Foundations of Physics

, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 548–567 | Cite as

Classical Levels, Russellian Monism and the Implicate Order

  • William Seager


Reception of the Bohm-Hiley interpretation of quantum mechanics has a curiously Janus faced quality. On the one hand, it is frequently derided as a conservative throwback to outdated classical patterns of thought. On the other hand, it is equally often taken to task for encouraging a wild quantum mysticism, often regarded as anti-scientific. I will argue that there are reasons for this reception, but that a proper appreciation of the dual scientific and philosophical aspects of the view reveals a powerful and extremely interesting metaphysical view of the world. This view is akin to that of Russellian Monism, in which the empirical world studied by science is restricted to relational features that stand in need of some background intrinsic properties to ground their reality. This allows for a theory that can embrace a world which exhibits a reasonable and plausible sort of emergence (especially of domains that fall under classical concepts) while also making room for distinctive and scientifically intransigent properties such as consciousness.


Bohm Hiley Monism Quantum potential Implicate order Active information 



I would like to express my thanks to the organizers of the Helsinki conference in honour of Basil Hiley’s 75th birthday, and indeed to Professor Hiley himself, especially for his longstanding efforts to integrate philosophical thinking into the investigation of quantum physics. My thanks also to the journal’s anonymous referees whose challenging and insightful comments helped me to clarify the views expressed here.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TorontoTorontoCanada

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