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Einstein's Error

Friday, November 13, 2015
5:00pm – 6:00pm

Storrs Campus
Laurel Hall 302

Whereas classical mechanics is causal, when Quantum Mechanics was discovered it was found not to be so. Einstein had a Kantian view of causality as a principle of universal application and thus believed Quantum Mechanics to be incomplete. His error was not to realize that the Principle of Causality is contextual and can only be applied in the context whence it arose, namely the macroworld. That this is so follows from a careful reading of Hume. As a philosopher, he discovered that the causal relation is neither logically necessary nor observable, and that it creates a mental act, which he called custom or habit. But then Hume, behaving as a natural scientist, tried to understand the origin of this mental act, using ideas that anticipate Darwin. But he did not have the facts for a proper darwinian argument. These were not available until Santiago Ramón y Cajal discovered ca 1890 the structure of the brain’s neural network and recognized it as a learning (that is, causal) system. Thus causality may be licensed because it reflects the inputs that allowed the creation of that neural network within evolutionary theory. But these inputs came of course from the macroworld, which thus is the only context within which causality may be used.


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