Zeh's misappropriation of Einstein's *ganzer langer Weg*
H. D. Zeh, in the recent Physics of Foundations Letters (Vol. 13, No. 3),
has not only declared that "the HeisenbergBohr picture of quantum mechanics
can now be claimed dead", but he has claimed to represent the view of
Einstein, whom he quotes as saying to Heisenberg: "Only the theory may tell
us what we can observe. ...On the whole long path (*ganzer langer Weg*) from
the event to its registration in our consciousness you have to know how
nature works". Zeh goes on to explain, "Einstein did thus *not* suggest
that the theory has to postulate 'observables' for this purpose (as the
first part of this quotation is often understood)".
In Zeh's own theory he proposes only a two subsystem decomposition of the
global state vector, correlated in various exact and approximate ways, the
latter resulting in decoherence (he claims).
I would suggest that Zeh's 'theory' is NOT AT ALL what Einstein meant by the
*ganzer langer Weg*. What he meant can be understood only in the context of
the following quote: "I believe that the first step in the setting of a
'real external world' is the formulation of the concept of bodily objects
and bodily objects of various kinds". Notice that he says, *the first
step*, whereas "objectification" comes only as a conclusion of Zeh's
analysis, based on his two subsystem decomposition of the global state
vector.
I discussed what the types of objects were to which Einstein referred in a
recent essay. I will enumerate them again: 1) the quantum noumenal object,
which obeys the Schrodinger Equation, 2) the extended quantum object, von
Neumann's I, which includes the emotional and mental components of the
physical essence of a quantum system, 3) the intermediate object, von
Neumann's II, which is essentially etheric, 4) the phenomenal object, the
lowest third of von Neumann's III, 5) the classical object, the highest
third of von Neumann's III, and finally 6) the enduring object, which gives
us the clue as to how to combine I, II, and III and really treat the von
Neumann chain in a fully logical and mathematical way.
Einstein and von Neumann were rivals at the Institute for Advanced Studies
in Princeton, and it is said that Albert was frequently the target of
Jonny's practical jokes. Taking events in daily life as an indication of
deeper differences, I think Einstein's sober assessment of the *ganzer
langer Weg* was clearly aimed as a criticism of von Neumann's shoddy and
incomplete analysis of the quantum measurement problem in his book,
"Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics".
Zeh wants to cut quantum theory in half and presume that the deterministic
law of unitary evolution of the state vector in the position representation,
namely the Schrodinger Equation, IS the theory, of which Einstein spoke,
while the requirement that the state vector be expanded in terms of
eigenvectors of an operator representing the essentially classical observer
IS NOT the theory. This is, frankly, preposterous. I am not saying there
are not other ways of defining the essential operators, but they do not
supplant entirely what is already a well established foundation of the
theory.
We can take as a further indication of deeper sentiments the fact that there
was nothing but the greatest admiration and respect between Einstein and
Bohr. Einstein remarked on several occasions after his 1935 meetings with
Bohr how tremendously impressed he was by Bohr as a person and as a thinker.
The contest between Bohr and Einstein was not a boxing match, much less a
nuclear war, but rather a meeting of true minds, one representing the
observational basis of the theory and the other representing the noumenon in
nature, to which the observer must relate.
In fact, Bohr was influenced in a major way by his interaction with
Einstein, even though he attempted to vigorously defend the essence of his
new theory during the debates. He was influenced to do exactly what
Einstein thought necessary to do, and what von Neumann had already done in a
totally inadequate way  to look into in a deeper way the metaphysical
structure of the up until then observational theory. It is well known that
Einstein had by then rejected observationalism or operationalism in favor of
noumenalism, and that was the substance of his remarks to Heisenberg, quoted
above.
But, THAT DOES NOT MEAN that he was advocating the false and pernicious
distortion of noumenalism, espoused by Zeh, which suggests that the
phenomenological (essentially classical) observer has no essential role to
play in relating to the noumenon in nature. The latter is the very essence
of quantum theory, which Bohr had so vigorously defended. On that essential
point, Einstein did not in fact disagree and there is nothing in the debates
to suggest that he did. Rather, he insisted that one must improve the
relationship of the observer to the observed by understanding in a more
complete way the foundational relationship of the observed to the observer.
Zeh is like another Nietzsche declaring 'God is dead'. Every schoolboy has
seen the retort on the bathroom wall, 'Nietzsche is dead' God. I fully
intend to proffer complete mathematical proof of all my conjectures in this
essay and mathematical disproof of the 'theory' of Zeh and all such
'theories', in good time.
Peter Joseph Mutnick 1949  2000
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