Quantum mechanics and the question of determinism in science

  • CO Akpan


Classical science and in fact Post-Newtonian science up till the early twentieth century were mired in a deterministic interpretation of realities. The deterministic hypothesis in science holds that everything in nature has a cause and if one could know the antecedent causes, he could predict the future with certainty. But quantum mechanics holds that sub-atomic particles, though the ultimate materials from which all the complexity of existence in the universe emerges, do not obey deterministic laws, hence, their activities are causally indeterminate and could only be understood with probability. This paper argues that quantum mechanics can not totally be free from determinism, for it has subtly conceded to determinism in holding that the sub-atomic particles are the building blocks of the macro world, and that there is interconnection between entities in the universe, even at the nonmanifest level. The probabilistic interpretation of quantum mechanics only betray our human limitation of the knowledge of nature, which, I believe still have lots of tricks in our sleeves over mankind.

Sophia: An African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 8(1) 2005:72-79




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eISSN: 1119-443X