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Keywords:

  • atomic physics;
  • complementarity;
  • Copenhagen interpretation;
  • irrationality of reality;
  • metaphysics;
  • probability;
  • quantum theory;
  • repression of the irrational;
  • synchronicity;
  • uncertainty relations;
  • unconscious;
  • veiled reality

Abstract. Nobel Laureate in physics Wolfgang Pauli studied philosophy and the history of ideas intensively, especially in his later years, to form an accurate ontology vis-à-vis quantum theory. Pauli's close contacts with the Swiss psychiatrist C.G. Jung gave him special qualifications for also understanding the basic problems of empirical knowledge. After Pauli's sudden death in 1958, this work was maintained mainly in his posthumously published correspondence, which so far extends only to 1939. Because Pauli's view differs essentially from the direction physics research took after the deaths of the founding fathers of quantum theory, this article attempts to describe the main features in Pauli's revolutionary thought, which is based on nature's “epistemological lesson” as revealed by Pauli's atomic research. Pauli's conclusions have important implications for various issues in Western culture, not least with the limits of science and the relation of science to religion.