Translated by Katarzyna Kretkowska
Chapter 2: ‘The Adaptation of All Things’: Leibniz’s Series and the Foundations of Microphysics
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‘The Adaptation of All Things’: Leibniz’s Series and the Foundations of Microphysics
2.1 Mathesis quaedam Divina: relational states, the Connection and a mathematizable process in the Leibnizian system
David Finkelstein, one of the most original theoretical physicists in the second half of the 20th century, described his quest to understand the nature of physical laws and the sense of QM during a conference devoted to Whiteheadian inspirations in physics [Finkelstein, 1993]. What seems interesting in that account is the idea that the popular distinction between dynamics and kinematics, and even the attempts at hierarchizing them are nothing other than an artefact, a byproduct of a more basic, erroneous habitual way of thinking about the spatiotemporal split as a separate concept of time and space. It would be quite justified to call a theory in which kinematics would be tantamount to dynamics wholly ‘processual’, but the question remains what its mathematical formalism would have to look like for it to meet that criterion. Finkelstein stressed that the beginning of that processual revolution in physics was QM itself, which becomes all the more apparent when we appreciate the consistency with which Bohr, Pauli or, first of all, Heisenberg formulated their understanding of the microphysical process. The Heisenberg algebra of observables is just such a processual language, whereas, as Finkelstein notes, the very controversial term ‘non-objective physics’ used by Heisenberg was probably modelled on the phrase ‘non-objective art’ (nicht-objektive Kunst) coined by...
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