Quantum weirdness and metaphysical horizons

Talk given at the advaya event Quantum Physics & Holistic Science.

Quantum physics is fascinating not simply for the theory itself, but also for the metaphysical questions it raises. Many working physicists are surprisingly uninterested in these questions because to them it is just a practical theory and, as they put it, they “know how to turn the mathematical handle” to obtain highly accurate results. But the metaphysical questions are of great interest to many of the rest of us, since they imply a significant shift away from the worldview promoted by classical physics, which after three hundred years forms our dominant understanding of reality. Many physicists believe that science makes no metaphysical assumptions, and argue that quantum theory does not justify opening up such questions. Yet the whole edifice of physics rests on presumed answers to underlying metaphysical questions which lie beyond the reach of science itself. Far from being unjustified, quantum theory seems to be pushing us to rethink these underlying assumptions simply to make sense of the paradoxical picture it is painting of reality. This presentation will look at the specific ways in which physical theory has gone beyond its own starting assumptions and will ask whether this is pointing to a new metaphysical worldview which could re-enchant our culture.


Hardin Tibbs

Hardin Tibbs is a strategic analyst, futures thinker, adviser and innovator with long experience of future-focused strategic thinking.

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