12. Reason and Science in Almost One Voice
← 172 | 173 →
Reason and Science in Almost One Voice
Philosophers like Bertrand Russell who analyze the foundations of knowledge have considered the belief that only the self exists and is real, a position called solipsism. Russell rejected solipsism but only on esthetic grounds. Many of the leading interpreters of quantum mechanics are borderline solipsists. They believe that the process of measurement creates reality (elementary particles have no properties until measured), and a conscious observer is required for measurement to occur. In syllogistic form:
Measurement creates reality. A conscious observer is required for measurement to occur. Therefore, there is no reality independent of a conscious observer.
Theoretical physicist John Wheeler, whose delayed choice thought experiment was discussed in the previous chapter, called reality a participatory phenomenon. He described a game of 20 questions he had played. In the standard version, one player leaves the room while the rest of the group selects a person, place, or thing. The player is then called back to try to guess the chosen object by asking no more than 20 questions that can be answered only by yes or no. When it was Wheeler’s turn, the other participants secretly changed the rules. “There had been a plot not to agree on an object to be guessed, but that each person, when asked, must give ← 173 | 174 → a truthful answer concerning some real object that was in his mind, and which was...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.