Nature Loves to Hide: Quantum Physics and Reality, a Western Perspective

By Shimon Malin | Go to book overview

2

Einstein's Dilemma

In this chapter we discuss Einstein's theory of Special Relativity and
the three tenets of his world-view: realism, locality, and determinism.
The belief in locality is based on Special Relativity, and the belief in
realism is based on everyday experiences. But why did Einstein adhere to
determinism so tenaciously? Uncovering the source of his belief that "God
does not play dice" involves a detour into St. Augustine's response to the
question "What is time?"

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.

—T. S. Eliot


1. "God Does Not Play Dice"

Einstein's conviction that quantum mechanics is not a fundamental theory of nature was a consequence of his paradigm, his firm beliefs about the nature of reality.

"It must have been around 1950," writes Einstein's biographer Abraham Pais. "I was accompanying Einstein on a walk from The Institute for Advanced Study [in Princeton] to his home, when he suddenly stopped, turned to me and asked me if I really believed that the moon exists only if I look at it." 1

When he realized the fallacy of Mach's philosophy, Einstein became a realist. (Mach was not a realist. For him, the elements of reality, i.e., sensations, did not point to a "real" world beyond themselves. ) It was obvious to Einstein that there is an objective world, whose existence is independent of acts of consciousness. He was not, however, a naive realist. He did not believe that the world we perceive is the world as it is. He appreciated Kant's finding that the world as we perceive it, the phenomenal world, is largely a creation of our own minds. He believed, however, that characteristics of the independently existing reality can be discovered through science and that scientific theories, or conceptual models, are our only access to reality.

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Nature Loves to Hide: Quantum Physics and Reality, a Western Perspective
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Nature Loves to Hide *
  • Nature Loves to Hice - Quantum Physics and Reality, a Western Perspective *
  • Contents *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Introduction *
  • Part One - The Quandary *
  • I - Mach's Shadow *
  • 2 - Einstein's Dilemma *
  • 3 - The Call of Complementarity *
  • 4 - Waves of Nothingness *
  • 5 - Paul Dirac and the Spin of the Electron *
  • 6 - An Irresistible Force Meets an Immovable Rock *
  • 7 - "Nature Loves to Hide" *
  • Part Two - From a Universe of Objects to a Universe of Experiences *
  • 8 - The Elusive Obvious *
  • 9 - Objectivation *
  • 10 - In and Out of Space and Time *
  • II - "Nature Makes a Choice" *
  • 12 - Nature Alive *
  • 13 - Flashes of Existence *
  • 14 - The Expression of Knowledge *
  • 15 - A Universe of Experience *
  • 16 - The Potential and the Actual *
  • Part Three - Physics and the One *
  • 17 - Levels of Being *
  • 18 - Our Place in the Universe *
  • 19 - Physics and the One *
  • ∼ Epilogue *
  • Appendices *
  • Notes *
  • Bibliography *
  • Index *
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