Volume 4, Issue 2, pages 158-172
R. E. Kastner [Show Biography], Stuart Kauffman [Show Biography] and Michael Epperson [Show Biography]
Ruth E. Kastner earned her M.S. in Physics and Ph.D. in Philosophy (History and Philosophy of Science) and the University of Maryland, College Park (1999). She has taught a variety of philosophy and physics courses throughout the Baltimore-Washington corridor, and currently is a member of the Foundations of Physics group at UMCP. She is also an Affiliate of the physics department at the SUNY Albany campus. She specializes in time-symmetry and the Transactional Interpretation (TI) of quantum mechanics, and in particular has extended the original TI of John Cramer to the relativistic domain. Her interests and publications include topics in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, quantum ontology, counterfactuals, spacetime emergence, and free will. She is the author of two books: The Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics: The Reality of Possibility (Cambridge, 2012) and Understanding Our Unseen Reality: Solving Quantum Riddles (Imperial College Press, 2015). She is also an Editor of the collected volume Quantum Structural Studies (World Scientific, 2016).
Stuart Alan Kauffman is an American theoretical biologist and complex systems researcher who studies the origin of life on Earth. Kauffman graduated from Dartmouth in 1960, was awarded the BA (Hons) by Oxford University (where he was a Marshall Scholar) in 1963, and completed a medical degree (MD) at the University of California, San Francisco in 1968. After completing his residency in Emergency Medicine, he moved into developmental genetics of the fruitfly, holding appointments first at the University of Chicago 1969-1973, National Cancer Institute 1973-1975, then at the University of Pennsylvania from 1975 to 1995, where he served as Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Kauffman held a MacArthur Fellowship, 1987–1992. He also holds an Honorary Degree in Science from the University of Louvain; and was awarded a Gold Medal of the Accademia Lincea in Rome. Dr. Kauffman has published over 250 articles and 5 books: The Origins of Order (1993), At Home in the Universe (1995), Investigations (2000), Reinventing the Sacred (2008), and Humanity in a Creative Universe (2016).
Michael Epperson is the founding director of the Center for Philosophy and the Natural Sciences at California State University, Sacramento (www.csus.edu/cpns/), the founding director of the university’s History and Philosophy of Science Program, and a Research Professor in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. Epperson did his doctoral work in philosophy of science and philosophy of religion at The University of Chicago, and earned his Ph.D. there in 2003. His dissertation, Quantum Mechanics and the Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead (Fordham University Press, 2004, 2nd ed. 2012) was written under the direction of philosopher David Tracy and physicist Peter Hodgson, Head of the Nuclear Physics Theoretical Group at the University of Oxford. Epperson’s latest work, exploring the ontological significance of potentia and contextuality in quantum mechanics, toward a topological, relational interpretation, is presented in his most recent book, Foundations of Relational Realism: A Topological Approach to Quantum Mechanics and the Philosophy of Nature (Rowman & Littlefield, 2013), co-authored with theoretical physicist Elias Zafiris (Ph.D., Imperial College, University of London.)
It is argued that quantum theory is best understood as requiring an ontological dualism of res extensa and res potentia, where the latter is understood per Heisenberg’s original proposal, and the former is roughly equivalent to Descartes’ ‘extended substance.’ However, this is not a dualism of mutually exclusive substances in the classical Cartesian sense, and therefore does not inherit the infamous ‘mind-body’ problem. Rather, res potentia and res extensa are understood as mutually implicative ontological extants that serve to explain the key conceptual challenges of quantum theory; in particular, nonlocality, entanglement, null measurements, and wave function collapse. It is shown that a natural account of these quantum perplexities emerges, along with a need to reassess our usual ontological commitments involving the nature of space and time.
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I am very pleased to see this article taking Heisenberg’s potentiality seriously. Others interested in the topic might be interested also in my own recent article on the subject, which relates directly to the original notion of Aristotle to which Heisenberg himself referred:
More light on this aspect of quantum mechanics and the Copenhagen interpretation in the named form can only be good for quantum foundations.
Thanks very much, Gregg! I will point my co-authors to your response and your interesting related work.
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