25 thoughts on ““Taking Heisenberg’s Potentia Seriously” Featured on Science News Blog

  1. Exceptional clarity and timeliness! This paper addresses the consequences of a peculiarly connected, but still potentially comprehensible universe. Bravo to all of you! Combined with your other recent work, this has helped bridge a gap in my visualization of ‘simple’ polarization entanglements, “weak” measurements and their implied entanglements, and coherent quantum entities. Good stuff! ;-)

      1. I’ve only done a first pass on that paper, but yes. It sent me scurrying to read your other work to better understand your terminology and justifications. I now have wrinkled printouts of PTI & Relativity (2012), Heisenberg Potentia, and Status of Measurement Problem from September. I’ve printed, but not read Weak Measurements from March, though with a quick scan I think I get the idea. I’ve been stuffing your papers in a pocket and bring them to work to read during lunch and on breaks.

        I will tackle your co-authors’ work, but your work is easier for me to read.

        Long story, but I actually own a hard cover copy of Cramer’s Quantum Handshake, so I saw you referenced there. And this summer I came across a sly wink from Roger Penrose in reference to some ‘interesting work by Ruth Kastner’ in his Fantasy, Faith and Fantasy. I didn’t get a chance to try to see who you were until I saw Taking Heisenberg’s Potentia Seriously while scanning the Arxiv newsfeed. And … that lead me here.

      2. Correction. In this Universe, Roger Penrose has not mentioned your work. My bad. In my mind that does nothing to diminish the importance of your work!

  2. Awesome paper Ruth! I stumbled upon while researching ideas related to Kauffman’s last book “Humanity in a Creative Universe” (also awesome). Using the terminology that you use in the paper, it still seems to me more of a principle theory than a constructive theory where one can “see physical processes at work.” It’s certainly true that “imaginability must not be made the test for ontology,” but can you propose some kind of intuitively visualizable model? If potentia are ontologically real, they are “things” in a mathematical space that is also ontologically real. How to model that space and it’s interaction with space-time as-we-know?

      1. Thanks for replying Ruth, I have both your books, will go through them again. How does the Relativistic Transactional Interpretation relate to Kauffman’s ideas on free will and an open universe embedded in a wider realm of possibilities? Free will seems to require (hidden) non-randomness, where does that come from?

  3. RTI is a theory about quantum systems, but I interpret the quantum systems as the potentiae. That is, they are not spacetime actualities. RTI details how the quantum potentiae become actualities through the process of ‘measurement’, which isn’t really ‘measurement’ in classical terms, but rather the emergence of spacetime events (which are the actualities).
    Re free will, RTI does not go into free will specifically, but it leaves room for it. I discuss that briefly on pp 182-8 of “Understanding Our Unseen Reality”. For more technical details, see http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/11893/

    1. Reality is our creation. There is no objective reality independent of the observer. Recent experiments on delayed measurements using satellites is not in disagreement with this view.

      The potentials as embodied in the state vector may not be seen by the observer. However, it is the observer who decides on what he wants as reality. The sensory perceptible world has been considered to be the reality but it has to give away to other interpretations of :”reality”/

      Nalin de Silva

      On Sat, Oct 28, 2017 at 1:50 AM, Transactional Interpretation wrote:

      > rekastner commented: “RTI is a theory about quantum systems, but I > interpret the quantum systems as the potentiae. That is, they are not > spacetime actualities. RTI details how the quantum potentiae become > actualities through the process of ‘measurement’, which isn’t really ‘me” >

  4. Thanks, but that’s a metaphysical position that is not at all obligatory. Recall the parable of the Blind Men and the Elephant. Their perceptions and theories about what they sense are limited, but there’s still an elephant out there.

    1. Is there a reality independent of the observer. ? Is it possible to demonstrate that there is a reality independent of the observer without appealing to an observer?

      On Sun, Oct 29, 2017 at 12:18 AM, Transactional Interpretation wrote:

      > rekastner commented: “Thanks, but that’s a metaphysical position > (idealism) that is not at all obligatory. Recall the parable of the Blind > Men and the Elephant. Their perceptions and theories about what they sense > are limited, but there’s still an elephant out there.” >

  5. Is it possible to demonstrate that there is no reality independent of the observer? This is why these are metaphysical positions, and it’s inadvisable to make dogmatic assertions either way. We simply don’t know. But we can certainly point to situations (such as the Blind Men and the Elephant) where the men would be wrong to conclude that there is no reality independent of their observations. Which is why they would not want to dogmatically assert such a claim.

    1. The blind men have their own realities. The observer who perceives and conceives the “elephant” as the elephant is only another reality. As long as we cannot establish that there is a reality independent of the observer, reality itself remains metaphysical, How does one define “reality”?

