Re: [OPE-L] Overdetermination & Science

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Tue Jan 03 2006 - 15:36:03 EST

Callari wrote:
in my understanding, the notion of objectivity that the critics of
postmodernism seem (to me) to be using is/may-be untenable (or
questionable) even when it comes to nature. I am referring here not only
to Heisenberg's original formulation of the uncertainty principle (that
you can know either the position of a particle or its direction, but not
both) but also to lots of other experiments/theories since then that
seem to question the very independence of matter from thought ( a recent
article in the science section of the December 27 New York Times,
"Quantum trickery: testing Einstein's Strangest Theory," outlines the
theories and experiments).
In practice, scientists have chosen to ignore this, but it seems to me
that the existence of
  these theories/experiments undermines any philosophical defense of
something "real" in the objectivist (mind independent) terms that I have
been discussing

I assume that you are referring here to two things

1. The so called collapse of the wave function on observation.

2. Bells inequality and the Einsteing Podolsky Rosenberg gedanken

The uncertainty relation of Heisenberg, otherwise known as the
quantum of action has little to do with the question
of the relation between the thought and reality. It only pertains
to the limits to which the abstraction of real numbers can be
used to describe the states of physical systems.

The collapse of the wave function is something that only occurs
within the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum measurement.
This Copenhagen interpretation was itself the consequence of the
Machist/instrumentalist epistemology current in early 19th century
As such idealist's are simply re-discovering their epistemological
premises filtered through the writings of Bohr.

If one adopts the interpretations put forward by either Everett, Boehm, 
Deutsch or Huw Price, it becomes evident that there is no
necessary subjective element in quantum measurement.

The EPR experiment and Bells inequality on the other hand do have
considerable philosophical implications. In particular these relate
to the time symmetric nature of causality and the illusory nature
of subjective action/free will. 

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