Consciousness Encounters Quantum Physics: A Scientific Argument for Panpsychism ~ Shan Gao


Consciousness is the most familiar phenomenon. Yet it is the hardest one to explain. Even today, it is still unclear whether and how consciousness emerges from mere matter or whether consciousness is a fundamental property of matter. The crux of the issue is to decide if consciousness has causal efficacies in the physical world, which is not classical but quantum at the deepest level. If consciousness is fundamental as panpsychism holds, then the fundamental consciousness property should take part in the causal chains of the quantum world and should present itself in our investigation of the world. Is consciousness causally efficient in the quantum world then? How to find the quantum physical effects of consciousness if they indeed exist?

This book will propose a promising solution to the hard problem of consciousness by investigating the possible quantum effects of consciousness. Admittedly, it has been a hot topic of debate whether there is a subtle connection between quantum physics and consciousness. Different from the existing speculations, the analysis of the book is based on the well-accepted assumption that quantum processes such as quantum measurements are objective physical processes, independent of the consciousness of observers. To our great surprise, however, this banal assumption may have profound implications for the nature of consciousness. For it implies that a conscious being can distinguish definite perceptions and their quantum superpositions under certain conditions, while a measuring system without consciousness cannot distinguish such quantum states. The existence of this distinct physical effect of consciousness further implies that consciousness is not emergent but a fundamental feature of the universe. This provides a convincing scientific argument for panpsychism.

The main ideas of this book have been published in professional journals such as Minds and Machines, and will soon be introduced in the prestigious Journal of Consciousness Studies. Although the book places priority on the rigor of the scientific arguments, its contents are basically comprehensible to general readers. This little book will appeal to all those who have been looking for a real understanding of the mysterious universe.

Shan Gao is a theoretical physicist and philosopher of physics at the Institute for the History of Natural Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He received his Ph.D. in Philosophy of Physics from University of Sydney. His major interests are foundations of quantum mechanics, philosophy of physics, history of modern physics, and philosophy of mind. His original ideas, including random discontinuous motion, quantum superluminal communication and quantum panpsychism, have been published in professional journals such as Foundations of Physics, Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, Proceedings of the Royal Society A, Minds and Machines, Journal of Consciousness Studies, and so on. He is the author of God Does Play Dice with the Universe, Quantum Physics: From Illusion to Reality, Understanding Quantum Physics: An Advanced Guide for the Perplexed and several other books. His first popular science book Quantum: A Historical and Logical Journey (in Chinese) is very successful, and it has sold more than ten thousands copies in China during the last few years. His new edited book Protective Measurements and Quantum Reality: Toward a New Understanding of Quantum Mechanics will be published in 2014 by Cambridge University Press, and the list of contributors includes Yakir Aharonov et al. For more details please visit http://gucas.academia.edu/ShanGao.

Click here to browse inside.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: