Engler, Olaf: Scientific Philosophy and Quantum Physics

The talk aims at investigating the relation between the emergence and development of quantum physics and scientific philosophy in the 1920s and 1930s. Primarily, I will focus on two central figures of scientific philosophy: Hans Reichenbach and Moritz Schlick. As their published papers, manuscripts and extant correspondence indicate both of them were very much involved in the philosophical debate with respect to the quantum revolution. Apparently, from a philosophical point of view Reichenbach and Schlick not only gave an account of the fundamental concepts of causality and probability already at the beginning of the 1920s thereby anticipating the philosophical consequences of the development of quantum mechanics. Their discussion also led to an epoch-making change in scientific philosophy itself that was echoed by many physicists soon after at the end of the 1920s and the beginning of the 1930s.

Engler (Presentation)