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A Quantum Physical Argument for Panpsychism

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Abstract:

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, it is argued that a conscious being can distinguish definite perceptions and their quantum superpositions, while a measuring system without consciousness cannot distinguish such non-orthogonal quantum states. The 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 provides a possible quantum basis for panpsychism.

Keywords: Consciousness; causal efficacy; panpsychism; quantum superposition; quantum-to-classical transition

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute for the History of Natural Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100190, P.R. China., Email: gaoshan@ihns.ac.cn

Publication date: 2013-01-01

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