Consciousness and the Collapse of the Wave Function
For more information see the Lecture on YouTube
- If consciousness can't be explained in physical terms, then it is non-physical and fundamental.
- But if physical domain is closed, consciousness can't play a casual role.
- Quantum mechanics postulates a wavelike reality where things don't have definite properties, but we experience a world with definite properties.
- Quantum mechanics describes particles as a wave function.
- A wave function may specify a definite position, or be in a superposition of different positions.
- The Schrodinger Equation says that a particle may tend towards superposition from a known position.
- When a system is in superposition, a measurement might reveal a position probabilistically.
- The Born Rule: the probability depends on the wave function's amplitude at the position.
- After measurement the wave function enters a new state (an eigenstate), the process often called the collapse.
- The Measurement Problem: formalism says measurement collapses the wave function. But how?
- Schrodinger's Cat poses the question of what collapses the wave function? Or is the cat both alive and dead?
- Is measurement observation by consciousness.
- M-properties hypothesis: a system's wave functionis always in an eigenstate of the m-operator.
- Whenever an m-property enters a superposition, it collapses to definiteness.
- Entanglement: whenever a superposed property becomes entangled with an m-property that property collapses.
- Can think of m-particle (Medusa particle) as measurers that collapse the position of a superposed particle.
- Hypothesis: consciousness as an m-property.
- Physics is causally closed leaving no role for consciousness.
- Physicists often reject consciousness collapse becasue of dualism. Philosophers often reject dualism because of incompatibility with physics.
- Epiphenomenalism: unidirectional laws, physics to consciousness.
- Interactionism: bidirectional laws.
- Panpsychism: consciousness is in everything - but that cannot be true or wave function would be always collapsed
- Quantum Zeno effect: frequent quantum measurement makes it hard for measured quantities to change - continuous collapse of consciousness will make it hard for consciousness to evolve.