Foundations of Physics

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 139–168 | Cite as

Quantum theory as an indication of a new order in physics. B. Implicate and explicate order in physical law

  • David Bohm


In this paper, we inquire further into the question of the emergence of new orders in physics, first raised in an earlier paper. In this inquiry, we are led to suggest that the quantum theory indicates the need for yet another new order, which we call “enfolded” or “implicate.” One of the most striking examples of the implicate order is to be seen by considering the function of the hologram, which clearly reveals how a total content (in principle extending over the whole of space and time) is “enfolded” in the movement of waves (electromagnetic and other kinds) in any given region. We then come to the notion that the quantum theory indicates that this implicate order is not merely a dependent or fortuitous feature of the content, but rather, that it should be considered as the independent ground of existence of things, while the ordinary explicate order is what should be considered as dependent. Finally, in the appendix we point out how the implicate order is expressed naturally in terms of an algebra similar to that of the quantum theory, which is, however, subject to generalizations going beyond the limits of what has meaning in this theory. Various new directions of further research are indicated, which will be explained in later papers.


Quantum Theory Total Content Early Paper Independent Ground Explicate Order 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Bohm
    • 1
  1. 1.Birkbeck CollegeUniversity of LondonLondonEngland

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