A friend of mine keeps trying to convince me that within quantum mechanics there are deep philosophies. I must admit I'm lost, I saw "what the bleep do we know" and find the experiments interesting but how does that effect how we live/think/operate within the world?

One example my friend used was that how interrelated we all are and even the concept that time is relative affects our thinking somehow.

Please help!

(note: I'm asking for the philosophical implications...I understand physics has impacted us in terms of cpu's, memory chips, etc...but how has it impacted our thinking?)

closed as not constructive by Joseph Weissman Aug 18 '11 at 20:42

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    You might consider rephrasing the title of this post. "How does the philosophy of physics?" doesn't seem to be a complete thought. As for your post itself, you should try to narrow it down. Asking how the "philosophy of physics" has impacted our thinking is overly broad. Try to expand and develop the question more so it's actually answerable! – stoicfury Aug 18 '11 at 4:17
  • Thanks so much Stoicfury..I was a bit distracted while writing the question and edited it incorrectly..thanks for pointing it out. In terms of the question, I'm not sure how to make it more specific because I can't seem to figure out how physics applies to philosophy..I wanted to ask a general question so I can figure out a good starting point. – Lostsoul Aug 18 '11 at 6:27
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    "What the bleep do we know?" is a bunch of hogwash. They twist all kinds of interpretations of quantum mechanics. Admittedly, they can do so because the field is quite abstruse and even among physicists, much confusion reigns. But do not take this movie for authoritative. If you want some critiques: skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2005/04/what_the_bleep_.html and math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=83 . – Raskolnikov Aug 18 '11 at 8:59
  • It would make the question easier to answer if you gave a more specific physics situation (possibly one mentioned by your friend) and then also a particular philosophical topic to start with. For example, relativity and ethics (ok that's probably not really one you want to do). How about atomicity of objects/space and metaphysics? How about Newtonian mechanics and determinism? Quantum mechanics has even more complicated impacts. – Mitch Aug 18 '11 at 11:14
  • Please consider reformulating to specify your concerns more clearly -- this is simply too broad as posed. – Joseph Weissman Aug 18 '11 at 20:42

From what I have seen, deep within quantum mechanics lies the source of so much sloppy thinking and confusion among people who don't know quantum mechanics (and occasionally even among those who do), that I think it's a rich source of fallacies and misunderstandings that can distract philosophers from worthwhile inquiry. Most of this seems to arise from looking at quantum mechanics and thinking, "!@#$!#, that's weird and unintuitive!", and then looking at something else and thinking, "(*%!!%, that's weird and unintuitive!", and then making the unfounded jump "Hey, they must be the same thing!!"

If your friend has a specific well-reasoned argument about how, for example, an assumption made in philosophy is contradicted by particular experiments in quantum mechanics, you could post it here and hope that some people who are well-versed in both physics and philosophy can evaluate his arguments. Otherwise, I think the default stance should be considerable skepticism.


Physics does not apply to philosophy, but (our) entire Philosophy is within this physical reality ( Quantum or otherwise ) at least for now.

Every notion in philosphy and ethics will be traced back to constraints and possibilities of physical reality. For instance in many universe universe where anything that is possible will happen then the entire questions of Moral and Etics etc. become meaningless as for every possible course of action one can find infinitely many realities having and not having that action and all the possible consequences.

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