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Between Physics and Metaphysics: A Discussion of the Status of Mind in Quantum Mechanics

Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI,volume 414)

Abstract

We discuss the ‘Consciousness Causes Collapse Hypothesis’ (CCCH), the interpretation of quantum mechanics according to which consciousness solves the measurement problem. At first, it seems that the very hypothesis that consciousness causally acts over matter counts as a reductio of CCCH. However, CCCH won’t go so easily. In this paper we attempt to bring new light to the discussion. We distinguish the ontology of the interpretation (the positing of a causally efficacious consciousness as part of the furniture of reality) from metaphysics (the metaphysical character of that consciousness). That distinction allows us to map the philosophical theories of consciousness compatible with quantum mechanics under the tenets of CCCH. Also, it indicates that the problem will have to be discussed at a metaphysical level rather than at the physical level. Our analysis corroborates recent arguments to the effect that this interpretation is not ruled out so easily.

Keywords

  • Consciousness
  • Interpretation of quantum mechanics
  • Ontology
  • Metaphysics

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Nevertheless, it is not unfalsifiable, as the CCCH is in principle empirically distinguishable from any no-collapse approach to QM; see Ćirković (2005) for details.

  2. 2.

    Although the term “consciousness” is absent, it is almost unanimous that von Neumann (1955, pp. 418–420) refers to the consciousness of the observer when he enunciates the causal feature of the “subjective perception” of the observer. For a historical motivation of this, see Jammer (1974, p. 480).

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Arroyo, R.W., Arenhart, J.R.B. (2019). Between Physics and Metaphysics: A Discussion of the Status of Mind in Quantum Mechanics. In: de Barros, J.A., Montemayor, C. (eds) Quanta and Mind. Synthese Library, vol 414. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-21908-6_3

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