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Environmental Ethics

Volume 15, Issue 4, Winter 1993

Henry J. Folse, Jr.
Pages 345-353

The Environment and the Epistemological Lesson of Complementarity

Following discussions by Callicott and Zimmerman, I argue that much of deep ecology’s critique of science is based on an outdated image of natural science. The significance of the quantum revolution for environmental issues does not lie in its alleged intrusion of the subjective consciousness into the physicists’ description of nature. Arguing from the viewpoint of Niels Bohr’s framework of complementarity, I conclude that Bohr’s epistemological lesson teaches that the object of description in physical science must be interaction and that it is now mistaken to imagine that physical science aims to represent nature in terms of properties it possesses apart from interaction.

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