Heisenberg-Pauli dialogue

Soul (Heisenberg)
In 1952, during a summer walk, Austrian theoretical physicist Wolfgang Pauli and German theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg entered into a dialogue on belief in god and soul, as an inner principle or guiding compass, and the need for a new moral compass.
In dialogues, Heisenberg-Pauli dialogue refers to a 1952 conversation on god and soul between German theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg and Austrian theoretical physicist Wolfgang Pauli, following a Copenhagen conference on quantum mechanics with Danish physicist Niels Bohr, wherein the speculated about the need for a new social moral compass so not to be in "danger of losing our way" in the new world order or future

Overview
In 1952, one summer night, after a meeting in Copenhagen, on quantum mechanics, involving Niels Bohr, Wolfgang Pauli, an adherent of some mystic-deism belief (Ѻ), and Werner Heisenberg, Pauli and Heisenberg went walking, during which time the belief in god query came up (Ѻ)(Ѻ), which as recounted by Heisenberg actuated as follows: [1]

The outlines of the harbor installations stood out sharply, and after we had been standing at the end of the jetty for a while, Wolfgang asked me quite unexpectedly:

Pauli: “Do you believe in a personal God? I know, of course, how difficult it is to attach a clear meaning to this question, but you can probably appreciate its general purport.”

Heisenberg: “May I rephrase your question?” “I myself should prefer the following formulation: can you, or anyone else, reach the central order of things or events, whose existence seems beyond doubt, as directly as you can reach the soul of another human being? I am using the term ‘soul’ quite deliberately so as not to be misunderstood. If you put your question like that, I would say yes. And because my own experiences do not matter so much, I might go on to remind you of Pascal’s famous text, the one he kept sewn in his jacket. It was headed “Fire” and began with the words: “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – not of the philosophers and sages.” “In other words, you think that you can become aware of the central order with the same intensity as of the soul of another person?”

Pauli: “Perhaps.” “Why did you use the word ‘soul’ and not simply speak of another person?”

Heisenberg: “Precisely because the word, ‘soul’, refers to the central order, to the inner core of a being whose outer manifestations may be highly diverse and pass our understanding.

Heisenberg: “If the magnetic force that has guided this particular compass – and what else was its source but the central order – should ever become extinguished, terrible things may happen to mankind, far more terrible even than concentration camps and atom bombs. But we did not set out to look into such dark recesses; let’s hope the central realm will light our way again, perhaps in quite unsuspected ways. As far as science is concerned, however, Niels is certainly right to underwrite the demands of pragmatists and positivists for meticulous attention to detail and for semantic clarity. It is only in respect to its taboos that we can object to positivism, for if we may no longer speak or even think about the wider connections, we are without a compass and hence in danger of losing our way.”

(add discussion)

See also
Maupertuis-Diderot debate

References
1. Ferris, Timothy. (1991). The World Treasury of Physics, Astronomy, and Mathematics (pgs. 826-27) (Ѻ). Little, Brown.

Further reading

● Brophy, Thomas G. (2001). The Mechanism Demands a Mysticism: An Exploration of Spirit, Matter, and Physics (pgs. 36-38). iUniverse.

External links
Science and Religion (Werner Heisenberg) – Edge.org.

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