, Volume 65, Issue 1, pp 97–115 | Cite as

A Quantum-Mechanical Argument for Mind–Body Dualism



I argue that a strong mind–body dualism is required of any formulation of quantum mechanics that satisfies a relatively weak set of explanatory constraints. Dropping one or more of these constraints may allow one to avoid the commitment to a mind–body dualism but may also require a commitment to a physical–physical dualism that is at least as objectionable. Ultimately, it is the preferred basis problem that pushes both collapse and no-collapse theories in the direction of a strong dualism in resolving the quantum measurement problem. Addressing this problem illustrates how the construction and evaluation of explanatorily rich physical theories are inextricably tied to the evaluation of traditional philosophical issues.


Bohmian Mechanic Measurement Record Body Dualism Collapse Theory Quantum Measurement Problem 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Albert D. Z. (1992) Quantum Mechanics and Experience. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  2. Albert D. Z., Loewer B. (1988) Interpreting the Many Worlds Interpretation. Synthese 77:195–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barrett J. A. (1994) The Suggestive Properties of Quantum Mechanics without the Collapse Postulate. Erkenntnis 41:233–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barrett J. A. (1995) The Single-Mind and Many-Minds Formulations of Quantum Mechanics. Erkenntnis 42:89–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barrett J. A. (1996) Empirical Adequacy and the Availability of Reliable Records in Quantum Mechanics. Philosophy of Science 63:49–64Google Scholar
  6. Barrett J. A. (1999) The Quantum Mechanics of Minds and Worlds. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  7. Bohm, D.: 1952, ‘A Suggested Interpretation of Quantum Theory in Terms of ‘Hidden Variables’, Parts I and II, Physical Review 85, 166–179 and 180–193.Google Scholar
  8. Barrett, J. A.: 2005a, ‘Nonlocal Correlations and Explanation in Relativistic Quantum Mechanics’, Forthcoming in Philosophy of Science.Google Scholar
  9. Barrett, J. A.: 2005b, ‘The Preferred-Basis Problem and the Quantum Mechanics of Everything’, Forthcoming in: British Journal for the Philosophy of Science Google Scholar
  10. Bohr N.: 1949, ‘Discussion with Einstein on Epistemological Problems in Atomic Physics’, in Schilpp, P. A. (ed.), Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist, pp. 200–241. Reprinted in Wheeler and Zurek (eds.) 1983, 9–49Google Scholar
  11. Bohr N. (1960) Atomic Physics and Human Knowledge. John Wiley & Sons, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  12. Ghirardi G. C., Rimini A., Weber T. (1986) Unified Dynamics for Microscopic and Macroscopic Systems. Physical Review D34:470CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hodgson D. (1991) The Mind Matters: Consciousness and Choice in a Quantum World. Clarendon Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  14. Kochen S., Specker E. P. (1967) The Problem of Hidden-variables in Quantum Mechanics. Journal of Mathematics and Mechanics 17:59–87Google Scholar
  15. Putnam, H.: 2005, ‘A Philosopher Looks at Quantum Mechanics (Again)’, Forthcoming in: British Journal for the Philosophy of Science Google Scholar
  16. von Neumann, J.: 1955, Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics (Princeton University Press, Princeton). Translated by R. Beyer from Mathematische Grundlagen der Quantenmechanik, Springer, Berlin, 1932.Google Scholar
  17. Wheeler J. A., Zurek W. H. (eds) (1983) Quantum Theory and Measurement. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  18. Wigner, E. P: 1961, ‘Remarks on the Mind–Body Question’, Originally published in The Scientist Speculates, Good, I. J. (ed.), Heinemann, London, pp. 284–302. Reprinted in Wheeler and Zurek (eds) (1983, 168–181).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CaliforniaIrvineUSA

Personalised recommendations