    2. The blind men conclude certain :”facts” depending on their senses. It could be considered as their “realities”. With our senses we conclude that the real elephant is not what the blind men describe as the elephant.

      The “reality” depends on the senses and we should not conclude what we sense as the reality. The reality .is not independent of the observer.

      On Mon, Oct 30, 2017 at 11:06 AM, Transactional Interpretation wrote:

      > rekastner commented: “Is it possible to demonstrate that there is no > reality independent of the observer? This is why these are metaphysical > positions, and it’s inadvisable to make dogmatic assertions either way. We > simply don’t know. But we can certainly point to situations (” >

      1. Sorry, but you’re still making dogmatic statements that are non sequiturs. I.e. they don’t follow from any argument. In the example of the Blind Men and the Elephant, each makes a theory based on his sense impressions. Nothing about that shows that there is no reality independent of their sense impressions. You’re just asserting that without argument,

      2. Could you define reality please. It will make this discussion purposeful.

        For example is reality the sense impressions of a “normal” person. Then of course the question arises as to who a “normal” person is.

        Is reality the sense impressions of a “normal” person and the scientific theories that are not usually sensory perceptible.

        Or is reality something else?

        Is it possible to conclude by argument that there is a reality starting from your definition of reality.

        Thank you.

        On Thu, Nov 2, 2017 at 12:31 PM, Transactional Interpretation wrote:

        > rekastner commented: “Sorry, but you’re still making dogmatic statements > that are non sequiturs. I.e. they don’t follow from any argument. In the > example of the Blind Men and the Elephant, each makes a theory based on his > sense impressions. Nothing about that shows that there” >

  6. I think Nalin de Silva has failed to understand rekastner’s question. It is not possible to start with a definition of what reality is simply because it is not possible to gain direct access to such a reality. Nalin de Silva seem to have confounded an epistemological limitation with an ontological fact. For me rekastner’s argument is very simple: we do not know if there is anything outside the human relation that we can definitively claim to be real, but this means, at least, the equal possibility of the existence and non-existence of such a real

      1. I thank Ian Jones for his contributions. Let me come back to the epistemological limitations and ontological facts in a future comment. Ian Jones states on rekastner’s argument the following : “we do not know if there is anything outside the human relation that we can definitively claim to be real, but this means, at least, the equal possibility of the existence and non-existence of such a real”

        I am afraid rekastner does not say the same. In different comments she has said the following.

        [image: https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/profile_mask2.png%5D Introducing Understanding our Unseen Reality it is stated:

        “This captivating book presents a new, unified picture of the everyday world around us. It provides rational, scientific support for the idea that there may well be more to our reality than meets the eye…”

        What is meant by our reality in this statement? It is clear that according to rekatsner there may be more to reality than meets the eye.

        “Thanks, but that’s a metaphysical position that is not at all obligatory. Recall the parable of the Blind Men and the Elephant. Their perceptions and theories about what they sense are limited, but there’s still an elephant out there.”

        What is meant by but there’s still an elephant out there? Is that elephant real or not? The perceptions of theories of blind men sense are limited. Does it mean that the perceptions and theories of the one who concludes that there’s still an elephant out there, not limited?

        “Is it possible to demonstrate that there is no reality independent of the observer? This is why these are metaphysical positions, and it’s inadvisable to make dogmatic assertions either way. We simply don’t know. But we can certainly point to situations (such as the Blind Men and the Elephant) where the men would be wrong to conclude that there is no reality independent of their observations. Which is why they would not want to dogmatically assert such a claim.”

        Please note that I have not concluded that there is no reality independent of their observations from the parable of blind men. My position is more general and I state that the blind men have their own realities.

        My question is whether “an elephant out there” is the real elephant? Is “an elephant out there” independent of some observer? Can there be more to the real elephant than meets the eye of the “normal observer”? Does “an elephant out there” refers to an elephant relative to “normal observers”?

        On Thu, Nov 9, 2017 at 6:07 AM, Transactional Interpretation wrote:

        > rekastner commented: “Yes, of course. Thanks Ian.” >

  7. Of course I’ve argued in my book that there is good reason to think that QM is describing a reality independent of the sense data of particular observers. And in my other writings I’ve provided more details about what this reality might be (e.g., the Heisenberg Potentia paper).
    However, I’ve made no dogmatic statement to that effect. What I was doing was simply countering a dogmatic statement (from the commenter) that there is no such reality. As long as we agree that there is no point in making dogmatic statements either way, then we have no essential disagreement.

    1. Thank you

      On Sat, Nov 11, 2017 at 8:23 AM, Transactional Interpretation wrote:

      > rekastner commented: “Just to clarify: while of course I’ve argued in my > book that there is good reason to think that QM is describing a reality > independent of the sense data of particular observers. And in my other > writings I’ve provided more details about what this reality m” >

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