Social Scientist. v 3, no. 25 (Aug 1974) p. 34.


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K K THECKEDATH

Marxism and Qjaantum Mechanics

^The electron is as inexhaustible as the atom, nature is infinite." —Lenin, Materialism and Empirio'Criticism.

SURVEYING the scientific horizon in 1885 Engels wrote, (c . . . natural science has now advanced so far that it can no longer escape the dialectical synthesis." While scientific facts kept piling up at a more and more rapid rate in the subsequent years, there was no attempt at this synthesis. The scientific temper bred in the period of the decline of capitalism demanded no more than make-shift theories and a "a mere collection of wholly or partially successful recipes."

Indeed positivism which is the official philosophy of imperialism denies that science is a means of gaining unified knowledge of the objective world. Since it recognizes imperialism's need for the cultivation of science, under this ideology science is called upon to answer just those particular problems in which the capitalist monopolies are interested and not those problems which are bound up with the future development of science. The result has been that "for years bourgeois science has found itself in a state of chronic theoretical crisis, affecting not only the physical but biological sciences—a crisis of fundamental conceptions/91

This crisis is manifested particularly in the foundations of physics, in quantum mechanics (quantum theory) which is that part of physics dealing with the ^fundamental' constituents of the world such as electrons, protons and radiation. Consider, for example, the following statement



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