Foundations of Physics

, Volume 44, Issue 12, pp 1336–1356 | Cite as

Indivisibility, Complementarity and Ontology: A Bohrian Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics

Article

Abstract

The interpretation of quantum mechanics presented in this paper is inspired by two ideas that are fundamental in Bohr’s writings: indivisibility and complementarity. Further basic assumptions of the proposed interpretation are completeness, universality and conceptual economy. In the interpretation, decoherence plays a fundamental role for the understanding of measurement. A general and precise conception of complementarity is proposed. It is fundamental in this interpretation to make a distinction between ontological reality, constituted by everything that does not depend at all on the collectivity of human beings, nor on their decisions or limitations, nor on their existence, and empirical reality constituted by everything that not being ontological is, however, intersubjective. According to the proposed interpretation, neither the dynamical properties, nor the constitutive properties of microsystems like mass, charge and spin, are ontological. The properties of macroscopic systems and space-time are also considered to belong to empirical reality. The acceptance of the above mentioned conclusion does not imply a total rejection of the notion of ontological reality. In the paper, utilizing the Aristotelian ideas of general cause and potentiality, a relation between ontological reality and empirical reality is proposed. Some glimpses of ontological reality, in the form of what can be said about it, are finally presented.

Keywords

Quantum mechanics Bohr Indivisibility and complementarity Empirical and ontological reality Potentiality Mind and Matter 

References

  1. 1.
    de Broglie, L.: La mécanique ondulatoire et la structure atomique de la matière et du rayonnement. J. Phys. Radium 8(5), 225–241 (1927)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bohm, D.: A suggested interpretation of the quantum theory in terms of hidden variables. Phys. Rev. 85, 165–180 (1952)ADSGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bohm, D., Hiley, B.: The Undivided Universe: An Ontological Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. Routledge and Kegan Paul, London (1993)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    d’Espagnat, B.: Veiled Reality: An Analysis of Present-Day Quantum Mechanical Concepts. Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Reading (1995)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    d’Espagnat, B.: On Physics and Philosophy. Princeton University Press, Princeton (2006)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ghirardi, G.C., Rimini, A., Weber, T.: Unified dynamics for microscopic and macroscopic systems. Phys. Rev. D 34, 470 (1986)ADSCrossRefMATHMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Leggett, A.J.: Schrodinger’s cat and her laboratory cousins. Contemp. Phys. 25, 583 (1984)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Leggett, A.J.: The current status of quantum mechanics at the macroscopic level. In: Nakajima, S., Murayama, Y., Tonomura, A. (eds.) Foundations of Quantum Mechanics in the Light of New Technology. Advanced Series in Applied Physics, vol. 4. World Scientific, Singapore (1997)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Einstein, A., Podolski, B., Rosen, N.: Can quantum mechanical description of physical reality be considered complete? Phys. Rev. 47, 777–784 (1935)ADSCrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Bohr, N.: Can quantum mechanics description of physical reality be considered complete? Phys. Rev. 48, 696–702 (1935)ADSCrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Bell, J.S.: Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics: Collected Papers on Quantum Philosophy. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1987)MATHGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Huang, K.: Statistical Mechanics. Wiley, New York (1963)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    d’Espagnat, B.: Empirical reality, empirical causality, and the measurement problem. Found. Phys. 17(5), 507–529 (1987)ADSCrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Schrödinger, E.: The present situation in quantum mechanics: a translation of Schrödinger’s ‘cat paradox’ paper. Proc. Am. Philos. Soc. 124, 323–338 (1980)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Joos, E., et al.: Decoherence and the Appearance of a Classical World in Quantum Theory. Springer, Heidelberg (1996)MATHGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Wigner, E.: Remarks in the mind-body question. In: Good, I.J. (ed.) The Scientist Speculates, pp. 284–302. Heinemann, London (1961). Basic Books, New York (1962)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Wheeler, J.A.: The ‘past’ and the ‘delayed-choice’ double slit experiment. In: Marlowe, A.R. (ed.) Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Theory. Academic Press, New York (1978)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Wheeler, J.A.: Bits, quanta and meaning in problems. In: Giovannini, A., Mancini, F., Marinaro, M. (eds.) Theoretical Physics. University of Salerno Press, Salerno (1984)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Bohr, N.: The quantum postulate and the recent development of atomic theory. Nature 121, 580–590 (1929)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Bohr, N.: Atomic Theory and the Description of Nature. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1934)MATHGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Bohr, N.: Physique atomique et connaisance humaine. Gauthiers-Villards, Paris (1957)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Bohr, N.: Essays 1958–1962 on Atomic Physics and Human Knowledge. Interscience Publishers, New York (1963)MATHGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Roldán, J.: Language. Mécanique Quantique et Réalité. Université de Paris, Panthéon-Sorbonne (1991)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Heisenberg, W.: Physique et Philosophie. Albin Michel, Paris (1970)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Física, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y ExactasUniversidad del ValleCaliColombia

Personalised recommendations