Repository | Book | Chapter


Making sense of non-sense in physics

the quantum koan

Michel Bitbol

pp. 61-80

In scientific knowledge, meaning-ascription is usually identified with representation-making. But quantum physics challenges this view. It has consistently prevented scientists from providing a unified narrative about the world, thus making them fear falling into non-sense. Few of them have accepted restricting their attention to the apparently nonsen- sical surface of micro-phenomena, together with the efficient predictive formalism of quantum theory, rather than telling a tale about putative depths behind phenomena. One wonders, then, whether taking repre- sentations as a paradigm of sense-making, even in cases like quantum physics where this looks problematic, is connected to a bias of Western culture. An alternative cultural stance, that of Zen Buddhism, is found to accommodate more easily the kind of non-representational episte- ology that makes sense of quantum physics.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1057/9781137363367_3

Full citation:

Bitbol, M. (2014)., Making sense of non-sense in physics: the quantum koan, in M. Cappuccio & T. Froese (eds.), Enactive cognition at the edge of sense-making, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 61-80.

This document is unfortunately not available for download at the moment.