0

I've read some summaries of Smith's thinking, which I haven't yet adhered to, here

The aim of philosophy is the good life or the best regime, the aim of theology is knowledge of God, and that of science, knowledge of the physical world. These correspond to the Taoist triad of Man, Heaven, and Earth. In an essay titled Modern Science and the Guenonian Critique, Wolfgang Smith challenges Guenon’s casual dismissal of profane science. Imagine two intersecting circles of a Venn diagram. Beyond the intersection of one circle there is “pseudoscience”, beyond the other is “scientism”. In the intersection is what Smith calls “hard science”. Smith admits that scientism, i.e., the reduction of everything to quantity, is not knowledge, yet he insists that there is a partial truth in “hard science”. Hence, it may be helpful to consider Smith’s work as a “Guenonian critique of modern science.”

Wolfgang Smith on quantum mechanics:

According to Smith, the ontological interpretation of quantum mechanics allows the use of the hylomorphic concepts of power and act to properly understand quantum superposition. For example, instead of considering a photon to be "simultaneously a wave and a particle" or "a particle in two distinct positions", it can be considered that the photon (or any other physical object) at first does not exist in act, but only in potential; that is, as "matter" in the hylomorphic meaning of the term, with the potential to be to become “a wave or a particle” or “of being here or there.” Whether one of these results will occur with this undifferentiated matter depends on the determination imposed on it by the macroscopic bodily object that provides its actualization. by having many potentials than, say, an individual with the "superimposed" potential of learning French and/or Spanish and/or Greek, all the while reading and/or walking and/or reaching out. The main feature of this interpretation is that a corporeal object and its "associated physical object" are no longer dichotomized or reduced to one another, but rather constitute a set in which different aspects are treated depending on perspective

I would like to know the view of physicists in general regarding Wolfgang's "opinion". I have a backseat with Wolfgang Smith, as his works consist more in theological philosophy than in the physical knowledge area of science:

Wolfgang Smith on quantum mechanics:

According to Smith, the ontological interpretation of quantum mechanics allows the use of the hylomorphic concepts of power and act to properly understand quantum superposition. For example, instead of considering a photon to be "simultaneously a wave and a particle" or "a particle in two distinct positions", it can be considered that the photon (or any other physical object) at first does not exist in act, but only in potential; that is, as "matter" in the hylomorphic meaning of the term, with the potential to be to become “a wave or a particle” or “of being here or there.” Whether one of these results will occur with this undifferentiated matter depends on the determination imposed on it by the macroscopic bodily object that provides its actualization. by having many potentials than, say, an individual with the "superimposed" potential of learning French and/or Spanish and/or Greek, all the while reading and/or walking and/or reaching out. The main feature of this interpretation is that a corporeal object and its "associated physical object" are no longer dichotomized or reduced to one another, but rather constitute a set in which different aspects are treated depending on perspective

Any thoughts on this guy and his application of Thomistic Metaphysics to quantum physics? Wiki says

Identifying with Alfred North Whitehead's critique of the "bifurcationism" and "physical reductionism" of scientism—i.e., the belief that, first, the qualitative properties of the objects of perception ("corporeal" objects) are ultimately distinct from their respective quantitative properties (the "physical" objects studied by the various sciences); and second, that physical objects are in fact all there is, meaning corporeal objects are reduced to their physical counterparts—Smith examines critically in his work Cosmos and Transcendence (1984) the Cartesian roots of modern science.

Proceeding with his critique of scientism in his monograph, The Quantum Enigma (1995), Smith raises the questions of whether the scientific method is in fact dependent on the scientistic philosophy and, if it is not, whether linking it to other philosophical frameworks would provide better solutions to the way physical phenomena are interpreted. Demonstrating that neither the scientific method nor its results require adhering to a scientistic metaphysics, he answers in the negative to the first question, resulting in the conclusion that it is possible to link the scientific method to any underlying ontology, or to none at all. Working then into the second question, he proposes linking the scientific method—and thus the modern sciences—to a non-bifurcationist, non-reductionist metaphysics in the form of a modified Thomistic ontology, showing how such a move resolves the apparent incoherences of quantum mechanics.[2]

According to Smith, this interpretation of quantum mechanics allows for the usage of the hylomorphic concepts of potency and act to properly understand quantum superposition. For example, instead of considering that a photon is "simultaneously a wave and a particle" or "a particle in two distinct positions," one may consider that the photon (or any other physical object) at first does not exist in act, but only in potency; i.e., as "matter" in the hylomorphic meaning of the term, having the potential of becoming "a wave or a particle," or "of being here or there." Whether one of these outcomes will happen to this undifferentiated matter is dependent on the determination imposed upon it by the macroscopic corporeal object that provides its actualization. A photon, thus, would be no more strange for having many potentials than, say, an individual who has the "superposed" potentials of learning French and/or Spanish and/or Greek, all the while reading and/or walking and/or stretching his arms. A further consequence of this interpretation is that a corporeal object and its "associated physical object" are not dichotomized or reduced one to the other anymore but, on the contrary, altogether constitute a whole of which different aspects are dealt with depending upon perspective.[3]

There is also another article from him: Pondering Bohmian Mechanics: https://philos-sophia.org/pondering-bohmian-mechanics/

I'm really confused if Smith is talking nonsense, so hope someone clears me up

Wolfgang Smith on the evolution of species:

Smith's understanding of the relationship between bodily and physical objects extends to his interpretation of biology, where he became an opponent of Darwinian evolution, as the fundamental element of a species would be its shape, not its causal history, which evolutionists favor. . This leads him to support the intelligent design movement, although his own hylomorphic approach is not widely adopted by leading intelligent design theorists (who, like evolutionists, also favor causal history, albeit in a different way).

In short, I think that your interpretation, species have qualitative value, while causal history would be quantitative values, that is, in relation to us homo sapiens as a species, we have a quality that defines us, cognition, while others do not have it. According to Smith's assumptions it would not be possible for quantitative values to generate a quality that allegedly can only be found in man, cognition.

Is there any thought that opposes Wolfgang Smith's? I thought it was absurd (my opinion)

1
  • 2
    I'd look up something Smith has written and read his own argument in his own words before you dismiss it as absurd. Summaries like this are almost never adequate to judge an author's arguments by. – David Gudeman Jul 21 at 21:17

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.