Dr. Marij van Strien

September 1st - November 30th, 2020

Research for a study about:

Quantum mechanics. Causality, and the limits of science. 1920-1940


My main research project at the moment deals with the impact of quantum mechanics on twentieth century philosophy. Quantum mechanics is a very successful theory describing nature at a fundamental level, and at the same time it is routinely presented as mysterious, paradoxical and impossible to understand. My general research question is how the puzzles connected to quantum mechanics have affected the general image of science in the twentieth century.

While in Vienna, I am looking specifically at the engagement of Moritz Schlick and Philipp Frank with the philosophical implications of quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics was often connected to logical empiricism because of the central role of observations in the theory; at the same time, the fact that causality was thought to be limited in quantum mechanics opened the door to a wide range of speculations concerning free will, vitalism, psychology and religion. Schlick and Frank were faced with the task of revising the concept of causality in the light of the development of quantum mechanics, while guarding the limits of science. This project thus looks at the broader context to debates on the implications of quantum physics for causality at that time, connecting these debates with the issue of the limits of science and the public image of science.

Online Lecture


Moderator: Iulian Toader

Date: 12/11/2020

Time: 15h00 - 17h00

Venue: Moodel Collaborate