Taking Heisenberg's Potentia Seriously

International Journal of Quantum Foundations 4 (2):158-172 (2018)
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It is argued that quantum theory is best understood as requiring an ontological duality 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 proposed 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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Author Profiles

Michael Epperson
California State University, Sacramento

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