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Introduction to the Physics of Consciousness

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Abstract:

The 'Hard Problem' of consciousness and its 'Explanatory Gap' can only be explained if we develop a physical theory which recognizes the Universe as a cognitive being and is based upon a fundamental process that transforms mind into body and back again. The physical requirements needed to realize such a transformation cycle are investigated and an explicit implementation of the consciousness process is presented. This implementation consists of an integrated mind-body activity that explains mental experiences with a model of the activity itself. Such a self-referential loop is shown to be both a fundamental physical process and a container of primitive self- awareness from which complex experiences can be built. Explaining consciousness requires an expansion of current physical theories. To develop this expansion I will first associate the components of the consciousness process with individual operations occurring in the architecture of quantum theory. This will provide explicit mathematical equations required to describe conscious phenomena and show their limits. Because quantum equations apply to the content of space, but not to the sensation of space itself, they can only represent an approximate description of the consciousness process and are hence incomplete. I will, therefore, go on to discuss the approximations which limit quantum theory from providing a complete explanation of consciousness and suggest the metaphysical underpinnings required to expand quantum physics into a more complete description of reality. Lastly, I will discuss the implications of a reality model in which all parts of the universe, including the reader, are fundamentally self- measurement processes and the sensation of space is not that of an a priori container, but rather a 'what it feels like' to be a time-stable event.

Keywords: Consciousness; Epistemology; Ernest Mach; Panpsychism; Process Ontology; Process Reality; Reality Models

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California 93924, USA., Email: Baer@nps.edu

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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