Tuesday, October 11, 2011, 7-9 PM
Mangalam Research Center
for Buddhist Languages
2018 Allston Way
Berkeley, CA (one block from downtown Berkeley BART)
The analogy between crucial features of quantum physics and the Buddhist concept of pratītyasamutpāda (dependent origination, or interdependence) has often been noted and discussed. In this talk, Professor Bitbol goes beyond the formal similarities to discuss the precise ways in which the analogy holds and why this should be so. The real issue, he suggests, is not about similarities in world views, nor is it about different methodologies for probing reality that arrive at similar results. Rather, the truly meaningful link between these two disciplines is their extensive critique of all metaphysics and claims to essentialism.
Michel Bitbol is Director of Research at the National Center of Applied Epistemology in Paris. After a distinguished career in biophysics, he turned to the philosophy of physics. He is the author of Schrödinger’s Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics (Kluwer, 1996), as well as two works in French developing a neo-Kantian interpretation of quantum mechanics. During the past decade, he has focused on the links between quantum mechanics and the philosophy of mind, working closely with the late Francisco Varela. He has also written on the relation between Buddhist teachings and physics, and has been studying Sanskrit in order to read Buddhist texts in the original.