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Does the Rose-Tinted Glasses Effect in Contemporary Physics Prevent Us from Explaining Consciousness?

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Anyone wearing rose-tinted glasses might be forgiven if s/he comes to the conclusion that the world out there is rosier than it actually is. With his Fish Story, Sir Arthur Eddington warned us how analogous illusions might have happened in our models of the physical world. His allegory describes how observer characteristics can be inadvertently assigned to the systems being observed. If Eddington's conjecture is applicable, the most fundamental properties of nature will turn out to be the construction rules of the observer who measures nature. Since no one exactly knows how the brain works and because it is the final measuring instrument that collapses the wave function at the end of von Neumann's measurement chain, it is likely that observer characteristics have been falsely attributed to physical reality and our theories of it. These errors may prevent us from understanding consciousness because they mask the actual operations of the psyche. Starting with Velmans' model of consciousness I analyse the role of cognitive models in the development of science. I then model how both the set-up of experiments and the interpretation of resulting data could be influenced to arrive at erroneous theories. Using examples I show how potential errors, due to our incomplete understanding of the conscious process, have crept into physics. These need to be corrected if we are to evolve a concept of physical reality that includes conscious experiences.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Research Director, Nascent Systems Inc; Associate Research, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2017

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