[OPE-L:8036] Re: Heisenberg and Marx

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Fri Nov 22 2002 - 13:44:38 EST

Putting aside the Heisenberg principle, I don't think indeterminism 
at the atomic level or a random element in atomic interactions can be 
said to the basis for human freedom. But what are to make of Marx's 
Epicurean focus on how atoms 'swerve' unpredictably from their paths 
or the modern recognition of the unpredictability of radioactive 
deacy? Can science be said to have withdrawn its moral opposition to 
free will just because with the advent of quantum theory physics no 
longer seems to a scheme of deterministic laws? Yet what does the 
freedom of a swerving atom or a radioactive nucleus have to do with 
the freedom of a human being to choose between two courses of action, 
as David Layzer has asked? Has anyone explained the connection 
convincingly? My guess is that the last chapter of this book is 
relevant: Cassirer, Ernst. 1956. Determinism and indeterminism in 
modern physics. Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut.


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