Abstract Details

Spacetime is Doomed: Implications for the Hard Problem of Consciousness  Donald Hoffman (Cognitive Sciences, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA )   PL2

For centuries, physics has assumed that space and time are fundamental. Physics has been about what happens in space and time. But physicists now realize that quantum theory and general relativity together entail that spacetime is doomed. It is not fundamental. Spacetime, its microphysical particles, and their properties are useful but not deeply true; they must somehow emerge from a deeper theory and a more fundamental reality. Evolution by natural selection concurs. It entails that sensory systems evolve to be useful but not true; each sense acts as a user interface - a virtual reality - that hides fundamental reality and guides adaptive action. The senses do not present, or represent, fundamental reality. The language of the senses, including physical objects in space and time, is the wrong language to describe objective reality. I discuss the implications of these developments for physicalist, illusionist, panpsychist, and idealist approaches to the hard problem of consciousness.