In this talk Arun Bala discusses the physicist Niels Bohr’s efforts to extend the principle of complementarity he formulated for atomic physics into the biological, psychological and social sciences. These extensions have always remained controversial with some even attributing Bohr’s forays beyond physics to the empty speculations of an aging scientist waxing philosophical. Bala argues otherwise. By offering an explanation for the extensions of complementarity beyond physics he vindicates Bohr’s lifelong efforts to elevate complementarity as a general epistemological principle to replace mechanical causality for both the natural and social sciences following the demise of classical physics and the rise of the quantum theory.
Prof Arun Bala
Arun Bala is a physicist and philosopher of science. He is the author of Complementarity Beyond Physics: Neil’s Bohr’s Parallels (Palgrave Macmillan 2017) and The Dialogue of Civilizations in the Birth of Modern Science (Palgrave Macmillan 2006), and edited Asia, Europe and the Emergence of Modern Science: Knowledge Crossing Boundaries (Palgrave Macmillan 2012) and The Bright Dark Ages: Comparative and Connective Perspectives (Brill 2016). He has held teaching and visiting positions at the National University of Singapore as well as the University of Toronto, Western University, and Dalhousie University in Canada. ... Read More