A quantum theory of consciousness

Minds and Machines 18 (1):39-52 (2008)
Abstract
The relationship between quantum collapse and consciousness is reconsidered under the assumption that quantum collapse is an objective dynamical process. We argue that the conscious observer can have a distinct role from the physical measuring device during the process of quantum collapse owing to the intrinsic nature of consciousness; the conscious observer can know whether he is in a definite state or a quantum superposition of definite states, while the physical measuring device cannot “know”. As a result, the consciousness observer can distinguish the definite states and their quantum superposition, while the physical measuring device without consciousness cannot do. This provides a possible quantum physical method to distinguish man and machine. The new result also implies that consciousness has causal efficacies in the physical world when considering the existence of quantum collapse. Accordingly consciousness is not reducible or emergent, but a new fundamental property of matter. This may establish a quantum basis for panpsychism, and make it be a promising solution to the hard problem of consciousness. Furthermore, it is suggested that a unified theory of matter and consciousness includes two parts: one is the psychophysical principle or corresponding principle between conscious content and matter state, and the other is the complete quantum evolution of matter state, which includes the definite nonlinear evolution element introduced by consciousness and relating to conscious content. Lastly, some experimental schemes are presented to test the proposed quantum theory of consciousness.
Keywords Causal efficacies of consciousness   Consciousness   Panpsychism   Quantum collapse   Quantum effects of consciousness   To distinguish man and machine   Unified theory of matter and consciousness
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