Foundations of Quantum Theory and Complementarity [1961e]

  • Robert S. Cohen
  • John J. Stachel
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 21)


The foundations of quantum mechanics were laid some thirty years ago. Thus, a whole generation has passed since these foundations were established. but for the new generation which is now coming up the situation is perhaps stranger still than it was for the physicists who had to struggle with those problems for the first time The people who face a problem for the first time and have to think very hard to try to solve it have a more direct and lively impression of what is involved in the new ideas which bring about its solution. The next generation is presented with the finished work and often does not appreciate properly the difficulties that were involved in the solution of the problem. So it happened with relativity theory one generation after Einstein; some people started then to raise doubts about the very principles underlying the general theory of relativity. This episode is now forgotten; but we see the same phenomenon happening with quantum mechanics. Young physicists are raising doubts about the correctness of the basic ideas of quantum mechanics, and try to do it better. These efforts are. I am afraid, rather futile, because they rest on a complete misunderstanding of the problem, on a lack of appreciation of the really very difficult conceptual situation which quantum mechanics presents to us. This situation is not something that depends on any free choice, about which one might have this or that opinion. It is a problem which is imposed on us by Nature.


Quantum Mechanic Quantum Theory Wave Packet Classical Physic Statistical Causality 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert S. Cohen
  • John J. Stachel

There are no affiliations available

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