Manual Einstein’s Struggles with Quantum Theory: A Reappraisal

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It should be stressed that consciousness — or mind - is not a singular human feature. Consciousness has been rightly associated with living beings at large, and not only, and not mainly, the great mammals — for it comes all the way down into the lowest levels of nature.

To be sure, the strong free will theorem is certainly a strong defence for anthropocentric worldviews.

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It shows that particles and waves behave exactly in the way in which subjects of behavioral sciences behave; as a consequence, they are free in the strongest sense of the word; that is, they read the environment and act upon it by choice, and are not just unconscious responses to a stimulus. The very development of information processing occurs according to the evolution — of the individuals or the species.

The nonlinearity of life means that living beings gain information — although not necessarily memory. Living is thus the process by which we gain information, and this is the very condition for learning. Any system that is capable of learning can adapt to the environment. Quantum entanglement is the process by which new information is gained and processed at the same time. All in all, the reality of the world depends on our observation.

It is the theory what determines what we can see Einstein. The observation is conscious, and consciousness transforms data into information, and information into knowledge. Shortly said, we create our own reality. Panpsychism adopts a twofold way, thus: on the one side, it is about the role of consciousness in reality, whereas, on the other side, it deals with life and its place in the economy of the universe.

Here I do not argue in favor of the anthropic cosmological principle, in neither its weak nor its strong version. Panpsychism turns out to be nearly identical to hylozoism and pantheism, and biocentrism. What appears in Figure 1 above as four different stances is after all a united framework. In simple words, consciousness can be here grasped as life. Classically stated, the question is whether consciousness affects reality by the act of observation. More radically, the question then becomes how life affects the universe by being and becoming. Quantum theory is after all, it seems, about the role of freedom in the universe.

The universe is conscious and alive, simply because consciousness and reality are entangled, which therefore means that one does not exist without the other. Quantum science shows that quantum phenomena rely on superpositions — in other words, on possibilities. In the framework of the quantum world, possibilities are real, i.


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Kauffman puts it, life is a physical property of the universe itself, very much as temperature, mass, energy, gravity, etc. Life and consciousness are not even emergent phenomena, but ever-present aspects of reality. In the same way, consciousness is a physical property of the brain, just very much like synapsis, the system of glands, or electro-chemical impulses.

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The question then about how consciousness or the mind arises from the brain or how life appears in the universe are wrong questions, for they are posed in terms of causality and its variants — emergentism POPPER, , and superseded relations CHALMERS, If freedom is to make any sense at all in the universe, then consciousness is not an epiphenomenon, and life cannot be understood in terms of transcendence. Quantum science sets out the ground for freedom hereafter. This paper argues for a strong defense of panpsychism. However, by all means mysticism must be discarded here, even though panpsychism has been associated with mysticism.


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The claim here has not never been that consciousness creates reality. Rather, the contention of this paper is that reality is a living system — whence a conscious stance. There are levels of reality — hence also levels of consciousness. The classical understanding of consciousness conceives of it as just witnessing the world. Quantum theory, on the contrary, allows understanding that consciousness acts upon reality — in acausal ways.

To be sure, causality is not the only way in which action happens in the universe. It is not even the main way; it is just the way the classical science of western civilization says it happens. In a world in which consciousness is a mere witness freedom does not exist, it is an illusion. Consciousness is then a mere product of the objective world.

However, if one assumes that consciousness and free will do not emerge with life, but as part of the universe, whence panpsychism is entirely justified, freedom is possible — moreover and paradoxically, freedom is unavoidable, inescapable. The universe or nature is the very realm of freedom, very much as consciousness is the unceasing experience of freedom.

Einsteins Struggles With Quantum Theory A Reappraisal

It should be highlighted that freedom coincides with randomness — a most radical openness, which goes against the notion that randomness is chaotic. Quantum mechanics tells us about the ultimate randomness of nature in more than fifteen different interpretations. Dealing with randomness and life are two sides of one and the same token. Nonetheless, one should not conclude that life is totally random; instead, randomness pervades life to some extent.

Panpsychism disallows any form of determinism. It is freedom, after all — freewill, if you wish — that is finally at stake in this discussion. Life, it is claimed here, is about gaining degrees of freedom, and enhancing, enlarging or deepening the degrees of freedom already attained. As it is well known, the complexity of a system is proportional to the degrees of freedom the system has or exhibits.

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The more degrees of freedom a system has, the more complex it is. The mechanist interpretation of the world is wrong - very much as the deterministic interpretation of the world is wrong, too. Quantum science opens up the doors to a view of the world where freedom is possible — hence life is possible as well, not just an emergent property of matter. More than fifteen different interpretations of quantum mechanics coexist, to date. The conclusion is that the many interpretations of quantum mechanics allow the present to be different.

Quite another issue would be a critical appraisal of these many interpretations.

Einsteins Struggles With Quantum Theory A Reappraisal

This remains the subject of a different paper. Consciousness processes information in non-algorithmic ways. If so, then quantum superpositions violate a rigid view of reality, a view that truly disenchants the world, as once Prigogine and Stengers state. Ultimately, panpsychism is grounded in, or is supported by, quantum entanglement. Coda: Xenophanes of Colophon, the ancient Greek philosopher deserves a moment here. A paraphrase of his ideas would sound like the following: The gods for every living being are human-like; for cats, they are cat-like; for trees, the gods are tree-like, for the rocks, they are rock-like, and the like.

In other words, over against the typical representation and conception of the gods, God or the Gods are not obliged to manifest themselves in one singular form — rather than in another. Obliging the gods to manifest themselves are, say, human beings is exactly idolatry. Literally a myth is a story or a song story , whereas as a logical statement is a based on propositional language: S is P. Physical Review Letters , v. Communication in plants : neuronal aspects of life. Berlin: Springer, The anthropic cosmological principle.

Science and ultimate reality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, BELL, J. Speakable and unspeakable in quantum mechanics : collected papers on quantum mechanics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press , The conscious mind : in search of a fundamental theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press, The strong free will theorem.

Foundations of Physics , v. Information and the nature of reality : from physics to metaphysics. Pericles et Verdi : la philosophie de Francois Chatelet.

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Paris: Les Editions de Minuit, Capitalisme et schizophrenie 2: Mille plateau. Quantum mechanics as quantum information, mostly. Journal of Modern Optics , v. The age of entanglement.

When quantum physics was reborn. New York: Vintage Books, In the beginning : the birth of the living universe. Boston: Little Brown, Berlin: W. Original Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic, The conscious universe : part and whole in modern physical theory. KANT, I. Critique of pure reason. At home in the universe. Humanity in a creative universe.


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