Quantum Mechanics Faces Hegel

This paper emerged from two courses on epistemology that we gave to freshmen of the Computer Engineering Program of State University of Rio Grande do Sul, Campus of Guaíba, RS, Brazil, in 2016 and 2017.

Abstract. From our reading of Hegel’s Science of Logic, we challenge the quantum mechanics common sense concepts of reality, observation, demonstration and information as described by Rosenblum and Kuttner in the book Quantum Enigma. We contend that the so-called ‘quantum enigma’ is a myth intended to spare scientists and the general public from the pain of having to abandon well-set common sense presuppositions in order to accommodate quantum mechanics results. The myth consists in sustaining the quantum mechanics apparent denial of physical reality whereas what it actually denies is the physicists’ presupposition of what ‘physical reality’ is. Criticism of the myth is blocked by what we call the realistic logic jump which opposes wave to particle, determinism to free-will, and holds the failure to prove A (e.g. existence) as a demonstration of non‑A. Against this logical fallacy, we sustain, with Hegel, that the identity and the difference contained in these oppositions result from a process of differentiation, which has to be superseded as a consequence of demystification. The myth maintains the states of quantum superposition of physical systems as what Hegel would call an ineffective-irrational existence. The passage to rational-effectiveness requires a new signifier to make entanglement a non-mysterious object of common sense, a dasein. According to the concepts developed in the paper, we finally rephrase the quantum enigma: instead of ‘observation determines reality’, we get awareness determines discourse, which solves/dissolves the enigma.


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