Quantum Physics and Consciousness: The Quest for a Common Conceptual Foundation

Mind and Matter 7 (1):59-80 (2009)
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Abstract

Similar problems keep reappearing in both the discussion about the “hard” problem of consciousness and in fundamental issues in quantum theory. We argue that the similarities are due to common problems within the conceptual foundations of both fields. In quantum physics, the state reduction marks the “coming into being” of a new aspect of reality for which no causal explanation is available. Likewise, the self-referential nature of consciousness constitutes a “coming into being” of a new quality which goes beyond a fully causal account of reality. Both subjects require a categorical scheme which is significantly richer then the one used in addressing factual aspects of reality alone. While parts of this categorical scheme are realized in the formalism of quantum theory, they are seldom applied in the context of consciousness. We show what the structural limitations of a classical categorical framework are, how a richer framework can be developed, and how it can be applied to both quantum physics and consciousness.

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