, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 1-15
Date: 11 Jun 2011

The Philosopher of the Physicists: The Legacy of Erhard Scheibe

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I

Erhard Scheibe was born in Berlin on September 24, 1927, a few days after the physicist Niels Bohr gave the famous “Como” lecture which sparked the Bohr-Einstein debate on the nature of quantum mechanics. This was something of an omen, for philosophical problems concerning the relations between quantum mechanics and classical physics stood in the centre of Scheibe’s work throughout his life.

The family home did not guide him in this direction. Erhard was the only child of Albert Scheibe and Maria, née Heidenreich, and grew up in an upper middle-class ambience marked by discipline and subtle taste. His father, a former naval officer, became a business man after 1918, and contributed a preface to the 1937 edition of Admiral Scheer’s book on the German armada in the First World War. Erhard’s uncle on the father’s side was the sculptor Richard Scheibe, a member of the Berlin Secession, who taught at Berlin University of the Arts from the mid 1930s. Gerhard Marcks, one of Richard Scheibe’s