Rethinking the Metaphysical Implications of Quantum Discontinuity

The Error in Our Application of the Principle of Noncontradiction


  • Garry Seabrook University of Sydney


Ontology, noncontradiction, discontinuity


This essay argues that we struggle to understand the ontic meaning of quantum phenomena because we fail to realize that the discovery of quantum discontinuity, that is to say, the spatiotemporal randomness of quantum interaction, has brought into question our application of the principle of noncontradiction as a fundamental ontological law. It makes the novel proposal that the real (i.e., ontic) meaning of quantum discontinuity, the fundamental ontic configuration of our world and the problem of how the principle of noncontradiction should be applied in our world all equate to essentially the same question. The reason we fail to make this connection is because we conflate the application of the principle of noncontradiction as a fundamental ontological law with the idea of noncontradiction as an a priori truism. Once we come to terms with this basic error, we can then realize that the relationship of spatiotemporal continuity–discontinuity that defines the limit of measurable phenomena can also be understood to represent the appearance of the real fundamental configuration of our world. The simplest explanation for this real configuration is the emergence of causality from randomness. Bearing in mind, this fundamental ontic configuration would have to serve not only as the starting-point for our world, but also as the necessary connection and starting-point for any knowledge claims within and about our world, effectively including the origin of contradiction itself, the role classically played by the a priori truism of noncontradiction.


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How to Cite

Seabrook, G. (2023). Rethinking the Metaphysical Implications of Quantum Discontinuity: The Error in Our Application of the Principle of Noncontradiction. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 19(1), 1–20. Retrieved from