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Why Bohm was never a determinist

Van Strien, Marij (2023) Why Bohm was never a determinist. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Bohm’s interpretation of quantum mechanics has generally been understood as an attempt to restore the determinism of classical physics. However, although Bohm’s interpretation of quantum mechanics, as he initially proposed it in 1952, does indeed have the feature of being deterministic, for Bohm this was never the main point. In fact, in other texts which he published shortly before and after, as well as in correspondence from this period, he argued that the assumption that nature is deterministic is unjustified and should be abandoned. His aim was a different one: to develop an account of quantum mechanics that can be understood. Whereas it has been argued before that Bohm’s commitment to determinism can be linked to his interest in Marxism, I argue for the opposite: in Marxist philosophy, especially Friedrich Engels’ dialectical materialism, Bohm found
resources for developing a notion of causality different from determinism. This non-deterministic causality is based on the idea of infinite complexity and an infinite number of levels of nature. From ca. 1954, Bohm’s conception of causality further weakened, as he developed the idea of a dialectical relation between causality and chance. From now on, Bohm argued that causality and chance are equally indispensable in science, and that wherever we find causality, we can assume that there is underlying chance and vice versa.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Van Strien, Marijmarijvanstrien@gmail.com
Keywords: David Bohm Determinism Causality Emergence Dialectical materialism Interpretations of quantum mechanics
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Determinism/Indeterminism
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Marij Van Strien
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2023 13:24
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2023 13:24
Item ID: 22284
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Determinism/Indeterminism
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Date: 5 July 2023
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/22284

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