MLE Webcast: Philosophy

'Track Philosophy' Series 2 is launching on March 23rd

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Track "Philosophy" - Series 1 & 2


The first MLE webcast Track is a course on philosophy, curated by MLE Association Member Prof. Dr. Michel Bitbol, MD. The course concentrates on the topic: "Quantum Mechanics: A Theory with no View of the World".


The Q&A webinar on Track Philosophy Series 1 took place on October 20, 2020 at 18:00 CEST. MLE Friends had exclusive access to this interactive online event. Watch the recording here!


Series 2 on Track Philosophy with Michel Bitbol is launching on March 23rd! Series 2 is titled: "Consciousness East and West". In this second series of Track Philosophy, Michel Bitbol will delve into the problem of consciousness and our various attempts, across different scientific and philosophical traditions, to provide an accurate idea of its significance. He will walk us through some of the major limitations of the contemporary Western approach of cognitive science, particularly as it concerns our understanding of “phenomenal consciousness” (the first-person approach to consciousness, or consciousness as understood from the ground up). Other approaches, such as phenomenology, the contemplative traditions, some schools of Tibetan Buddhism, and the Kyoto school of philosophy, provide rich alternatives and/or complementary perspectives to the standard (neuro)scientific view of consciousness, accounting for different levels of experience out of which a new science can be formed.

This series of seven short courses will be followed by a live Q&A with Michel Bitbol on April 13th at 18:00 CET, exclusive to MLE Friends subscribers. We look forward to having you join us for this cutting-edge exploration of a topic that has bedeviled philosophers and scientists for centuries.


This series will be exclusively available to MLE Friends until October 2022. 

About the Expert

Michel Bitbol, France

Michel Bitbol is researcher at CNRS/Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, France. He received a M.D., a Ph.D. in physics and a 'Habilitation' in philosophy. After a start in scientific research, he turned to philosophy of science, editing texts by Erwin Schrödinger and formulating a neo-kantian philosophy of quantum mechanics.

He then studied the relations between physics and the philosophy of mind, in collaboration with Francisco Varela, and drew a parallel between Buddhist dependent arising and non-supervenient relations in quantum physics. He also developed a first-person conception of consciousness expressed from the standpoint of an experience of meditation. More recently, he engaged a debate with the philosophical movement called 'speculative realism', from the same standpoint.

Philosophy - Quantum Mechanics: A Theory with no View of the World

Part 1: How can we compare quantum mechanics and Buddhism?

It is widely held that there is a similarity between the Buddhist and the quantum views of the world. But, actually, the only similarity between the two disciplines is that they tend to challenge any view of the world whatsoever.

Part 2: Critique of views of the world in Buddhism & Quantum mechanics

From Niels Bohr (1927) to Chris Fuchs (2019), many physicists have challenged the idea that quantum mechanics is meant to give a ?picture of the world?. Their arguments are compared with Buddhism.

Part 3: Relativity of properties: The defeat of own-being

In quantum physics, there are no ?intrinsic properties?, but relational observables. Phenomena are co-arising with the process of their detection. This feature is compared with the Buddhist ?emptiness of own-being?.

Part 4: Dispelling 'quantum paradoxes' (1) - Schrödinger's cat without own-being

The defeat of own-being makes it easy to dispell ?quantum paradoxes?. We start with dispelling the famous paradoxes of ? the collapse of the wave function? and ?Schrödinger?s cat paradox?.

Part 5: Dispelling 'quantum paradoxes' (2) - Wave and corpuscles without own-being

Neither intrinsic waves, nor intrinsic particles : the behavior of quantum objects is relative to one?s experimental approach.

Part 6: Dispelling 'quantum paradoxes' (3) - Indeterminism

There are no intrinsic causes to individual events, but only relative causes. We compare this with Nagarjuna?s critique of causality.

Part 7: Dependent arising, entanglement, and 'non-locality'

Quantum entanglement is remarkably similar to Buddhist dependent arising. The meaning of this similarity is that even relations are relative, even emptiness is empty.