Social Scientist. v 3, no. 35 (June 1975) p. 65.


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COMMUNICATION

Marxism and Quantum Mechanics

THE ARTICLE by K K Theckedathin Social Scientist ^(August 1974)has been useful in drawing attention to the idealist interpretation especially of the Copenhagen school of quantum phenomena. The author has rightly suggested that it amounts essentially to the denial of objective reality and the knowability thereof.

In the Marxist-Leninist analysis of a scientific theory such as the quantum theory, which brought about a qualitative change in our understanding of physics and about objective reality, it is clearly insufficient to indicate the idealist distortions and to make a general affirmation of the dialectical materialist philosophical posit'on. The Marxist stand, viewpoint and method must be applied in a detailed examination of the scientific theory from every angle, in order to separate its rational core from its idealist philosophical trappings.

From this standpoint arise two substantive criticisms of Thecke-dath's presentation of the question of Marxism and quantum mechanics. First, Theckedath has not clearly brought out the revolutionary core of the quantum theory, the core that forms the basis for further theoretical advances in contemporary physics. Secondly^ he does not really show how the Marxist stand^ viewpoint and method can be (and has been) applied to the solution of the contradictions that have arisen between the existing quantum theory and the most recent scientific data. Theckedath's presentation is characterized by a one-sided emphasis on the v^ork of David Bohm. Prematurely, and quite unconvincingly, it elevates the tentative views of Bohm into the Marxist-Leninist standpoint on quantum mechanics.

With the quantum theory, the first revolutionary step was that of Planck and Einstein who boldly postulated that energy is transmitted in a discontinuous fashion through quanta. This was a sharp break with the established ideas of 'continuity' in classical physics and was confirmed immediately in the photo-electric .effect. The second revolutionary step "was the de Broglie hypothesis on the complicated form of matter. The concept of 'wave-particle duality9 was a great step forward; and the various



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