Abstract Details

Revisiting Consciousness Within Quantum Mechanics: Executing Free Will Via Vectorial Choices in the Clustered-Minds Multiverse  Christian Dietmar Schade (Entrepreneurial and Behavioral Decision Making, Humboldt-Universitaet Berlin, Berlin, Germany)   C11

Is consciousness supervenient on the physical (i.e., only a by-product) or is it something 'special,' being responsible for qualia (Chalmers 1995) or even free will (Hameroff 2012)? My presentation shares both Chalmers' dualistic conclusion and Hameroff's positive account of free will. Being founded in multiverse quantum mechanics, however, my presentation suggests a novel line of reasoning towards these ends. The basic fundaments of the multiverse perspective have a long history. Schroedinger, one of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics, initially struggled with the problem that on the one hand, his wave equation (1926) implies so-called superpositions, i.e., a certain coexistence of several states of nature, whereas we measure and experience only one of those. First playing with paradoxical thought experiments such as Schroedinger's cat (1935), in his lectures in Ireland (1952) he finally gave up the idea of any actual selection of realities. This idea was then carried into formal development within Everett's (1957) relative-state, many-worlds or multiverse interpretation where different versions of an observer are entangled with different versions of reality. His interpretation was first met with skepticism and also suffered from some ontological oddities. It became clear that the multiverse interpretation needs interpretation (Albert and Lower 1988). In my presentation, a novel version of the multiverse interpretation, the clustered-minds multiverse (Schade 2019), will be presented. This interpretation expands and modifies earlier ideas by others (e.g., Mensky 2005). It will be shown that consciousness has the role of generating top-down decoherence - a concept related to, but simultaneously opposed to Wallace's (2012) idea of bottom-up decoherence. Top-down decoherence solves both the preferred-basis problem in physics (i.e., the potential existence of odd and crazy realities) and freely implements so-called vectorial choices (Schade 2019), i.e., puts different emphasis on different realities. References: (1) Albert, David, and Barry Loewer. 1988. "Interpreting the Many Worlds Interpretation." Synthese 77: 195-213. (2) Chalmers, David J. 1995. "Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness." Journal of Consciousness Studies 2: 200-219. (3) Everett, Hugh, III. 1957. "'Relative State' Formulation of Quantum Mechanics." Reviews of Modern Physics 29: 454-462. (4) Hameroff, Stuart R. 2012. "How Quantum Biology Can Rescue Conscious Free Will." Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience 6, article 93: 1-17. (5) Mensky, Michael. B. 2005. "Concept of Consciousness in the Context of Quantum Mechanics." Physics - Uspekhi 48: 389-409. (6) Schade, Christian D. 2019. "Free Will and Consciousness in the Multiverse: Physics, Philosophy, and Quantum Decision Making." Springer. (7) Schroedinger, Erwin. 1926. "Quantisierung als Eigenwertproblem." Annalen der Physik 79: 361-376. (7) Schroedinger, Erwin. (1935) 1983. "The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics." In: Quantum Theory and Measurement, edited by John A. Wheeler and Wojciech H. Zurek, 152-167. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. (8) Schroedinger, Erwin. (1952) 1995. "July Colloquium, 1952." In: Erwin Schroedinger: The Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics: Dublin Seminars (1949-1955) and Other Unpublished Essays, edited and with introduction by Michael Bitbol, 19-37. Woodbridge, CT: Ox Bow Press. (9) Wallace, David. 2012. "The Emergent Multiverse: Quantum Theory According to the Everett Interpretation." Oxford: Oxford University Press.