Comment on Lockwood
Deutsch (David)
Source: British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Vol. 47, No. 2, Jun., 1996, pp. 222-228
Paper - Abstract

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Introductory Paragraph

    At the philosophical foundations of our best and deepest theory of the structure of reality, namely quantum mechanics, there is an intellectual scandal that reflects badly on most of this century's leading physicists and philosophers of physics. One way of making the nature of the scandal plain is simply to observe that this paper by Lockwood is untainted by it. Lockwood1 gives us an up-to-date investigation of metaphysics, and discusses the implications of quantum theory for some of the bread-and-butter concepts of philosophy, such as reality, the self, and causality2. The scandal is that there is very little other work of that description in the literature, and what little there is is systematically disregarded by mainstream thinking in both philosophy and physics. Despite the unrivalled empirical success of quantum theory, the very suggestion that it may be literally true as a description of nature is still greeted with cynicism, incomprehension, and even anger.
Final Paragraph
    Lockwood is one of very few philosophers who have defied conventional philosophical wisdom by taking the trouble to learn what the fundamental theories of physics actually say. A few physicists are likewise beginning to realize that the sheer philosophical naivete that still prevails in the profession has prevented our most important theories from being properly understood and has seriously impeded progress. The twentieth century has been a veritable dark age for metaphysics – indeed it has been characterized by the explicit repudiation of metaphysics both by philosophers and by physicists. Now that the lights seem to be coming on again, we are in a position to enjoy the one beneficial side-effect of the long darkness: a backing of wonderful, urgent philosophical problems, raised by scientific advances in the intervening period. The problems raised by quantum theory are among the most conspicuous of these. Lockwood and a few others have made a start at addressing them. Let us hope that we are witnessing a return to rationality in these matters.


Response to "Lockwood (Michael) - 'Many Minds' Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics" - Symposium: 'Many Minds' Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics

In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: See "Lockwood (Michael) - 'Many Minds' Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics".

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