Could the assumption that the quantum double slit being described by interference like water waves be completely wrong?

Page 2 - For the science geek in everyone, Live Science breaks down the stories behind the most interesting news and photos on the Internet.
Jan 27, 2020
Write4u -

If you are seeking a non-mathematical view of science and physics, up to a certain point, I suggest you read Emmanuel Kant's 'Critique of Pure Reason' and his 'Universal Natural History' and 'Theory of the Heavens'.

Kant develops a philosophy of science that departs from (i) broadly empiricist views — such as David Lewis's, according to which purely contingent events in space and time (along with considerations of simplicity, etc.) determine what the laws of nature ultimately are — and (ii) certain necessitarian views — such as David Armstrong's, according to which the laws of nature consist of necessitation relations between universals, which place constraints on what events occur in space and time. Kant does so by holding that (i) scientific laws do involve necessity, but that (ii) this necessity is based not on (purely metaphysical and hence inaccessible) relations between universals, but rather on certain subjective, a priori conditions under which we can experience objects in space and time.

Kant's scientific writings are also of interest to historians of modern philosophy, historians of science, and historians of philosophy of science. Historians of modern philosophy are especially interested in determining how Kant's views on science might complement or clarify his distinctive metaphysical and epistemological doctrines (e.g., as expressed in the Critique of Pure Reason). Historians of science reflect on the way in which Kant's position fits in with the views of other natural philosophers of the period, such as Newton and Leibniz, including his novel account of the formation of the solar system according to Newtonian principles. Historians of philosophy of science investigate, among other things, Kant's work in the conceptual foundations of physics — in particular, his matter theory (e.g., the infinite divisibility of matter, attractive and repulsive forces, inertia, atoms and the void), his theory of motion, and his dynamical account of the laws of mechanics.

Physics was Kant's primary (though not exclusive) focus over the course of his lengthy career.

Kant develops his account of the nature of substance in greater detail in A New Elucidation of the First Principles of Metaphysical Cognition (1755). While the first two sections of this work undertake revisions of Wolff's principles of non-contradiction and sufficient reason, the third section argues for two substantive principles that are alleged to follow from the principle of sufficient (or rather, following Crusius, determining) reason, namely the principles of succession and coexistence. The main thrust of the principle of succession is directed against Leibnizian pre-established harmony, arguing that only causal connections between substances can bring about changes in their states. Kant's position appears to be designed to account primarily for changes of bodily states (with changes in mental states being parasitic upon them, as was explicitly asserted in the True Estimation). He maintains that mutual changes of state require mutual interaction, where it is clear that changes in motion are precisely the kind of mutual change that he has in mind (since one body cannot move closer to another without the other body moving closer to it). The principle of coexistence then argues that harmonious causal interaction between otherwise isolated, independently existing substances is possible only by means of God's coordination (just as Leibniz thought was required for harmonious relations between the states of such substances).

Kant's Physical Monadology (1756) takes as its task the reconciliation of the infinite divisibility of space, as maintained in geometry, with the simplicity of substances, which Kant believes is required in metaphysics. As was the case with his earlier works, the essential feature of his reconciliation lies in the way in which his matter theory is supported by his metaphysical views.

Kant asserts that simple substances fill space not by means of their mere existence, but rather in virtue of their spheres of activity. As a result, any division of the relevant spheres of activity does not compromise the simplicity of the substances themselves, since the spatial properties of substances (including the infinite divisibility of space) arise from the interaction between their activities rather than from their intrinsic features. In the course of the Physical Monadology, Kant also argues for the necessity of attractive and repulsive forces and attributes a significant role to the force of inertia. Kant's acceptance of such Newtonian principles represents an important change of position over the True Estimation, where Kant rejects the principle of inertia and pursues a dynamical theory much more in line with Leibniz's views.

In addition to these works, which bridge the gap, as it were, between physics and metaphysics, during this period Kant is interested in a series of specific issues in cosmology and empirical physics. For example, Kant writes several short exclusively scientific essays between 1754 to 1757, including “Brief Outline of Certain Meditations on Fire,” “Investigation of the question of whether the Earth has suffered changes in its axial Rotation,” “The Question of the Aging of the Earth, considered physically” as well as three papers on earthquakes. Of much greater significance is his Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens (1755), which represents an important contribution to science as such. For in it Kant explains how one can explain the formation of the solar system from an initial state, in which matter is dispersed like a cloud, solely by means of the interaction of attractive and repulsive forces. In 1796, Laplace, unaware of Kant's argument, would develop a very similar derivation, with the result that the view is now typically referred to as the Kant-Laplace nebular hypothesis.

Later in his pre-Critical period (1763-1770), Kant attempts to build a comprehensive metaphysical account on the basis of the framework that he had established in his first works. Thus, in his The Only Possible Basis for a Demonstration of the Existence of God (1763) he attempts to extend his reasoning to fundamental issues in both philosophical theology and teleology, presenting, for the first time, his now famous criticisms of the three traditional arguments for the existence of God, while developing a new theistic proof, based on the idea that God is necessary as a real ground of the possibilities of things. After reading Hume's Enquiry concerning Human Understanding in German translation sometime after 1755, Kant distinguishes between real and logical grounds/opposition in his Attempt to Introduce the Concept of Negative Magnitudes into Philosophy (1763) in order to avoid Hume's objection that there is no logical contradiction in the existence of one thing not following the existence of another. But in this work he is also interested in exploring the notion of a real ground/opposition further by applying it more widely, e.g., to bodies, mental states, etc. Also relevant is Kant's Concerning the Ultimate Foundation of the Distinction of the Directions in Space (1768) which modifies his earlier account of space insofar as he seems to hold that certain spatial properties may not be able to be explained entirely on the basis of the interaction between fundamental substances. In his so-called Inaugural Dissertation (1770), Kant continues to develop a more comprehensive philosophical system, which would encompass the principles of both the sensible and the intelligible world, and in so doing modifies his account of space and time even further. Over the course of the next ten years, during which he published almost nothing, Kant would revise his views more systematically, with the publication of the Critique of Pure Reason in 1781 representing the first major step in his “critical turn.”

