Where Quantum Theory Lives
Are subatomic particles into leapfrog, or are they into surfing? Either way, they're into hide-and-seek. Quantum theory cannot operate where its physical consequences live.
In and out of academia, metaphysics has trouble getting respect. It is variously criticised as foolish, mushy, and unnecessary. It is dismissed and even mocked for its supposed “non-physicality” and resistance to empirical methodology.
“The triumphs of modern science and engineering leave no doubt that metaphysics is nothing but a waste of time!” its critics bellow, contempt and belligerence smeared across their angry faces. “It’s for cranks, crackpots, and fools!”
According to adherents of the worldview known as physicalism, matter, energy, space, and time are all and only “physical”, together comprising that to which everything worth mentioning, i.e., everything that is “physical”, necessarily boils down. In short, they feel that reality and physicality are one and the same concept, and that anything else must supervene on “the physical” as a trivial correlate.
But what is the meaning of “physical”? If it means “conforming to the principles and methods of physics”, that’s a tautology (physics in, physics out). If it means “relating to physics or natural science”, this is just another tautology…a semantic interdependency of the otherwise undefined terms physics, natural, and science. If it means “related to matter or forces of nature", this merely expands the circularity to include two extra terms, matter and force; adding additional concepts like mass, motion, and resistance does more of the same. If we define physicality epistemically as “accessible to direct observation”, then inference and theorization are excluded. We appear to be stuck in semantic quicksand.
This is not just a temporary inconvenience. In fact, physical reality would be nonemergent - could not exist - without invisible infrastructure that exceeds the bounds of classical physicality and anchors science to ontology and epistemology. Metaphysical reality properly includes the physical by logical necessity - specifically, by the intelligibility criterion coupling intension and extension, attribute and value, pattern and content - and physical reality therefore implies its existence.
These two concepts, physics and metaphysics, are related but not commensurate. Their relationship is easy to express: physical reality instantiates metaphysical reality, providing its metaphysical intension (definitive properties) with an extension (set of physical instances). Because reality in general must everywhere play both of these roles, it must be metaformally quantized as self-dual identity operators coupling epistemic intelligence and ontic intelligibility. They are the entities required.
Why is is so hard for physicalistic STEM types to comprehend this straightforward relationship? One can only surmise that even while adorning their work with abstract mathematical concepts and equations, they have trouble conceptualizing reality in anything but the most concrete terms. They simply fail to possess the required capacity for abstraction.
Aside from that, the only gentle explanation is indoctrination and conditioning: they do not see what they are discouraged from seeing.