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Is quantum potentiality more like weight or a wave?

  1. Feb 12, 2010 #1
    My current understanding, albeit extremely naive and novice, of quantum mechanics seems to disallow a materialistic worldview (though only philosophically at the moment). Here is a synopsis of a conversation with a friend, I'm blue:

    • Materialists: Your thoughts of quantum physics?
    • Well, it does lay the groundwork for a materialist argument in favor of free will.
    • I don't disagree -- but, more to the point, how can potentiality be considered "material"?
    • Potentiality is just a concept referring to a measurement of sorts. That's kind of like asking "how can weight be considered 'material'."
    • I think potentiality is more than a concept or a description -- it is more like a wave or a point. Like when an electron produces interference in a double-slit test, the interference consists of wavelengths, but the wavelengths don't consist of anything other than all-potentiality (everywhere the electron could be given the possibilities granted by the circumstances of the experiment). So then, the quantum field isn't made up of anything but potential, and the field itself precedes and underpins even energy.

    Please input your thoughts and offer your quantum knowledge to assist my thinking to answer the question as posed in the subject of this thread. I want to understand what QM has revealed about the most base level of what we know about the universe. Additionally, any correction to my logic or facts will be thoroughly appreciated and applied.

    Last edited: Feb 12, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 12, 2010 #2
    Bell's theorem tells us that either reality is non-local (the external world isn't anything like the material world we experience, because it is not extended in spacetime) or that the material picture is not enough (so we require extra conceptual contraptions like "pilot waves" that connect everything together). Either view sinks materialism IMO.

    However, this is telling us something about what "noumenal reality" is NOT like, just as the theory of evolution seems to suggest that God (a noumenal entity) is NOT intelligent. It is far easier to make negative claims about noumena than it is to make positive claims. I'm not sure that QM has told us anything about what noumenal reality IS like.
  4. Feb 12, 2010 #3
    That we will probably never have the full picture is one of the things I think QM suggests about the universe. Before QM it was almost a sure thing that we were eventually going to know it all.
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