Kant uses the claim that science proper requires the construction of the concept of the object in a priori intuition to exclude the possibility that chemistry and psychology, at least as they were practiced at that time, could count as science proper. In the case of chemistry, the problem is that “no law of the approach or withdrawal of the parts of matter can be specified according to which … their motions and all the consequences thereof can be made intuitive and presented a priori in space (a demand that will only with great difficulty ever be fulfilled)” (4:471). Since its principles are “merely empirical,” it can, at best, be a “systematic art” (ibid.). The case of psychology is more complex, since Kant provides (at least) two separate reasons in the Preface for denying it the status of natural science proper. First, Kant claims that mathematics is inapplicable to the phenomena of inner sense and their laws, though he grants that the law of continuity (discussed, e.g., at A207-209/B253-255 and A228-229/B281 in the Critique of Pure Reason) ought to apply to changes in our representations as well. He downplays the significance of this application of the law of continuity, however, by noting that time has only one dimension, which does not provide enough material to extend our cognition significantly. Second, Kant also complains that empirical psychology cannot separate and recombine the phenomena of inner sense at will; rather, our inner observations can be separated “only by mere division in thought” (4:471).

Second, in explaining how mathematics can be applied to bodies Kant asserts that “principles for the construction of the concepts that belong to the possibility of matter in general must first be introduced. Therefore a complete analysis of the concept of a matter in general [must be provided in which it] makes use of no particular experiences, but only that which it finds in the isolated (although intrinsically empirical) concept itself, in relation to the pure intuitions in space and time, and in accordance with laws that already essentially attach to the concept of nature in general” (4:472). Kant then explains that this means that the concept of matter must be determined according to the Critique of Pure Reason's categories of quantity, quality, relation, and modality (4:474-476). Further, Kant holds that “a new determination” (4:476) must be added to the concept of matter in each chapter of the Metaphysical Foundations. This suggests not only that the principles argued for in the Metaphysical Foundations are to be developed “in accordance with” the principles defended in the Critique of Pure Reason, but also that both the concept of matter and the Metaphysical Foundations itself is structured according to the Critique of Pure Reason's table of categories.


* Vis Viva controversy - vis viva is a Latin word which means “living force”. It was used for what we call kinetic energy and it all started when the profound mathematician Leibniz could not prove conservation of kinetic energy. Leibniz is widely known for his contributions in mathematics and early dynamics of physics. He had a great influence of philosophers like Gassendi and Hobbes. In 1671 Leibniz introduces a set of abstract laws of motion, in which Leibniz keeps Hobbesian notion of conatus** which Leibniz himself describes as “the beginning and end of motion”. Leibniz believed that the motion of a body in isolation is determined entirely by its own state of change, and that the motions of colliding bodies is determined solely by the combination of their respective state of changes. therefore, Leibniz’s abstract theory of motion assigns no role at all, with respect to the fundamental laws of motion and to the size or mass of bodies. He believed that it should be proportional to mass times velocity square.

Du Châtelet in her Institutions Physiques (1742) and Kant in his debut, the 'Thoughts on the True Estimation of Living Forces' (1746–49). The Institutions was not only a highly influential contribution to the vis viva controversy, but also a pioneering attempt to integrate Leibnizian metaphysics and Newtonian physics. The young Kant’s evident knowledge of this work has led some to speculate about his indebtedness to her philosophy.



** Hobbesian conatus - Thomas Hobbes's notion of conatus (which he translated as ‘endeavor’) was one of a bewildering number of proto-force concepts or force-related ideas current in the mid-17th century whose role in the development of mechanics proves difficult in retrospect to assess.’ Endeavor is likely to be of more than antiquarian interest, however, if only for the impression that concept made on the young Leibniz.

As defined by Hobbes, the conatus of a body is essentially its instantaneous motion, and he sees this as the means to account for a variety of phenomena in both natural philosophy and mathematics.

What passes for mechanics in Hobbes, therefore, is either ‘applied geometry’, or mechanistic explanation on the basis of ad hoc assumptions.



Kant's early publications (1746-1756) are devoted to solving a variety of broadly cosmological problems and to developing an increasingly comprehensive and complex metaphysics that would account for the matter theory that is required by the solutions to these problems. Kant's first publication, 'Thoughts on the True Estimation of Living Forces' (1746), attempts to solve the vis viva controversy*, which had been hotly contested ever since Leibniz's attack on Descartes' laws of motion in the Acta Eruditorum in 1686.

While Kant attempts to occupy an intermediary position between the Cartesian and Leibnizian positions by maintaining that both mv and mv² could be conserved in different contexts, what is of particular note is how his solution rests on the conception of force previously developed. According to this conception, force is understood in terms of the activity of substances, an activity that Kant then uses to explain how the motions of bodies are generated, to solve the mind-body problem, and to account for both the possibility of other, actually existing worlds and the three-dimensionality of space.
Last edited: