Memory exhibits episodic superposition, an analog of the quantum superposition of physical states: Before a cue for a presented or unpresented item is administered on a memory test, the item has the simultaneous potential to occupy all members of a mutually exclusive set of episodic states, though it occupies only one of those states after the cue is administered. This phenomenon can be modeled with a nonadditive probability model called overdistribution (OD), which implements fuzzy-trace theory's distinction between verbatim (...) and gist representations. We show that it can also be modeled based on quantum probability theory. A quantum episodic memory (QEM) model is developed, which is derived from quantum probability theory but also implements the process conceptions of global matching memory models. OD and QEM have different strengths, and the current challenge is to identify contrasting empirical predictions that can be used to pit them against each other. (shrink)
This article develops a commentary to Charles Brainerd, Zheng Wang and Valerie F. Reyna's article entitled “Superposition of episodic memories: Overdistribution and quantum models” published in a special number of topiCS 2013 devoted to quantum modelling in cognitive sciences.
We suggest a new answer to this intriguing question and argue that the answer may have implications for the solutions to the measurement problem. The main basis of our analysis is the doctrine of psychophysical supervenience. First of all, based on this doctrine, we argue that an observer in a quantum superposition or a quantum observer has a definite conscious experience, which is neither disjunctive nor illusive. The inconsistency of this result with the bare theory is further analyzed, and (...) it is shown that an appropriate use of the strategy of analyzing the disposition of an observer to answer a particular question also leads to the same result. Next, we argue that this new result seems to disfavor Everett's and Bohm's approaches to quantum mechanics when considering the doctrine of psychophysical supervenience. This suggests that dynamical collapse theories are in the right direction to solve the measurement problem. Thirdly, we analyze the concrete content of the conscious experience of a quantum observer. It is argued that the mental content of a quantum observer is related to both the amplitude and relative phase of each branch of the superposition she is physically in, and it is composed of the mental content corresponding to every branch of the superposition. In addition, we argue that when assuming the modulus squared of the amplitude of each branch determines the vividness of the mental content corresponding to the branch, the structured tails problem of dynamical collapse theories can be solved. (shrink)
This paper attempts an interpretation of Everett's relative state formulation of quantum mechanics that avoids the commitment to new metaphysical entities like âworldsâ or âmindsâ. Starting from Everett's quantum mechanical model of an observer, it is argued that an observer's belief to be in an eigenstate of the measurement (corresponding to the observation of a well-defined measurement outcome) is consistent with the fact that she objectively is in a superposition of such states. Subjective states corresponding to such beliefs are (...) constructed. From an analysis of these subjective states and their dynamics it is argued that Everett's pure wave mechanics is subjectively consistent with von Neumann's classical formulation of quantum mechanics. It follows from the argument that the objective state of a system is in principle unobservable. Nevertheless, an adequate concept of empirical reality can be constructed. (shrink)
This paper attempts an interpretation of Everett''s relative state formulation of quantum mechanics that avoids the commitment to new metaphysical entities like worlds or minds. Starting from Everett''s quantum mechanical model of an observer, it is argued that an observer''s belief to be in an eigenstate of the measurement (corresponding to the observation of a well-defined measurement outcome) is consistent with the fact that she objectively is in a superposition of such states. Subjective states corresponding to such beliefs are (...) constructed. From an analysis of these subjective states and their dynamics it is argued that Everett''s pure wave mechanics is subjectively consistent with von Neumann''s classical formulation of quantum mechanics. It follows from the argument that the objective state of a system is in principle unobservable. Nevertheless, an adequate concept of empirical reality can be constructed. (shrink)
We consider the superposition of macroscopically distinguishable states for a measuring process whose time evolution is described by the Schrödinger equation. We ask whether it is possible to observe interference effects due to the above mentioned superposition and how to observe them, taking into consideration an experiment performed by other authors. We find a necessary condition in order to be able to observe these effects. We also point out some very serious difficulties in observing them and analyse the (...) connection between some of these difficulties and the Wigner-Araki-Yanase theory. We try to explain why the whole problem seems to us to be far from having a solution and we suggest some paths we think worthy of further investigation. (shrink)
With the interaction interpretation, the Lorentz transformation of a system arises with selection from a superposition of its states in an observation-interaction. Integration of momentum states of a mass over all possible velocities gives the rest-mass energy. Static electrical and magnetic fields are not found to form such a superposition and are to be taken as irreducible elements. The external superposition consists of those states that are reached only by change of state of motion, whereas the internal (...)superposition contains all the states available to an observer in a single inertial coordinate system. The conjecture is advanced that states of superposition may only be those related by space-time transformations (Lorentz transformations plus space inversion and charge conjugation). The continuum of external and internal superpositions is examined for various masses, and an argument for the unity of the super-positions is presented. (shrink)
We investigate how the sentence choice semantics for propositional superposition logic developed in Tzouvaras could be extended so as to successfully apply to first-order superposition logic. There are two options for such an extension. The apparently more natural one is the formula choice semantics based on choice functions for pairs of arbitrary formulas of the basis language. It is proved however that the universal instantiation scheme of first-order logic, $\varphi \rightarrow \varphi $, is false, as a scheme of (...) tautologies, with respect to FCS. This causes the total failure of FCS as a candidate semantics. Then we turn to the other option, which is a variant of SCS, since it uses again choice functions for pairs of sentences only. This semantics however presupposes that the applicability of the connective | is restricted to quantifier-free sentences, and thus the class of well-formed formulas and sentences of the language is restricted too. Granted these syntactic restrictions, the usual axiomatizations of FOLS turn out to be sound and conditionally complete with respect to this second semantics, just like the corresponding systems of PLS. (shrink)
Non-Philosophy is a rigorous practice that can have useful applications for academic researchers and political activists alike. Utilizing its methods and frameworks, it is possible to bring Peace into the endless War of sectarian tendencies in which "the Left" is mired. In the following paper, we apply the technique of Non-Philosophy to Josh Moufawad-Paul's pamphlet "Maoism or Trotskyism," taking it as an instance of occasional material to be transformed. An important aspect of this analysis is a syntactical deployment of Non-Philosophy (...) not always found in non-philosophical texts: here our dualysis proceeds by double superposition. We effectuate two non-philosophical clones, using the first in order to recursively effectuate a second. First, we transform Trotskyism by isolating its philosophical and auto-positional structure, then we use this radicalized Trotskyism in order to transform Moufawad-Paul's Maoist polemic. The result is a radicalized Maoism-Trotskyism opening the way towards a productive and integrative Peace between Trotskyism and Maoism. (shrink)
This paper aims first and foremost to unravel and clarify an interesting 17th century controversy around superposition in projectiles, which allegedly existed between the French Jesuit Honoré Fabri and the Italian physicist and astronomer Giovanni Alfonso Borelli. This conflict ? initially described by the English mathematician John Wallis in a letter from 1670 to the secretary of the Royal Society ? has been erroneously identified with Fabri's Dialogi physici (1669), a work written in response to Borelli's De vi percussionis (...) (1669). In fact, this ?conflict? was nothing but Wallis's account of a contradiction between Borelli's above mentioned work and Fabri's Tractatus physicus de motu locali from 1646, while Fabri's 1669 work expressed views very different from those contained in his Tractatus physicus. I will try here to reconstruct Fabri's change of heart between 1646 and 1669 concerning projectiles and superposition, while tracing the real bone of contention between (the later) Fabri and Borelli ? superimposing contrary motions ? to its Aristotelian origins. My analysis will lead me to problematize the way modern historians usually interpret the relation between Aristotle's physical thinking and projectile theories of early modern theoreticians (e.g. Nicollò Tartaglia's). (shrink)
