Thursday, December 24, 2020

The Marxist critique of Bohr’s alleged idealism

A recent paper on Niels Bohr, objectivity, and the irreversibility of measurements says:
There are three reasons (listed by Catherine Chevalley [15]) why Bohr seems obscure today. The first is that Bohr’s views have come to be equated with one variant or another of the Copenhagen interpretation. The latter only emerged in the mid-1950’s, in response to David Bohm’s hidden-variables theory and the Marxist critique of Bohr’s alleged idealism, which had inspired Bohm.
It is curious. For decades, Bohr was considered the authority on the orthodox interpretation of quantum mechanics. So much so that it was called Copenhagen. He is the one physicists who pointedly refuted Einstein, and everyone at the time was convinced that Bohr was right and Einstein was wrong.

At some point it became fashionable to badmouth Bohr. They didn't say that he was wrong, but vehemently argued that he didn't make any sense. He became "obscure".

How could he be so right that the textbooks copied him for decades, and yet others say that he was unintelligible?

Here we have an explanation: David Bohm’s hidden-variables theory and the Marxist critique of Bohr’s alleged idealism.

Wow, I thought that physicists were much too hard-headed to be swayed by the mystical ramblings of Bohm, and certainly not influence by a "Marxist critique"! But there you have it.

I have been suspicious that there is some subversive political or mystical ideology behind pilot wave theory and related matters. This confirms it. 

The above paper also has some interesting things to say about irreversibility. Maybe I will revisit that later.

Merry Christmas.


  1. Dear Roger,

    1. I've earmarked the paper for reading. [Ahem! We the Bohmians are *always* pleased by *any* mention of our "ism".]

    2. After a quick look at its abstract:

    Concerning the irreversibility of the quantum mechanical measurements, I have a question:

    Has any one ever experimentally verified the "repeated measurement" postulate? (cf. Griffith's textbook on QM.) Doesn't the assumption of irreversibility necessarily imply the impossibility of making a second measurement on the same particle? What would it take to ensure that a quick second measurement was also actually referring to the *same* particle, and finding it in a very nearby state? ... Have been re-thinking through this entire issue too!

    3. Oh yes! Merry Christmas to you all!


  2. While there are some initial flaws in the theory, some attribute the strange behavior of QM to relativity:

    This angle seems completely neglected.