Quantum Physics and Its Implications Part I

Quantum Physics and Its Implications Part I


Quantum Physics is grounded on a set of puzzling experiments that resist all efforts to understand them based on normal human experience and classical scientific theory. Arthur Zajonc will describe the key experimental foundations of quantum physics and identify the crucial non-classical aspects of each experiment. These experiments point to a “quantum holism” that demands we reconsider the possibility of a new kind of interconnectedness to reality. The very notion of localized objects with intrinsic properties is challenged by quantum experiments. All attempts at “picturing” the quantum world in terms of conventional concepts based on sense experience are seen to fail. The inherently probabilistic character of quantum physics raises other important questions concerning microscopic causality. Are all events, including the radioactive decay of a single nucleus, caused? Michel Bitbol will describe the philosophical implications of these experiments and the “paradoxes” of quantum physics for our view of reality. One important alternative to “interpretations” of quantum theories is to forego the desire to have a representation of the world at all. “No view” is a well-established tradition within certain schools of Buddhist philosophy. Thupten Jinpa, as the Buddhist respondent, will take up this and related issues in his response to the presentations.

  • Dialogue 26
    27 sessions
  • January 18, 2013
    Drepung Monastery, Mundgod, India
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Michel Bitbol

Michel Bitbol, PhD, is Directeur de Recherche at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, in Paris, France. He is presently based at the Archives Husserl, a center of research in Phenomenology. He was educated at several universities in Paris, where he received successively his MD in 1980, his PhD in Physics in 1985, and his “Habilitation” in Philosophy in 1997. Michel worked as a research scientist in biophysics from 1978 to 1990. Thereafter, he turned to the philosophy of physics. He published a book entitled Schrödinger’s Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics (1996), and also worked on a neo-Kantian interpretation of quantum mechanics. In 1997 he was the recipient of an award from the Academie des sciences morales et politiques for his work in the philosophy of quantum mechanics. Later on, he focused on the hotly debated connections between the philosophy of quantum mechanics and the philosophy of mind. He published a book on that topic in 2000, and worked in close collaboration with Francisco Varela around this time. He is presently developing a conception of consciousness inspired from neurophenomenology, and an epistemology of first-person knowledge. Michel also learned Sanskrit to better understand basic texts by Nagarjuna and Candrakirti, and recently published a book De l’intérieur du monde: pour une philosophie et une science des relations, 2010 in which he draws a parallel between Buddhist interdependence and non-supervenient relations in quantum physics and the theory of knowledge