Those who interpret quantum mechanics literally are forced to follow some variant of Everett's relative state formulation (or "many worlds" interpretation). It is generally assumed that this is a rather bizarre result that many physicists (especially cosmologists) have been forced into because of the evidence. I look at the history of philosophy, however, reveals that rationalism has always flirted with this very idea, from Parmenides to Leibniz to modern times. I will survey some of the philosophical history, and show how (...) the so-called paradox of quantum superposition can be considered a consequence of basic rationalist assumptions such as the principle of sufficient reason and the identity of indiscernibles. (shrink)
We analyse the way in which the principle that ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ manifests itself with phenomena of visual perception. For this investigation we use insights and techniques coming from quantum cognition, and more specifically we are inspired by the correspondence of this principle with the phenomenon of the conjunction effect in human cognition. We identify entities of meaning within artefacts of visual perception and rely on how such entities are modelled for corpuses of (...) texts such as the webpages of the World-Wide Web for our study of how they appear in phenomena of visual perception. We identify concretely the conjunction effect in visual artefacts and analyse its structure in the example of a photograph. We also analyse quantum entanglement between different aspects of meaning in artefacts of visual perception. We confirm its presence by showing that well elected experiments on images retrieved accordingly by Google Images give rise to probabilities and expectation values violating the Clauser Horne Shimony Holt version of Bell’s inequalities. We point out how this approach can lead to a mathematical description of the meaning content of a visual artefact such as a photograph. (shrink)
Two quantum Macro-states and their Macroscopic Quantum Superpositions (MQS) localized in two far apart, space-like separated sites can be non-locally correlated by any entangled couple of single-particles having interacted in the past. This novel “Macro-Macro” paradigm is investigated on the basis of a recent study on an entangled Micro-Macro system involving N≈105 particles. Crucial experimental issues as the violation of Bell’s inequalities by the Macro-Macro system are considered.
Using a neutron interferometer and the phase difference calculated from spatial discrete quantum mechanics, a test for discrete quantum theory may implemented by measuring the X spin polarization and its variation with position.
Physical superpositions exist both in classical and in quantum physics. However, what is exactly meant by ‘superposition’ in each case is extremely different. In this paper we discuss some of the multiple interpretations which exist in the literature regarding superpositions in quantum mechanics. We argue that all these interpretations have something in common: they all attempt to avoid ‘contradiction’. We argue in this paper, in favor of the importance of developing a new interpretation of superpositions which takes into account (...) contradiction, as a key element of the formal structure of the theory, “right from the start”. In order to show the feasibility of our interpretational project we present an outline of a paraconsistent approach to quantum superpositions which attempts to account for the contradictory properties present in general within quantum superpositions. This approach must not be understood as a closed formal and conceptual scheme but rather as a first step towards a different type of understanding regarding quantum superpositions. (shrink)
In my 2013 article, “A New Theory of Free Will”, I argued that several serious hypotheses in philosophy and modern physics jointly entail that our reality is structurally identical to a peer-to-peer (P2P) networked computer simulation. The present paper outlines how quantum phenomena emerge naturally from the computational structure of a P2P simulation. §1 explains the P2P Hypothesis. §2 then sketches how the structure of any P2P simulation realizes quantum superposition and wave-function collapse (§2.1.), quantum indeterminacy (§2.2.), wave-particle duality (...) (§2.3.), and quantum entanglement (§2.4.). Finally, §3 argues that although this is by no means a philosophical proof that our reality is a P2P simulation, it provides ample reasons to investigate the hypothesis further using the methods of computer science, physics, philosophy, and mathematics. (shrink)
I address the question whether the wave function in quantum theory exists as a real quantity or not. For this purpose, I discuss the essentials of the quantum formalism and emphasize the central role of the superposition principle. I then explain the measurement problem and discuss the process of decoherence. Finally, I address the special features that the quantization of gravity brings into the game. From all of this I conclude that the wave function really exists, that is, it (...) is a real feature of Nature. (shrink)
A virtual particle is an elementary particle in a quantum field theory that serves to symbolise the interaction of its counterparts, the so called real particles. In the last 20 years, philosophers of physics have put forth several arguments for and against an interpretation of virtual particles as being like ordinary objects in space and time. In this article, I will attempt to systematise the major arguments and argue that no pro-argument is ultimately satisfactory, and that only one contra-argument—that of (...)superposition—is sufficient to deny the realistic interpretation of virtual particles. The secondary aim of this paper is to argue that even the philosophical considerations of virtual particles overestimate their role in that these entities are merely pictorial descriptions of a mathematical approximation method. This description, while helpful, is not necessary to understand particle interactions. In the end, quantum field theory is not the place to explain what actually happens in the very centre of an individual particle interaction. (shrink)
This paper analyzes how conflicts of perspective are resolved in the field of the human sciences. Examples of such conflicts are the duality between the actor and spectator standpoints, or the duality of participancy between a form of social life and a socio-anthropological study of it. This type of duality look irreducible, because the conflicting positions express incompatible interests. Yet, the claim of incommensurability is excessive. There exists a level of mental activity at which dialogue and resolution are possible. Reaching (...) this level only implies that one comes back to a state of undetermination between situations and interests whose best model is a superposition of states in generalized quantum theory. Some applications of this strategy of going back below the point of state reduction , from the psychology of perception to the history of civilization, are presented. (shrink)
This paper uses a non-distributive system of Boolean fractions (a|b), where a and b are 2-valued propositions or events, to express uncertain conditional propositions and conditional events. These Boolean fractions, 'a if b' or 'a given b', ordered pairs of events, which did not exist for the founders of quantum logic, can better represent uncertain conditional information just as integer fractions can better represent partial distances on a number line. Since the indeterminacy of some pairs of quantum events is due (...) to the mutual inconsistency of their experimental conditions, this algebra of conditionals can express indeterminacy. In fact, this system is able to express the crucial quantum concepts of orthogonality, simultaneous verifiability, compatibility, and the superposition of quantum events, all without resorting to Hilbert space. A conditional (a|b) is said to be "inapplicable" (or "undefined") in those instances or models for which b is false. Otherwise the conditional takes the truth-value of proposition a. Thus the system is technically 3-valued, but the 3rd value has nothing to do with a state of ignorance, nor to some half-truth. People already routinely put statements into three categories: true, false, or inapplicable. As such, this system applies to macroscopic as well as microscopic events. Two conditional propositions turn out to be simultaneously verifiable just in case the truth of one implies the applicability of the other. Furthermore, two conditional propositions (a|b) and (c|d) reside in a common Boolean sub-algebra of the non-distributive system of conditional propositions just in case b = d, their conditions are equivalent. Since all aspects of quantum mechanics can be represented with this near classical logic, there is no need to adopt Hilbert space logic as ordinary logic, just a need perhaps to adopt propositional fractions to do logic, just as we long ago adopted integer fractions to do arithmetic. The algebra of Boolean fractions is a natural, near-Boolean extension of Boolean algebra adequate to express quantum logic. While this paper explains one group of quantum anomalies, it nevertheless leaves no less mysterious the 'influence-at-a-distance', quantum entanglement phenomena. A quantum realist must still embrace non-local influences to hold that "hidden variables" are the measured properties of particles. But that seems easier than imaging wave-particle duality and instant collapse, as offered by proponents of the standard interpretation of quantum mechanics. (shrink)
In this paper, we discuss the importance of measurement in quantum mechanics and the so-called measurement problem. Any quantum system can be described as a linear combination of eigenstates of an operator representing a physical quantity; this means that the system can be in a superposition of states that corresponds to different eigenvalues, i.e., different physical outcomes, each one incompatible with the others. The measurement process converts a state of superposition in a well-defined state. We show that, if (...) we describe the measurement by the standard laws of quantum mechanics, the system would preserve its state of superposition even on a macroscopic scale. Since this is not the case, we assume that a measurement does not obey to standard quantum mechanics, but to a new set of laws that form a “quantum measurement theory”. (shrink)
The procedures of canonical quantization of the gravitational field apparently lead to entities for which any interpretation in terms of spatio-temporal localization or spatio-temporal extension seems difficult. This fact is the main ground for the suggestion that can often be found in the physics literature on canonical quantum gravity according to which spacetime may not be fundamental in some sense. This paper aims to investigate this radical suggestion from an ontologically serious point of view in the cases of two standard (...) forms of canonical quantum gravity, quantum geometrodynamics and loop quantum gravity. We start by discussing the physical features of the quantum wave functional of quantum geometrodynamics and of the spin networks of loop quantum gravity that motivate the view according to which spacetime is not fundamental. We then point out that, by contrast, for any known ontologically serious understanding of quantum entanglement, the commitment to spacetime seems indispensable. Against this background, we then critically discuss the idea that spacetime may emerge from more fundamental entities. As a consequence, we finally suggest that the emergence of classical spacetime in canonical quantum gravity faces a dilemma: either spacetime ontologically emerges from more fundamental non-spatio-temporal entities or it already belongs to the fundamental quantum gravitational level and the emergence of the classical picture is merely a matter of levels of description. On the first horn of the dilemma, it is unclear how to make sense of concrete physical entities that are not in spacetime and of the notion of ontological emergence that is involved. The second horn runs into the difficulties raised by the physics of canonical quantum gravity. (shrink)
Why microscopic objects exhibit wave properties (are delocalized), but macroscopic do not (are localized)? Traditional quantum mechanics attributes wave properties to all objects. When complemented with a deterministic collapse model (Quantum Stud.: Math. Found. 3, 279 (2016)) quantum mechanics can dissolve the discrepancy. Collapse in this model means contraction and occurs when the object gets in touch with other objects and satisfies a certain criterion. One single collapse usually does not suffice for localization. But the object rapidly gets in touch (...) with other objects in a short time, leading to rapid localization. Decoherence is not involved. (shrink)
This paper is divided in four parts. In the first part we introduce the method of internal critique of philosophical theories by examination of their external consistency with scientific theories. In the second part two metaphysical and one epistemological postulate of Wittgenstein's Tractatus are made explicit and formally expressed. In the third part we examine whether Tractarian metaphysical and epistemological postulates (the independence of simple states of affairs, the unique mode of their composition, possibility of complete empirical knowledge) are externally (...) consistent with the theory of quantum mechanics. The result of the inquiry is negative: Tractarian postulates ought to be be revised. Relying on the result we approach the question of the empirical character of logic in the fourth part. The description of theoretical transformations of the notion of disjunction, in its ontological, epistemological, and logical sense, is a common element of in all parts of the text. The conjecture on the existence of different types of disjunctive connectives in the language of quantum mechanics concludes the paper. (shrink)
It has been widely thought that consciousness has no causal efficacy in the physical world. However, this may be not the case. In this paper, we show that a conscious being can distinguish definite perceptions and their quantum superpositions, while a physical measuring system without consciousness cannot distinguish such nonorthogonal quantum states. The possible existence of this distinct quantum physical effect of consciousness may have interesting implications for the science of consciousness. In particular, it suggests that consciousness is not emergent (...) but a fundamental feature of the universe. This may provide a possible quantum basis for panpsychism. (shrink)
There is no paradox with Schrödinger’s cat in a realist interpretation. In particular, a closer look at the temporal aspect shows that the two macroscopic wave functions (alive and dead) of Schrödinger’s cat are not to be compared with two superposed parts of a microscopic quantum wave function.
