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Volume :28 Issue : 112 2010      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

Complementarity in the Philosophy of Mind: The Object/ Subject Distinction

Auther : Majeda Omar

This paper examines the concept of complementarity as advanced by the physicist Niels Bohr and focuses on both its epistemological aspects and its application to psychology. According to Bohr, 'complementarity' denotes a logical relation between two descriptions or sets of concepts which, though mutually exclusive, are nevertheless both necessary for an exhaustive description of a certain phenomenon or situation. The paper is comprised of two parts.
Part One discusses Bohr's principle of complementarity and its application in describing human conscious  processes.
Several influences on Bohr's thinking are explored in Part Two. These include the mathematician Bernhard Riemann's theory of complex functions and the philosopher Immanuel Kant's notion of 'Transcendental Ego'. A comparison is also drawn between Bohr's ideas and philosopher and psychologist William James's similar pronouncements in his monumental work The Principles of Psychology, with which Bohr was quite familiar. A striking similarity between Bohr's and James's systems of epistemology is pointed out.

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