Foundations of Science

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 77–105 | Cite as

God May Not Play Dice, But Human Observers Surely Do

  • Massimiliano Sassoli de BianchiEmail author


We investigate indeterminism in physical observations. For this, we introduce a distinction between genuinely indeterministic (creation-1 and discovery-1) observational processes, and fully deterministic (creation-2 and discovery-2) observational processes, which we analyze by drawing a parallel between the localization properties of microscopic entities, like electrons, and the lateralization properties of macroscopic entities, like simple elastic bands. We show that by removing the randomness incorporated in certain of our observational processes, acquiring over them a better control, we also alter these processes in such a radical way that in the end they do not correspond anymore to the observation of the same property. We thus conclude that a certain amount of indeterminism must be accepted and welcomed in our physical observations, as we cannot get rid of it without also diminishing our discriminative power. We also provide in our analysis some elements of clarification regarding the non-spatial nature of microscopic entities, which we illustrate by using an analogy with the process of objectification of human concepts. Finally, the important notion of relational properties is properly defined, and the role played by indeterminism in their characterization clarified.


Observation Quantum measurement Creation Discovery Quantum probabilities Localization Non-spatiality Control Concepts Relational properties 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratorio di Autoricerca di BaseLuganoSwitzerland

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