This paper argues that the case for “gravitizing” quantum theory is at least as strong as that for quantizing gravity. Accordingly, the principles of general relativity must influence, and actually change, the very formalism of quantum mechanics. Most particularly, an “Einsteinian”, rather than a “Newtonian” treatment of the gravitational field should be adopted, in a quantum system, in order that the principle of equivalence be fully respected. This leads to an expectation that quantum superpositions of states involving a significant mass (...) displacement should have a finite lifetime, in accordance with a proposal previously put forward by Diósi and the author. (shrink)
After a brief account of theway quantum theory deals with naturalprocesses, the crucial problem that such atheory meets, the measurement or, better, themacro-objectification problem is discussed.The embarrassing aspects of the occurrence ofentangled states involving macroscopic systemsare analyzed in details. The famous example ofSchroedinger's cat is presented and it ispointed out how the combined interplay of thesuperposition principle and the ensuingentanglement raises some serious difficultiesin working out a satisfactory quantum worldview, agreeing with our definiteperceptions. The orthodox solution to themacro-objectification problem, i.e. (...) thepostulate of wave packet reduction, isanalyzed and is proved to be inconsistent withthe assumption that the theory governes alsothe measurement process. After these premises,the rest of the paper is devoted to discuss arecent proposal of overcoming the difficultiesof the standard formalism by acceptingnonlinear and stochastic modifications of thequantum dynamics. The proposed theory is shownto agree with all known predictions of thestandard theory concerning microscopic systemsand to account, on the basis of a universaldynamics which is assumed to govern allnatural processes, for wave packet reductionin measurement processes and, more important,to eliminate all the difficulties concerningmacroscopic situations. Actually, the proposedtheory allows one to take consistently amacrorealistic position about natural processes and about our definite perceptions. (shrink)
A critical re-examination of the history of the concepts of space (including spacetime of general relativity and relativistic quantum field theory) reveals a basic ontological elusiveness of spatial extension, while, at the same time, highlighting the fact that its epistemic primacy seems to be unavoidably imposed on us (as stated by A.Einstein “giving up the extensional continuum … is like to breathe in airless space”). On the other hand, Planck’s discovery of the atomization of action leads to the fundamental recognition (...) of an ontology of non-spatial, abstract entities (Quine) for the quantum level of reality (QT), as distinguished from the necessarily spatio-temporal, experimental revelations (measurements). The elementary quantum act (measured by Planck’s constant) has neither duration nor extension, and any genuinely quantum process literally does not belong in the Raum and time of our experience. As Heisenberg stresses: “Während also die klassische Physik ein objectives Geschehen in Raum and Zeit zum Gegenstand hat, für dessen Existenz seine Beobachtung völlig irrelevant war, behandelt die Quantentheorie Vorgänge, die sozusagen nur in den Momenten der Beobachtung als raumzeitliche Phänomene aufleuchten, und über die in der zwischenzeit anschaulische physikalische Aussagen sinloss sind”. An admittedly speculative, hazardous conjecture is then advanced concerning the relation of such quantum ontology with the role of the pre-phenomenal continuum (Husserl) in the perception of macroscopically distinguishable objects in the Raum and time of our experience. Although rather venturesome, it brings together important philosophical issues. Coherently with recent general results in works on the foundations of QT, it is assumed that the linearity of quantum dynamical evolution does not apply to the central nervous system of living beings at a certain level of the evolutionary ramification and at the pre-conscious stage of subjectivity. Accordingly, corresponding to the onset of a non-linear dynamic evolution, a ‘primary spatial’ reduction is ‘continually’ taking place, thereby constituting the neural precondition for the experience of distinguishable macroscopic objects in the continuous spatial extension. While preventing the theoretically possible quantum superpositions of macroscopic objects from being perceivable by living beings, the ‘primary reduction’ has no effect on the standard processes concerning quantum level entities involved in laboratory man-made experiments. In this connection, an experimental check which might falsify the conjecture is briefly discussed. The approach suggested here, if sound, leads to a naturalization of that part of Kant’s Transcendental Aesthetics than can survive the Euclidean catastrophe. According to such naturalized transcendentalism, “space can well be transcendental without the axioms being so”, in agreement with a well-known statement by Boltzman. Finally, as far as QT is concerned, the conjecture entails that a scheme for quantum measurement of the von Neumann type cannot even ‘leave the ground’, vindicating Bohr’s viewpoint. A quantum theory of measurement, in a proper sense, turns out to be unnecessary and in fact impossible. (shrink)