[OPE-L:3508] Re: Marxism and 19th century materialism

From: Allin Cottrell (cottrell@wfu.edu)
Date: Sun Jun 18 2000 - 21:43:48 EDT

[ show plain text ]

I agree wholeheartedly with most of Paul C's posting 3507.
My only disagreement is with his take on the "Copenhagen
interpretation" of quantum theory:

> Our blessed delivery from 19th century materialism by the
> Copenhagen interpretation is a delivery from the demons of
> Darwinian atheism and atheistic communism.

I don't believe that Niels Bohr had any such "delivery" in mind
when he formulated his philosophical gloss on the scientific
discoveries in which he played so large a part. He was
struggling honestly with the implications of the new quantum
findings, without any prior commitment to philosophical
idealism. (I do agree, however, that later commentators --
lacking Bohr's intimate knowledge of the actual physics -- have
taken the "Copenhagen interpretation" as a springboard for
instrumentalist and idealist musings.)

On this topic I recommend P. K. Feyerabend's "Realism,
Rationalism and Scientific Method" (Philosophical Papers,
Vol. 1) Cambridge, 1981, especially the essay "Niels Bohr's
world view".

Allin Cottrell.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Jun 30 2000 - 00:00:04 EDT