Werner Heisenberg and Thomas Aquinas on Natural Indeterminism
Article first published online: 1 OCT 2013
© 2013 The Dominican Council.
Volume 94, Issue 1054, pages 635–653, November 2013
How to Cite
Silva, I. (2013), Werner Heisenberg and Thomas Aquinas on Natural Indeterminism. New Blackfriars, 94: 635–653. doi: 10.1111/nbfr.12036
- Issue published online: 1 OCT 2013
- Article first published online: 1 OCT 2013
- Werner Heisenberg;
- Thomas Aquinas;
- uncertainty principle;
- ut in paucioribus
When Werner Heisenberg presented his views of the fundamental indeterminism to which his uncertainty principle pointed in the basic levels of reality described by quantum mechanics, he used the Aristotelian technical terms of act and potency, affirming that the quantum system is in potency before the measurement and that the potency was actualised when the measurement took place, speaking thus of a ‘new ontology’ of quantum mechanics. I argue that Thomas Aquinas’ Aristotelian account of indeterminism in nature, through his analysis of the notions of matter as potency and form as act, can provide a suitable framework to understand Heisenberg's philosophical intuition about the nature of quantum systems.