Does commonsense really run counter to Quantum Mechanics?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Spellbound, Dec 16, 2015.

  1. Spellbound Banned Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,623
    The realism of vol. 1 ch. 2.6, chs 4.6 f, chs. 9 and 11 invites us to reject commonsense and to announce the discovery: objective reality has been found to be a metaphysical mistake.

    Philosophical Papers
     
    danshawen likes this.
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,484
    These references are to what, exactly?

    Certainly there are things in QM that appear counterintuitive, just as there are in relativity. That is part of what makes them so fascinating to study. However nobody sensible suggests "rejecting common sense" literally, though they may employ the phrase as a rhetorical device to make a point in some particular context..
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. Spellbound Banned Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,623
    Realism, Rationalism and Scientific Method by Paul K Feyerabend.

    Commonsense seems to be best restricted to the Classical, Newtonian Physics. Not to Einstein.
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,484
    I think that's ballocks. But not surprising to find Feyerabend, the self-proclaimed "Anarchist" philosopher of science saying such a thing, just to provoke. That's what he did.

    A lot depends, of course, on what is meant by "common sense" and at what level one applies it. One could argue Newtonian mechanics flies in the face of common sense, with its idea - contrary to every day experience - that objects under the influence of no forces continue in a straight line at constant velocity. We all know things slow down if we don't keep pushing them, don't we? Yet, once we have learnt the concepts of Newtonian mechanics we find that by applying these concepts in a common sense way, we get results that work. Same goes for QM, as far as I am concerned. I don't find it contrary to common sense, but then I have been trained in how it works. Feyerabend never got a science degree, by the way.

    So I think this is silly. One needs to suspend the "common sense" one gets from commonplace, everyday experience when considering situations that are far from commonplace, everyday experience, that is all. And then re-apply "common sense" when one has become equipped with the intellectual tools for the job in hand.

    P.S. Returning to your remark about objective reality being "a metaphysical mistake", that too sounds like somebody trying, smugly, to provoke by saying something "impossible". But actually, science makes models of the physical world. By describing them as such, one is implicitly foregoing any claim that they "are" reality. The good scientist, in my opinion, humbly offers them as an approximation that works, for the time being at least. We may never fully grasp "reality" perfectly.

    But I am intensely suspicious of the use of the adjective "objective' in this context. It sounds like somebody trying to insinuate that the theories of science are somehow subjective, or else that there is NO objective reality to be grasped. If so, then whoever said it is a veriphobe and I have strong views on veriphobia.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2015
  8. Spellbound Banned Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,623
    Everything is subjective, that is why scientists have trouble explaining consciousness with the exception of a few scientists who, because of nature or a quantum leap of the mind, have uncovered a higher reality to the physical. Hinduism talks about the Atman and the Brahma as being the true soul. I wish I could experience it but my fear of going within is bigger than the simple acceptance of the physical.
     
  9. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,484
    I do not think you can say that. The fact that science seems to get better and better at accounting for the behaviour of the physical world is consistent with the hypothesis that there is an objective reality out there, to be modelled. The fact that mankind may be unable to avoid entirely an element of the subjective in our perception of it does not prevent there being an objective reality, to which we make successively better approximations.
     
  10. Spellbound Banned Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,623
    Evolution through natural selection is on the material level, while consciousness is non-material. We evolve within and without.
     
  11. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,484
    My point is that it is reasonable to hold to the hypothesis that there is such a thing as objective reality, which science aspires to model with increasing accuracy. That is all.

    All this waffle about "consciousness" is peripheral, question-begging and beside the point.

    (Though personally I see no difficulty with the idea that consciousness is an activity of the brain. Considering it to be a "thing", whether material or not, is I suspect a category error. It seems to me it is far better thought of as an activity, just like the activity of the operating system on your computer.)
     
  12. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,997
    How is it possible - even in principle - to apply something called common sense to a discovery of something new?
    Common sense, by definition, means relying on things you already know.

    Common sense told pre-Galileans that an orange would fall ten times faster than a watermelon.
    Common sense told our forefathers that no trains or aircraft could exceed 60mph or so without suffocating the passengers.
    Common sense told us that space and time were fixed absolutes of the universe, and that gravity was instant - things within which the stars and galaxies played out their dances.

    Common sense is antithetical to Scientific discovery.
     
  13. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,484
    If you were to mean common knowledge I would agree: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_sense
     
  14. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,997
    mmOK. I've not encountered this definition of common sense - or, as Spellbound puts it - commonsense. I assumed s/he was simply employing the colloquial usage of the term.

    I bow out.
     
  15. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,332
    Common sense is what tells us we can make reasonable assumptions about the world.

    We assume, or used to, that the sun and stars go around the earth because it seems a reasonable thing to assume, today it's something a child might consider until they learn the correct cause of apparent motion.

    We assume that we can teleport quantum states instantaneously by measuring "entanglement", or that retrocausality is a reasonable assumption in explaining delayed choice experiments. We assume that particles are in entangled states because we measure correlations or observe their classical eigenvalues, we don't assume that the entanglement is somehow a consequence (a retrocause) of the classical measurement.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2015
  16. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    24,303
    The problems with the reality that behaves as Quantum theory predicts are not conflicts with "common sense", but with fairly sophisticated logic and theory. You have to have spent a few years hitting the books to truly comprehend them. (This is the closest I've come to a layman's explication: http://webpages.charter.net/sn9/science/bellstheorem.html)

    And this is commonly so among the theories held to violate "common sense" - it isn't common sense that tells you a train traveling 60mph risks suffocating its passengers (all kinds of common folk, from sheepherders to sailors, have survived occasional high winds behind windbreaks without having difficulty breathing), common sense is not surprised to find things falling at different rates through air than through a vacuum, and so forth. Where common sense breaks down is in things that are far away or intangible or irrelevant to daily life - matters in which common sense is not really involved.

    That and probabilities. We really don't handle probability easily or well, we humans.
     
    Edont Knoff likes this.
  17. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,051
    No, I think you hit the nail on the head: people substitute "common knowledge" for common sense, which is why people get stuck in a Newtonian mindset/bias and find QM and Relativity confusing - they learned Newtonian physics in high school and then stopped. Of course, if this was ancient Greece, people would be stuck in an Aristotelian mindset/bias and would think that was "common sense" too.
     
    exchemist likes this.
  18. Spellbound Banned Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,623
    You're correct about the fact that people stuck in the Newtonian mindset find QM and Relativity confusing. But calling the people of ancient Greece more sensible by relating them in terms of knowledge and understanding of higher order philosophy is just hooey.
     
  19. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,051
    Huh? Ancient Greeks weren't "more sensible", they were more ignorant - more wrong in their "common sense". And not just on specific phenomena like motion: they didn't even know how to think properly, so their "common sense" combined both a wrong bias and a wrong analytical process. It's no wonder their thinking led to the "Dark Ages"!
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2015
  20. Spellbound Banned Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,623
    Let us revisit and re-examine what you wrote: Of course, if this was ancient Greece, people would be stuck in an Aristotelian mindset/bias and would think that was "common sense" too.

    In hindsight, Aristotelian metaphysics is in no way a commonsense treatise.
     
  21. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,051
    I can't even.
     
    Spellbound likes this.
  22. Spellbound Banned Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,623
    Noh.
     
  23. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,484
    Yes that was exactly what I was driving at, too.
     

Share This Page