Taking Heisenberg's Potentia Seriously

R. E. Kastner, Stuart Kauffman, Michael Epperson

R. E. Kastner, Stuart Kauffman, Michael Epperson

Quote:It is argued that quantum theory is best understood as requiring an ontological duality of res extensa and res potentia, where the latter is understood per Heisenberg's original proposal, and the former is roughly equivalent to Descartes' 'extended substance.' However, this is not a dualism of mutually exclusive substances in the classical Cartesian sense, and therefore does not inherit the infamous 'mind-body' problem. Rather, res potentia and res extensa are proposed as mutually implicative ontological extants that serve to explain the key conceptual challenges of quantum theory; in particular, nonlocality, entanglement, null measurements, and wave function collapse. It is shown that a natural account of these quantum perplexities emerges, along with a need to reassess our usual ontological commitments involving the nature of space and time.

Quote:This new ontological picture requires that we expand our concept of ‘what is real’ to include an extraspatiotemporal domain of quantum possibility. Thus, we need to ‘think outside the spacetime box.’. Other researchers have recently suggested that spacetime is not fundamental. For example, Ney has been advocating what she terms “Wave Function Realism,” in which the wave function is taken as ontologically real and spacetime phenomena comprise only a subspace of that ontology: “What appears in the derivative three-dimensional metaphysics as nonlocal influence is explained by the evolution of the wave function in its space where there are no nonlocal influences.” (Ney 2017). Our approach differs in that we regard measurement as a real, non-unitary process, and do not take the universe as a whole to be described by a position-basis wavefunction; but the spirit of allowing for a larger ontology for the quantum realm is essentially the same...

.... Zeilinger notes that:

Quote:..it appears that on the level of measurements of properties of members of an entangled ensemble, quantum physics is oblivious to space and time.It appears that an understanding is possible via the notion of information. Information seen as the possibility of obtaining knowledge. Then quantum entanglement describes a situation where information exists about possible correlations between possible future results of possible future measurements without any information existing for the individual measurements. The latter explains quantum randomness, the first quantum entanglement.

And both have significant consequences for our customary notions of causality...

...What Zeilinger refers to above as ‘information’ we suggest should be understood as ontologically real, pre-spacetime possibilities—since clearly they are doing something that constrains the actualities of our experience. We would caution against taking the idea of ‘information’ as an observer-dependent, epistemic notion, which forecloses a realist understanding of the quantum formalism, and compromises our ability to subject spacetime to the critical considerations that Zeilinger rightly suggests it should be

'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell

(This post was last modified: 2021-01-27, 09:04 AM by Sciborg_S_Patel.)
- Bertrand Russell