Does Consciousness-Collapse Quantum Mechanics Facilitate Dualistic Mental Causation?

Journal of Cognitive Science (forthcoming)
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One of the most serious challenges (if not the most serious challenge) for interactive psycho-physical dualism (henceforth interactive dualism or ID) is the so-called ‘interaction problem’. It has two facets, one of which this article focuses on, namely the apparent tension between interactions of non-physical minds in the physical world and physical laws of nature. One family of approaches to alleviate or even dissolve this tension is based on a collapse solution (‘consciousness collapse/CC) of the measurement problem in quantum mechanics (QM). The idea is that the mind brings about the collapse of a superposed wave function onto one of its eigenstates. Thus, it is claimed, can the mind change the course of things without violating any law figuring in physical theory. I will first show that this hope is premature because energy and momentum are probably not conserved in collapse processes, and that even if this can be dealt with, the violations are either severe or produce further ontological problems. Second, I point out several conceptual difficulties for interactionist CC. I will also present solutions for those problems, but it will become clear that those solutions come at a high cost. Third, I shall briefly list some empirical problems which make life even harder for interactionist CC. I conclude with remarks about why no- collapse interpretations of QM don’t help either and what the present study has shown is the real issue for ID: namely to find a plausible integrative view of dualistic mental causation and laws of nature.



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Alin C. Cucu
University of Lausanne

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