mechanics realistically as a theory about the world might seem to be what is called wave function ontology: the view according to which the wave function mathematically represents in a complete way fundamentally all there is in the world. Erwin Schroedinger was one of the first proponents of such a view, but he dismissed it after he realized it led to macroscopic superpositions (if the wave function (...) evolves in time according to the equations that has his name). The Many-Worlds interpretation1 accepts the existence of such macroscopic superpositions but takes it that they can never be observed. Superposed objects and superposed observers split together in different worlds of the type of the one we appear to live in. For these who, like Schroedinger, think that macroscopic superpositions are a problem, the common wisdom is that there are two alternative views: "Either the wave function, as given by the Schroedinger equation, is not everything, or is not right" [Bell 1987]. The deBroglie-Bohm theory, now commonly known as Bohmian Mechanics, takes the first option: the description provided by a Schroedinger-evolving wave function is supplemented by the information provided by the configuration of the particles. The second possibility consists in assuming that, while the wave function provides the complete description of the system, its temporal evolution is not given by the Schroedinger equation. Rather, the usual Schroedinger evolution is interrupted by random and sudden "collapses". The most promising theory of this kind is the GRW theory, named after the scientists that developed it: Gian Carlo Ghirardi, Alberto Rimini and Tullio Weber.. It seems tempting to think that in GRW we can take the wave function ontologically seriously and avoid the problem of macroscopic superpositions just allowing for quantum jumps. In this paper we will argue that such "bare" wave function ontology is not possible, neither for GRW nor for any other quantum theory: quantum mechanics cannot be about the wave function simpliciter. That is, we need more structure than the one provided by the wave function. As a response, quantum theories about the wave function can be supplemented with structure, without taking it as an additional ontology. We argue in reply that such "dressed-up" versions of wave function ontology are not sensible, since they compromise the acceptability of the theory as a satisfactory fundamental physical theory. Therefore we maintain that: 1- Strictly speaking, it is not possible to interpret quantum theories as theories about the wave function; 2- Even if the wave function is supplemented by additional non-ontological structures, there are reasons not to take the resulting theory seriously. Moreover, we will argue that any of the traditional responses to the measurement problem of quantum mechanics (Bohmian mechanics, GRW and Many-Worlds), contrarily to what commonly believed, share a common structure. That is, we maintain that: 3- All quantum theories should be regarded as theories in which physical objects are constituted by a primitive ontology. The primitive ontology is mathematically represented in the theory by a mathematical entity in three-dimensional space, or space-time. (shrink)
The basic theme of Popper's philosophy--that something can come from nothing--is related to the present situation in physical theory. Popper carries his investigation right to the center of current debate in quantum physics. He proposes an interpretation of physics--and indeed an entire cosmology--which is realist, conjectural, deductivist and objectivist, anti-positivist, and anti-instrumentalist. He stresses understanding, reminding us that our ignorance grows faster than our conjectural knowledge.
Recent years saw the rise of an interest in the roles and significance of thought experiments in different areas of human thinking. Heisenberg's gamma ray microscope is no doubt one of the most famous examples of a thought experiment in physics. Nevertheless, this particular thought experiment has not received much detailed attention in the philosophical literature on thought experiments up to date, maybe because of its often claimed inadequacies. In this paper, I try to do two things: to provide an (...) interesting interpretation of the roles played by Heisenberg's gamma ray microscope in interpreting quantum mechanics – partly based on Thomas Kuhn’s views on the function of thought experiments – and to contribute to the ongoing discussions on the roles and significance of thought experiments in physics. (shrink)
The objective of this report is twofold. In the first place it aims to demonstrate that a four-dimensional local U(1) gauge invariant relativistic quantum mechanical Dirac-type equation is derivable from the equations for the classical electromagnetic field. In the second place, the transformational consequences of this local U(1) invariance are used to obtain solutions of different Maxwell equations.
This paper investigates the possibiity of developing a fully micro realistic version of elementary quantum mechanics. I argue that it is highly desirable to develop such a version of quantum mechanics, and that the failure of all current versions and interpretations of quantum mechanics to constitute micro realistic theories is at the root of many of the interpretative problems associated with quantum mechanics, in particular the problem of measurement. I put forward a propensity micro realistic version (...) of quantum mechanics, and suggest how it might be possible to discriminate, on expermental grounds, between this theory and other versions of quantum mechanics. (shrink)
Contrary to Bell’s theorem it is demonstrated that with the use of classical probability theory the quantum correlation can be approximated. Hence, one may not conclude from experiment that all local hidden variable theories are ruled out by a violation of inequality result.
This comprehensive volume marks a new standard in scholarship in the still emerging field of the philosophy of chemistry. With selections drawn from a wide range of scholarly disciplines, philosophers, chemists, and historians of science here converge to ask some of the most fundamental questions about the relationship between philosophy and chemistry. What can chemistry teach us about longstanding disputes in the philosophy of science over such issues as reductionism, autonomy, and supervenience? And what new issues may (...)chemistry bring to the forefront now that it has joined physics and biology as a serious topic for philosophical reflection? This newest addition to the prestigious Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science series marks the true arrival of philosophy of chemistry within the corpus of the philosophy of science. (shrink)
Carlo Rovelli's relational interpretation of quantum mechanics holds that a system's states or the values of its physical quantities as normally conceived only exist relative to a cut between a system and an observer or measuring instrument. Furthermore, on Rovelli's account, the appearance of determinate observations from pure quantum superpositions happens only relative to the interaction of the system and observer. Jeffrey Barrett () has pointed out that certain relational interpretations suffer from what we might call the ‘determinacy (...) problem', but Barrett misclassifies Rovelli's interpretation by lumping it in with Mermin's view, as Rovelli's view is quite different and has resources to escape the particular criticisms that Barrett makes of Mermin's view. Rovelli's interpretation still leaves us with a paradox having to do with the determinacy of measurement outcomes, which can be accepted only if we are willing to give up on certain elements of the ‘absolute’ view of the world. (shrink)
This paper deals with the version of Jung’s synchronicity in which correlation between mental processes of two different persons takes place not just in the case when at a certain moment of time the subjects are located at a distance from each other, but also in the case when both persons are alternately (and sequentially, one after the other) located in the same point of space. In this case, a certain period of time lapses between manifestation of mental process in (...) one person and manifestation of mental process in the other person. Transmission of information from one person to the other via classical communication channel is ruled out. The author proposes a hypothesis, whereby such manifestation of synchronicity may become possible thanks to existence of quantum entanglement between the past and the future within the light cone. This hypothesis is based on the latest perception of the nature of quantum vacuum. (shrink)
Quantum Theory and the Flight from Realism is a critical introduction to the long-standing debate concerning the conceptual foundations of quantum mechanics, and the problems it has posed for physicists and philosophers from Einstein to the present. Quantum theory has been a major influence on postmodernism, and presents significant challenges for realists. Clarifying these debates for the non-specialist, Christopher Norris examines the premises of orthodox quantum theory and its impact on various philosophical developments. He subjects a (...) wide range of opponents and supporters of realism to a high and equal level of scrutiny. Combining rigor and intellectual generosity, he draws out the merits and weaknesses from opposing arguments. (shrink)
In the paper we will employ set theory to study the formal aspects of quantum mechanics without explicitly making use of space-time. It is demonstrated that von Neuman and Zermelo numeral sets, previously efectively used in the explanation of Hardy’s paradox, follow a Heisenberg quantum form. Here monadic union plays the role of time derivative. The logical counterpart of monadic union plays the part of the Hamiltonian in the commutator. The use of numerals and monadic union in the (...) classical probability resolution of Hardy’s paradox  is supported with the present derivation of a commutator for sets. (shrink)
In this paper I put forward a new micro realistic, fundamentally probabilistic, propensiton version of quantum theory. According to this theory, the entities of the quantum domain - electrons, photons, atoms - are neither particles nor fields, but a new kind of fundamentally probabilistic entity, the propensiton - entities which interact with one another probabilistically. This version of quantum theory leaves the Schroedinger equation unchanged, but reinterprets it to specify how propensitons evolve when no probabilistic transitions occur. (...) Probabilisitic transitions occur when new "particles" are created as a result of inelastic interactions. All measurements are just special cases of this. This propensiton version of quantum theory, I argue, solves the wave/particle dilemma, is free of conceptual problems that plague orthodox quantum theory, recovers all the empirical success of orthodox quantum theory, and at the same time yields as yet untested predictions that differ from those of orthodox quantum theory. (shrink)
For nearly six decades, the conscious observer has played a central and essential rôle in quantum measurement theory. I outline some difficulties which the traditional account of measurement presents for material theories of mind before introducing a new development which promises to exorcise the ghost of consciousness from physics and relieve the cognitive scientist of the burden of explaining why certain material structures reduce wavefunctions by virtue of being conscious while others do not. The interactive decoherence of complex (...) class='Hi'>quantum systems reveals that the oddities and complexities of linear superposition and state vector reduction are irrelevant to computational aspects of the philosophy of mind and that many conclusions in related fields are ill founded. (shrink)