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Mind and Matter XI Quantum Physics IX. Topic for today Quantum Physics IX – Interpretations of quantum mechanics (II) 2 Quantum Mechanics (QM) is an enduring.

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Presentation on theme: "Mind and Matter XI Quantum Physics IX. Topic for today Quantum Physics IX – Interpretations of quantum mechanics (II) 2 Quantum Mechanics (QM) is an enduring."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mind and Matter XI Quantum Physics IX

2 Topic for today Quantum Physics IX – Interpretations of quantum mechanics (II) 2 Quantum Mechanics (QM) is an enduring source of entertainingly intractable philosophical puzzles. After nearly a hundred years of pondering, the reality of QM seems more and more like a magic trick that stubbornly resists all attempts at common-sense explanation. Ron Garret (2001/08:1)

3 The Henry Interpretation (I) “Do you find any of these interpretations satisfactory? I certainly do not. And [Rosenblum & Kuttner] clearly do not. So, let me offer the Henry interpretation: There is no actually existing universe at all. The universe is purely mental. from Henry’s review of Rosenblum & Kutttner 3 Richard Conn Henry (1940-) Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University

4 The Henry Interpretation (II) “If you prefer to do so, you may call this the Eddington-Jeans interpretation.” Eddington’s view: The external world of physics has thus become a world of shadows. In removing our illusions we have removed the substance, for indeed we have seen that substance is one of the greatest of our illusions. —Sir Arthur Eddington (The Nature of the Physical World, 1928) 4

5 The Henry Interpretation (III) “The only reason that it is difficult to accept the Henry interpretation is that few except Henry believe it. We are social creatures, with a herd mentality. But, Malcolm Gladwell has educated me that there can come a “tipping point,” and I take it on myself to push toward broad acceptance of my simple thesis.” 5

6 Signs of increasing attention to quantum phenomena 6 Quantum entanglement Schrödinger’s cat

7 The Henry Interpretation (IV) “Let me ask my readers, does your own mind actually exist? Note that I am not talking about your brain, I am talking about your mind. Well, of course it does! Cogito ergo sum. After all our convoluted and ultimately entirely unsuccessful attempts to tease something, anything, REAL out of quantum mechanics and out of the observations (the so-called “universe”), here, first crack out of the box, we have…a solid and irrefutable success! Something that is real. And, it is a success that you cannot arrive at from physics, because physics does not treat of consciousness at all!” 7

8 The Henry Interpretation (V) Summarizing the next points of Henry’s argument.. Having accepted that your mind exists, You must now decide whether other minds also exist – This requires a leap of faith – If you don’t accept other minds, you are left with solipsism – If you do accept the existence of other minds, then you are accepting the existence of a whole lot of Mind For more, see Henry’s review of Rosenblum & Kuttner, Quantum Enigma (2007). The whole review can be accessed from the course website, under Readings. 8

9 The Information Theoretic Interpretation Ron Garrett’s version Garrett proposes an Information Theory Interpretation – Related to the Ithaca interpretation of David Mermin (Cornell U) Garret: “… the structure of the theory describes a world where (apparently) physical entities literally do not have physical properties until those properties are measured.” Garret observes that the mathematics of the quantum wave function looks a lot like that of Shannon’s Information Theory After the mathematical argument, he concludes: – 53:20 – 55:20 9

10 More Ron Garret: Quantum Information Theory (QIT) “Spooky action at a distance” ought to be no more (and no less) mysterious than the “spooky action across time” which makes the universe consistent with itself from one moment to the next. Nonetheless, this story extracts a certain toll on our intuition because it insists that we abandon our usual notions of physical reality. The mathematics of quantum information theory tell us unambiguously that particles are not real. So Mermin was on the right track, but he didn’t get it quite right: not only is the moon is not really there when nobody looks, but it isn't really there even when you do look! "Physical reality" is not "real", but information-theoretical reality is. We are not physical entities, but informational ones. 10

11 Max Planck’s opinion “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.” 11

12 A view from theoretical biology No attempt to discover the reality behind the world of appearance, i.e. by neglecting the subject, has ever come to anything, because the subject plays the decisive role in constructing the world of appearance, and on the far side of that world there is no world at all. —Jakob von Üxkull Theoretical Biology (1926) p. xv 12

13 John Wheeler’s View 13 “No phenomenon is a real phenomenon until it is an observed phenomenon” “We are participators in bringing into being not only the near and here but the far away and long ago. We are in this sense, participators in bringing about something of the universe in the distant past and if we have one explanation for what's happening in the distant past why should we need more?” John Archibald Wheeler

14 Roger Penrose’s opinion 14 In my view the conscious brain does not act according to classical physics. It doesn’t even act according to conventional quantum mechanics. It acts according to a theory we don’t yet have. Roger Penrose (1931- )

15 15 T h a t ‘ s i t f o r t o d a y !

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