A Philosophical Review of Contemporary Quantum Theory

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No.2, 2019


A Philosophical Review of Contemporary Quantum Theory



Gao Ce, Qiao Xiaofei, Wu Guolin, Cheng Sumei and Cheng Rui


With the advent of the 21st century, a new quantum revolution has silently come to the fore, to the accompaniment of profound changes in our understanding of nature and in the development of human society. At the level of fundamental theory, scientists are seeking to construct a grand unified theory of nature, and at the level of applied science, quantum information, quantum communication, and the quantum computer are leading a technological revolution. The new quantum revolution will have an important influence on human society, making us turn to philosophical reflection and scrutiny and promoting changes and breakthroughs in philosophy itself. For this reason, the Editorial Department of this journal has invited five of the participants in “Contemporary Quantum Theory and the Rise of a New Scientific Philosophy,” a major project of the National Social Science Fund of China, to comment and reflect on the new quantum revolution. Professor Gao Ce and lecturer Qiao Xiaofei, of the Institute for the History of Science and Technology of Shanxi University, put forward a new concept, “Scientific philosophy in the posttruth era.” Taking the view that in the context of the new quantum revolution, the connotations of such basic concepts as time, space, and matter are undergoing profound changes, they provide a preliminary discussion of the issues of scientific boundaries, paradigms, and research programs. Professor Wu Guolin of the Institute for Advanced Study of Philosophy and Technology of South China University of Technology holds that the basic feature of quantum theory is “transcendence”: it goes beyond experience, but doesn’t depart from experience; rather, it makes experience possible. The truth of quantum interpretation unifies the truths of the ontology and epistemology of practice. Professor Cheng Sumei, of Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, puts forward the view that the establishment of the quantization hypothesis undermines the common ideas that “matter is infinitely divisible” and “nature is discontinuous,” and thus destroys the precise application of the conceptual framework built on these theories. Exploring the basic hypotheses of quantum theory and revealing its philosophical manifesto is a fundamental and urgent task. Associate Professor Cheng Rui at the Shanxi University Research Center for Philosophy of Science and Technology holds that since the last half of the 20th century, contemporary scientific theory and practice opens a completely new schema for the relationship  mathematics and physics. The isomorphism of the structure of mathematics and physics, the enantiomorphism of epistemology and the features of their holistic relationship have become the epistemological foundation of the reconstruction of standards for the evaluation of cutting-edge theories in physics. Of course, scholars may have different views on the ideas and propositions in these four papers. Our aim in organizing this special issue is to advance research on contemporary quantum theory from the perspective of philosophy. We welcome further illuminating research findings on contemporary quantum theory and the development of contemporary philosophy in an atmosphere of vigorous debate and clashes of ideas.