In E. Haven & A. Khrennikov (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Quantum Models in Social Science: Applications and Grand Challenges. London: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 293-317 (2017)

Paavo Pylkkänen
University of Helsinki
Western philosophy and science have a strongly dualistic tradition regarding the mental and physical aspects of reality, which makes it difficult to understand their possible causal relations. In recent debates in cognitive neuroscience it has been common to claim on the basis of neural experiments that conscious experiences are causally inefficacious. At the same time there is much evidence that consciousness does play an important role in guiding behavior. The author explores whether a new way of understanding the causal role of mental states and consciousness could be provided by the ontological interpretation of the quantum theory (Bohm and Hiley, Phys. Rep. 144:323–348, 1987; Bohm and Hiley, The undivided universe: An ontological interpretation of quantum theory. Routledge: London, 1993). This interpretation radically changes our notion of matter by suggesting that a new type of active information plays a causal role at the quantum level of reality. The author thus considers to what extent the alleged causal powers of consciousness involve information, and then moves on to consider whether information in (conscious) mental states can be connected to the information at the level of quantum physics. In this way he sketches how quantum theory might help to throw light upon one of the grand challenges facing the social sciences and the humanities, namely the question of whether consciousness plays any genuine causal role in the physical world.
Keywords Function of consciousness  Mental causation  Epiphenomenalism  Bohmian quantum information  Active information  Quantum potential  Bohmian mechanics  Bohm
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

A Cognitive Theory of Consciousness.Bernard J. Baars - 1988 - Cambridge University Press.
The Modularity of Mind.Robert Cummins & Jerry Fodor - 1985 - Philosophical Review 94 (1):101.

View all 43 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Quantum Epoché.Paavo Pylkkänen - 2015 - Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology 119:332-340.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Bohmian Mechanics and Quantum Information.Sheldon Goldstein - 2010 - Foundations of Physics 40 (4):335-355.
A Quantum Physical Argument for Panpsychism.Shan Gao - 2013 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 20 (1-2):59-70.
Bohmian Mechanics.Sheldon Goldstein - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Consciousness in the Light of Quantum Theory.Paavo Pylkkänen - 2016 - In Prem Saran Satsangi, Stuart Hameroff, Vishal Sahni & Pami Dua (eds.), Consciousness: Integrating Eastern and Western Perspectives. New Delhi: New Age Books. pp. 23-34.
The Quantum Epoché.Paavo Pylkkänen - 2015 - Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology 119:332-340.
What is Bohmian Mechanics.Valia Allori & Nino Zanghi - 2004 - International Journal of Theoretical Physics 43:1743-1755.
A Quantum Theory of Consciousness.Shan Gao - 2007 - Minds and Machines 18 (1):39-52.


Added to PP index

Total views
392 ( #21,508 of 2,444,933 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
19 ( #38,774 of 2,444,933 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes