Heisenberg part 2: Leibniz, Camus, and Kuhn (oh my!)

Continuing my commentary on Heisenberg’s Physics and Philosophy (see my previous post for more), I have a few more scattered thoughts to get down. In no particular order:

Heisenberg, Spekkens & Leibniz

In a recent talk, Rob Spekkens argues that a principle articulated by Leibniz, often called the identity of indiscernibles, provides justification for a number of desidirata (e.g. locality and noncontextuality) that have emerged over the past hundred years for interpretations of quantum mechanics. The principle can be stated as follows:

To suppose two things indiscernible is to suppose the same thing under two names.

This has been interpreted in many ways by many different people, but Spekkens rephrases it as Continue reading “Heisenberg part 2: Leibniz, Camus, and Kuhn (oh my!)”

Did Heisenberg have a soul?

In 1955, Werner Heisenberg traveled to Scotland to give a series of lectures which were later published as the book Physics and Philosophy (both originally in English). In it, Heisenberg lays out a (dare I say surprisingly?) cogent exposition and defense of  The Copenhagen Interpretation (a term which he coined in this work, although it turns out it’s really just his interpretation and there are a number of different Copenhagen-type interpretations) and discusses a number of related issues. The book is interesting both as a historical artifact giving insight into the thoughts of one of the founders of quantum mechanics, and as a highly accessible (if biased) introduction to issues in the ontology/epistemology of modern physics. It made me feel things, so I’m going to write a second post with various scattered reactions; but first, here’s a brief summary/background of the work, along with one of those scatterred reactions. The teaser: according to Wikipedia, Heisenberg was a devout Lutheran; did he believe in the soul, and if so, is the existence/justification of a soul central to his interpretation? Continue reading “Did Heisenberg have a soul?”