Foundations of Physics

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

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

  • Jairo Roldán-Charria


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.


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


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

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

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