Bohr vs. Bohm: Interpreting quantum theory through the philosophical tradition
I first present the general thesis that science is an interpretation of nature and aims to extend our perception of nature. Accordingly, the role for scientific philosophy should be a second-order activity as an interpretation of science. I elaborate on this unique conception of science and philosophy with a threefold scheme of interpretation, where philosophers interpret scientists' first-hand interpretations of their science. According to this idea, the philosophical tradition has a definite place in our present science. I illustrate the thesis in the main with Bohr and Bohm's interpretations of quantum theory, which have largely shaped our current understanding of the theory and interpretive practice thereof. Indeed, the birth of quantum mechanics owes much to Bohr's philosophizing during the old-quantum period, especially to his correspondence principle as Kantian formal analogy. Bohm's many-sided projects in science and philosophy then can be viewed as an attempt to overcome the historical legacy of Kant and Bohr embodied in the latter's notion of classical concepts and the broadly-construed mechanistic tendency pervasive in modern philosophy. The renewed conception of perception is at once a defining characteristic of scientific activity and a philosophical antithesis to empiricism. Qualitative infinity of nature is the axiom of non-mechanical philosophy of nature. Bohr, along with Kant, defends the scientific methodology since Newton against metaphysicians; Bohm tries to extend it to include perception and other Leibnizian insights. I conclude with prospects for harmony between quantum theory and the philosophical tradition.
0585: Science history