The Danish physicist Niels Bohr proposed the famous “Copenhagen interpretation” of quantum mechanics in Como, at the centennial conference of 1927. The interpretation of Bohr’s Copenhagen “interpretation” has remained a contentious issue since then.

Bohr in his Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics began by pointing out the intenability, in the context of quantum mechanical experiments, a point taken for granted in the context of the “classical realm of experience,” that it is possible to define the state of a system without factoring in to the analysis the effect of external disturbances in the measurement taking process. In the context of quantum mechanical experimental setup disturbance in the measurement process cannot be ignored. Thus, in the context o quantum experimental setup our classical concepts of space and time must be reviewed.¬†

The fact that in order to take measurements we must introduce agencies which do not belong to the system to be measured creates in the quantum mechanical domain problems not evident in the classical domain of inquiry.

In the study of exchange of energy and momentum between an electron and a proton, for instance, any attempt at locating the point of contact between the electron and the photon prejudices accuracy with regard to balance of momentum and energy because of the significance of disturbance incident to the interacting particles. In the classical domain this interaction can be ignored without consequence because at this level the Planck unit, h, is negligible in magnitude.

The realization that physical action never occurs in magnitudes less than the Planck constant implies that the interaction of a measuring device with the quantum system to be measured cannot be reduced below a level. This according to Bohr is the source of Heisenberg’s indeterminacy principle such that the precision with which we can determine the positions and momenta is inherently limited.

Central to Bohr’s interpretation of quantum mechanics was his notion of complementarity. Bohr rejected the notion that experience in the quantum domain should lead to a replacement of the concepts of classical physics with new conceptual forms, nor would he countenance the suggestion that the traditional Kantian categories be replaced by a new framework of thought. Rather, Bohr saw a complementarity between the classical domain of description of phenomena and the quantum domain. In Bohr’s view, the description of all evidence of scientific enquiry must be in the familiar classical terms. He conceived, therefore, of the roles of the classical and quantum in the progress of human knowledge as complementary and what happens in the quantum domain as purely symbolic scheme for making predictions about events in the classical. That is, any physical interpretation of mathematical symbolic formalism, in Berkleyan-Positivist terms, are only predictions of a mathematical character. Thus the statistical mathematics of quantum mechanics is not taken as representing events in the real world but consist merely of abstract computational link between the experimental setup and the results obtained.

The philosophical problems resulting from this manner of thinking are considerable. What then, for instance, do quantum mechanical descriptions of the early universe represent? Do we then begin to think of nature, at least in its early stages of evolution as nothing but intangible computational process? (It is significant that in more recent times such outlook is taking shape in some circles that Bohr’s classical realm is the output of some form of cosmic computer machine running a statistical-probabilistic metaheuristic program of some sot.)

Could we, after all, be living in a virtual reality projection of God’s supercomputer?

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