Uncertainty principle

Compton and Heisenberg (Chicago, 1929)
American physicist Arthur Compton and German physicist Werner Heisenberg, two early promoters and or commentators of "indeterminism" via the uncertainty principle (1927).
In physics, uncertainty principle (TR:64), or "Heisenberg uncertainty principle", a type of commonly used ontic opening argument, states that it is impossible to simultaneously measure both the position and the momentum of a particle or in equation form:

uncertainty relation

which states that the product of the variation in position Δx and the variation in momentum Δp of a particle will be greater than or equal to Planck’s constant h.

The uncertainty principle was first presented by Werner Heisenberg in his 1927 paper “On the Perceptual Content of Quantum Theoretical Kinematics and Mechanics”. [1] In his 1930 The Physical Principles of the Quantum Theory, Heisenberg stated the following: [4]

“The resolution of the paradoxes of the atomic physics can be accomplished only by renunciation of the old and cherished ideas. Most important of these is the idea that natural phenomena obey exact laws—the principle of causality.”

In 1935, American physicist Arthur Compton, in his The Freedom of Man, cited this passage, alluding to the notion that it makes the model of Laplacian determinism, as captured in Laplace’s demon model of the universe, seem “less and less probable” to some physicists. [5]

Free will | Pro
In 1927, Canadian-born American physiologist Ralph Lillie published his “Physical Indeterminism and Vital Action”, wherein he used the uncertainty relation to argue for a neurological based free will, namely that deliberate actions of the organism, in particular humans, are non-deterministic at the neurological level and hence subsequently at the psychic-choice level. [6]

English physicist Arthur Eddington, in his 1927 Gifford lecture turned 1928 book The Nature of the Physical World, supposedly, was the first invoked Heisenberg’s newly published uncertainty principle, which Eddington called the "principle of indeterminancy", in support of free will or human freedom or to argue that the universe is indeterministic, or something along these lines; a switch from his previous Gifford Lectures position, wherein he stated that he saw nature as being deterministic. [2] Specifically, in his chapter fourteen "Causation", of the revised book, he gives the following opening synopsis: [3]

"Like most other people, I suppose, I think it incredible that the wider scheme of nature which includes life and consciousness can be completely predetermined; yet I have not been able to form a satisfactory conception of any kind of law or causal sequence which shall be other than deterministic. It seems contrary to our feeling of the dignity of the mind to suppose that it merely registers a dictated sequence of thoughts and emotions; but it seems equally contrary to its dignity to put it at the mercy of impulses with no causal antecedents. I shall not deal with this dilemma. Here I have to set forth the position of physical science on this matter so far as it comes into her territory. It does come into her territory, because that which we call human will cannot be entirely dissociated from the consequent motions of the muscles and disturbance of the material world. On the scientific side a new situation has arisen. It is a consequence of the advent of the quantum theory that physics is no longer pledged to a scheme of deterministic law. Determinism has dropped out altogether in the latest formulations of theoretical physics and it is at least open to doubt whether it will ever be brought back.

The foregoing paragraph is from the manuscript of the original lecture delivered in Edinburgh. The attitude of physics at that time was one of indifference to determinism. If there existed a scheme of strictly causal law at the base of phenomena the search for it was not at present practical politics, and meanwhile another ideal was being pursued. The fact that a causal basis had been lost sight of in the new theories was fairly well known; many regretted it, and held that its restoration was imperative.*

* A few days after the course of lectures was completed, Einstein wrote in his message on the Newton Centenary, "It is only in the quantum theory that Newton's differential method becomes inadequate, and indeed strict causality fails us. But the last word has not yet been said. May the spirit of Newton's method give us the power to restore unison between physical reality and the profoundest characteristic of Newton's teaching — strict causality." (Nature, 1927, March 26, p. 467.)

In rewriting this chapter a year later I have had mingle with this attitude of indifference an attitude more definitely hostile to determinism which has arisen from the acceptance of the principle of indeterminancy."

This paragraph was one of the seeds that supplanted into the mind of American physicist Robert Doyle the puzzle of the question of “free will” viewed in the context of quantum mechanics and thermodynamics, as the Eddington text was part of his 1958 undergraduate course on the philosophy of physics, taught by Bruce Lindsay; the result of which was Doyle's collection of 150 books on free will, eventual launching of his 2002 cite InformationPhilosopher.com, and summary 2011 book Free Will: the Scandal in Philosophy. [2]

Free will | Con
In 1935, Polish-born American physical chemistry based physiologist Selig Hecht (1892-1947) published his “The Uncertainty Principle and Human Behavior”, wherein he outlined the main arguments for why human actions are mechanistically determined, citing laboratory experimental evidence as a basis for his argument. [7]
Uncertainty principle (humor)
A humorous take on the overuse and often misaligned use of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle in the humanities.

Ontic openings
The uncertainty principle, according to Swedish theorist Erland Lagerroth, has been classified as an “ontic opening”, owing to its multifarious usage in arguing for things such as free will or the existence of God.

Advertising/Marketing theory
English marketing physicist Dan Cobley notably has used the uncertainty principle to explain some of the fundamentals of branding, in what seems to be a stretched analogy, so to speak.

The following are related quotes:

“The Heisenberg principle is irrelevant to ethical questions, particular the question of human freedom. For a concise and excellent discussion of the Heisenberg principle and its irrelevance to ethics, see: Lewis Beck’s 1952 Philosophical Inquiry.”
— George Strodach (1963), “Introduction” to Epicurus: the Art of Happiness [7]

1. Cassidy, David D. (1992). Uncertainty: the Life and Science of Werner Heisenberg. W.H. Freeman & Co.
2. (a) Arthur Eddington – InformationPhilosopher.com.
(b) Doyle, Bob. (2011). Free Will: the Scandal in Philosophy (pgs. xvii). I-Phi Press.
3. Eddington, Arthur. (1928). The Nature of the Physical World (pgs. 293-95). Cambridge University Press.
4. Heisenberg, Werner. (1930). The Physical Principles of the Quantum Theory (pg. 62). Publisher.
5. Compton, Arthur H. (1935). The Freedom of Man (pg. 6). Yale University Press.
6. Lillie, Ralph S. (1927). “Physical Indeterminism and Vital Action”, Science, 46: 139-44.
7. (a) Hecht, Selig. (1935). “The Uncertainty Principle and Human Behavior”, Harper’s Magazine, Jan.
(b) Compton, Arthur H. (1935). The Freedom of Man (pg. 56-58). Yale University Press.
(c) Wald, George. (1991). “Selig Hecht: A Biographical Memoir”, National Academy of Sciences.
7. (a) Beck, Lewis. (1952). Philosophical Inquiry (pgs. 143-47). Publisher.
(b) Strodach, George. (1963). Epicurus: the Art of Happiness (Introduction, pgs. 71, 199). Penguin.

External links
‚óŹ Uncertainty principle – Wikipedia.

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