Logical Interface Between Quantum Physics and Śūnyatā with Special Reference to Theravāda and Mādhyamika Philosophy

  • Rana Purushottam Kumar Singh


The world is searching for a new way and means to reinterpret science and philosophy in the twenty-first century. The search for commonality and distinction between science and philosophy is a burning topic among scholars in the world today.

Quantum physics suggests that physical quantities like energy, momentum, and so on can have only certain discrete or discontinuous values. It says that one can never see something behaving as a wave and a particle at the same time. This fact is known as complementarity. According to quantum physics, one cannot observe wave and particle in a single measurement. For example, in some types of experiments, an electron acts like a wave, while in others it acts like a particle. It will never act like a wave and particle at the same time. The difficulty for common sense comes in trying to reconcile the wave behavior at one time with the particle behavior at another.

The main aspect of quantum theory that can be compared with Mādhyamika Philosophy can be illustrated in this way: in quantum theory, the observer does not play a purely passive role. Whether an electron behaves as a wave or a particle depends on the type of experiment being done, and it is the observer who decides what sort of experiment to conduct. This is called “participatory universe.” Mādhyamika Philosophy has its own version of the “participatory universe.” In line with the general principle of dependent origination, subject and object knower and known and observer and observed exist only in relation to each other. Neither has an independent “objective existence.”


Quantum physics Śūnyatā Theravāda Mādhyamika Paramārtha Participatory universe 

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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rana Purushottam Kumar Singh
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PaliNava Nalanda Mahavihara (Deemed University) Ministry Of Culture, Government of IndiaNalanda, BiharIndia

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