Cassirer and Bohr on Intuitive and Symbolic Knowledge in Quantum Physics

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THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, ISSN: 0495-4548, Vol: 29, Issue: 3, Page: 417-429

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Pringe, Hernán
UPV/EHU Press; Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea / Universidad del País Vasco
Arts and Humanities
article description
This paper compares Cassirer's and Bohr's views on symbolic knowledge in quantum physics. Although both of them consider quantum physics as symbolic knowledge, for Cassirer this amounts to a complete renunciation to intuition in quantum physics, while according to Bohr only spatio-temporal images may provide the mathematical formalism of the theory with physical reference. We show the Kantian roots of Bohr's position and we claim that his Kantian concept of symbol enables Bohr to account for the sensible content of quantum theory as well as for its systematic relation to classical physics.