P O T C - Q M Subject Object And Phenomenology
So our discussions in the tut last week got me thinking about the implications of certain types of quantum mechanics and also string theory for the subject-object model, and the possible applications of phenomenology to this. I did a quick search on philpapers and it turns out I'm not the only one to be concerned about this ' the search turned up an interesting article by Steven M. Rosen (2008) entitled 'Quantum Gravity and Phenomenological Philosophy' which is available here:
http://www.springerlink.com/content/b76258282j5h64t6/
QM, says Rosen (p 561) ' and he does not make much if any differentiation between different QM theories ' implies a fusion of subject and object in its problem of measurement, particularly in the case of the extended particles of string theory (again, he does not go into different types of string theory here). The point particle has its origin in the subject-object model, or more specifically the object-in-space-before-subject-which-then-comes-along-and-observes-it-detatchedly-to-find-truth model whereby in the mode of Kant we 'put nature in the witness box' and interrogate it with reason. For Rosen, the string must be 'both indivisible and spatially extended' thereby becoming at once both subject and object (p 561).
This harks back to the ideas of the scientific method we talked about in the first few weeks ' generally science takes for granted that its posture of objectivity is beyond reproach. This philosophy of detached observation of the object-in-space-before-subject has been the basis for our western science for a very long time. But possibly these scientific findings (of types of QM) are bringing that into question. It may be, Rosen posits, that this is not how we need to be conceptualizing things in order to move forward in a truly accurate scientific manner: this approach 'will not mean losing contact with objective reality; on the contrary, it will mean that the an- alyst/observer, in relinquishing the stance of detached anonymity, will become more closely engaged with the down-to-earth facts of reality than ever before.' (Rosen 2008 562).
A bit about phenomenology:
Here I am going to talk about Heidegger, because Husserl still had a fairly subject-object model and I don't know much about Satre or Merleau Ponty. I am sure there are other people who are very useful (Rosen talks about Merleau Ponty mainly) and if anyone has any pointers here I'd love to hear them!
Heidegger places us firmly in-the-world, he rejects the Cartesian idea that we can sort of fly above the world and observe it, to Heidegger we are unable to exist like this as we are inextricably linked to everything around us. His idea of humanity is rather complicated but implies ' as far as I understand it ' that all of our understandings and observations are based on initially relating whatever it is we are observing to us, as otherwise we have no way of understanding it. The way we do this has elements of historical and social construction. As such, even when we then pull back and try to observe more scientifically, we are still going to be doing this in a way which does not have the clear object-in-space-before-subject trichotomy that we would like to think it does. He emphasizes the fact that we are intimately involved with our world, we are concerned with it and ourselves, we care about it and comport ourselves toward it in a manner that reflects this. Imortantly, we are not anonymous, and we are participants in a lived realm of experience. As such, you can never take a person as separated from objects or worldly context; and arguably it doesn't work the other way around either.
Therefore, as everything is so complicatedly entangled with everything else, Rosen begins to wonder if the idea of separate objects existing either in other objects or in the container of space is so useful a conception, especially in light of QM and strings (p 563). Phenomenology, like (some) of these theories, entails an internalization of these relations.
What do people think about this?




instead of trawling the net for papers that support my assumptions i'm just going to vent my assumptions directly. i understand this probably isn't good enough but i'm sick of not contributing out of fear that my point of view has no weight. i exist. therefore it does. so yes. what i am about to say is from my own head. sorry. there may or may not be scientific evidence to support it. i'm not saying it's how the world is, just how i see it. please keep that in mind when you read things like "cannot"… that said;
in relation to rosen's wondering; i don't wonder, i am CONVINCED that isolating something, say a particle, in order to learn about it is a largely ineffective method. for two main reasons;
-the first is that you cannot separate anything from everything here. entanglement could almost be said to constitute existence (or atleast be a massive requisite). you may be able to reduce the entanglement by isolating as many variables as possible but the thing you test is still going to be entangled with its surroundings in likely influential ways we can't even conceptualise; so any results you get from its supposed isolation are still going to be the products of it AND its interaction with the environment. not just it alone. even if it could even exist alone.
-the second is; given the (possibly infinite) threads of entanglement reaching to and from something and its environment, it is impossible to accurately predict how they would combine with each other to produce an outcome to any working precision so knowing how it behaves in isolation (even if we COULD get that information) is not really useful as there would never be an instance where that information could be applied.

i've never read any heidegger but i agree with his idea you've stated that "we are unable to exist (as outside observers) as we are inextricably linked to everything around us" and vice versa… nothing can really be 'teased out'…
referring the transactive interpretation of QM (i'm unsure if it would apply to the others i understand even less about them than i do about the TI); if it was even possible to take a receiver out of the situation where it receives (in order to study 'a receiver'), it would be pointless as without being in the position to receive, it is no longer a receiver.
guess we need a different way of coming to an understanding of things that are much much smaller (and much much larger) than us as "isolating" and "objectively observing" and even "measuring" seem to not quite fit the scenario.
-mara u 4853267