David Bohm about Einstein and Bohr
You see, Einstein and Bohr, two of the leading theoretical physicists of this century, they began very close friends and very interested in physics, having a tremendous amount in common, but they disagreed really on a philosophical point, which was, you see, what is the criterion for truth in science, what sort of theory would you allow.
Now Einstein wanted to say that eventually we’ll get an idea, which was an unambiguous correspondence with reality, that would be an object of reality, which the observer wouldn’t play a very big part. He would be there but not fundamentally and important.
Now Bohr developed a view in which the observer played a key part as they were inseparable, the observer and the observed. And to Einstein that seemed inadmissible as a scientific theory. He called Bohr’s view a tranquilizer philosophy. And Bohr felt that Einstein had developed similar ideas in Relativity Theory and he was now turning against him, you see, in a reactionary way.
But they talked about it and talked, for many, many years. And they came up with arguments and counter-arguments and gradually they had nothing to say to each other. Each one asserted his position and defended it against the other. They got nowhere and after a while they probably got tired of going on with it and they sort of drifted apart.
At one stage, you see Einstein lived in Princeton and he worked at the institute for grand study, and one time Bohr was invited there and they never met, you see. So there was this mathematician Herman Weyl, who thought really they ought to meet, and he arranged a party where he invited both these men and their students.
At that party each one gathered at the opposite ends of the room with their students and they didn’t meet because they really had nothing to say to each other. Since two people have two fundamentally different sets of values about what constitutes the truth, then they can’t really meet.
When they did met in the past, they argued about the scientific content, but that was not really the point at issue, you see. Their argument was not meeting their real disagreement.
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