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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Vladimir Fedorov: on 2/26/18 at 13:34pm UTC, wrote Dear Elias, I highly appreciate your well-written essay in an effort to...

Ulla Mattfolk: on 2/24/18 at 20:30pm UTC, wrote Dr. Okun. Quantum systems are open systems, and classical are often seen...

corciovei silviu: on 2/24/18 at 9:57am UTC, wrote Very nicely written Mr. Okon, I fully enjoyed the way you put things...

Steven Andresen: on 2/22/18 at 9:10am UTC, wrote Dear Elias If you are looking for another essay to read and rate in the...

Elias Okon: on 2/20/18 at 21:27pm UTC, wrote Dear Jochen, Thank you very much for taking the time to read the paper and...

Jochen Szangolies: on 2/17/18 at 13:10pm UTC, wrote Dear Elias, interesting proposal! It's somewhat odd, to me: I'm not a fan...

Avtar Singh: on 2/12/18 at 20:51pm UTC, wrote Dear Elias Congratulations on your well-written essay. I provide an...

Elias Okon: on 2/8/18 at 18:22pm UTC, wrote Dear Paul, Thanks for your comment. The thing is that I do not believe...


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FQXi FORUM
May 25, 2019

CATEGORY: FQXi Essay Contest - Spring, 2017 [back]
TOPIC: What is Fundamental in a Consciousness-Based Objective Collapse Model? by Elias Okon [refresh]
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Author Elias Okon wrote on Jan. 19, 2018 @ 17:01 GMT
Essay Abstract

According to physicalism, only entities postulated by the our best theories of physics are allowed at the fundamental level. Quantum mechanics is claimed to be one of such best theories, but it remains controversial which are supposed to be the entities postulated by the theory. Particularly puzzling is the fact that quantum mechanics is committed to the claim that any two possible quantum states of a system can be added together to form another legitimate quantum state, a superposition thereof. The collapse postulate---which states that, when we observe a superposed state, it collapses unto one option or the other---is intended to solve the issue. The problem is that the formalism does not specify what counts as an observation. Although it might be natural to link the collapse of the wave function with consciousness, such assertion appears to be in tension with the physicalist spirit because it seems to bring consciousness to the fundamental level. In this paper we present an objective collapse model (a variation of CSL) where the collapse operator depends on integrated information, which has been argued to measure consciousness. By doing so, we construct an empirically adequate scheme in which superpositions of conscious states are dynamically suppressed. Unlike other proposals in which "consciousness causes the collapse of the wave function," our model is fully consistent with a physicalist view of the world and does not require the postulation of entities suspicious of laying outside of the quantum realm.

Author Bio

Elias Okon is a Research Fellow at the Instituto de Investigaciones Filosoficas, at UNAM, Mexico. His main research interests comprise foundational questions in physics, particularly in the overlap of the quantum and gravitational domains. Miguel Ángel Sebastián is a Research Fellow at the Instituto de Investigaciones Filosoficas, at UNAM, Mexico. His research focuses on the philosophy of mind and cognitive sciences with deep interest in consciousness studies.

Download Essay PDF File

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Joe Fisher wrote on Jan. 19, 2018 @ 20:26 GMT
Dear Dr. Elias Okon,

You wrote in the Abstract: “According to physicalism, only entities postulated by the our (sic) best theories of physics are allowed at the fundamental level.”

Are you suggesting that some of the worst theories of physics are allowed credence by some physicists provided they are not expressed at the fundamental level?

As physicalism am the doctrine that the real world consists simply of the physical world, it cannot contain any unrealistic theories about invisible phenomena.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Author Elias Okon replied on Jan. 23, 2018 @ 18:14 GMT
Dear Joe Fisher,

Thanks for your question,

There have been several attempts to properly define physicalism none of them free of problems (see Hempel or Lewis for example). For the purpose of the paper this intuitive presentation seems to be sufficient. We do not make any claim regarding other theories, and we definitely do not suggest that "bad ones" deserve credibility.

Best,

Elias and Miguel

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Jan. 19, 2018 @ 20:36 GMT
This looks interesting Elias..

I was quite excited, when the theory of statevector reduction first came out, and I briefly corresponded with prof. Pearle (he was my sister's instructor). I even have a typewritten manuscript of the original 'gambler's ruin' somewhere. But I later became a fan of the no-collapse school, as taught by the decoherence theory folks. I am somewhat familiar with Penrose's idea of Orch-OR, and I am curious whether your idea is an extension of or alternative to same.

Since I did not see her name in your references; I imagine you will be very interested to check out papers by Paola Zizzi. She has also written on orchestrated reduction, among other things, and I am a fan of her work. I will be happy to recommend a few papers for your specific attention, when there is time. I will return after reading your essay. They have yet to post mine.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Author Elias Okon replied on Jan. 23, 2018 @ 18:19 GMT
Dear Jonathan,

Thank you very much for the suggested readings. As you can see the ideas presented in the paper are independent of the considerations presented by Penrose and Hameroff. Ours is an "objective" collapse model.

Best,

Elias and Miguel

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Andrew Beckwith wrote on Jan. 22, 2018 @ 09:27 GMT
quote

With the measurement problem in mind, objective collapse (or dynamical reduction) models aim

at constructing a single dynamical equation that adequately encompasses both the standard unitary

evolution and the collapse mechanism. The idea is to add non-linear, stochastic terms to

the Schrödinger equation in such a way that the behavior at the microscopic level is not significantly

altered (with respect to the standard framework), but where embarrassing macroscopic

superpositions are effectively suppressed.

end of quote

HOW IS ADDITION OF TERMS LINKED TO NECESSARY AND SUFFICIENT CONDITIONS TO INSURE A FUNDAMENTAL CONDITION IS ACHIEVED ? I AM PUZZLED. SORRY, it looks convincing but not as a rigorous proof

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Andrew Beckwith wrote on Jan. 22, 2018 @ 09:29 GMT
how to insure necessary and sufficiency? I am confused. this is not how instantons as an example are formed. a description of this would be most welcome

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Author Elias Okon replied on Jan. 23, 2018 @ 18:21 GMT
Dear Andrew,

Would you be so kind as to elaborate your question. It is not clear to us what do you exactly mean by necessary and sufficient conditions.

Thanks

Elias and Miguel

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Paul Knott wrote on Feb. 1, 2018 @ 16:14 GMT
Dear Elias,

Thanks for this nice essay. I have a question about something you said:

"...if one changes the interpretation, one has to make sure that the alternative one also leads to empirically successful predictions — something not at all clear under the interpretation suggested by Everett (see, e.g., (Saunders et al., 2010, sec. 4))"

My understanding, having read David Wallace's book "the emergent multiverse", was that all of the major concerns about the average interpretation have now been more-or-less resolved. Unfortunately I don't have access to the reference you gave. Are you able to try and explain this problem?

My main criticism of collapse models in quantum mechanics is that I don't see why they are necessary. Nowadays we can, in great detail, explain the appearance of collapse using the Schrödinger equation alone. This can be done using decoherence theory, which factors in that systems in the real world are never isolated, and invariably interact with their environment. Given that we can now explain the appearance of collapse, why do we still need to modify the Schrödinger equation in collapse models? Historically, before decoherence theory was properly constructed, we couldn't explain collapse, and therefore collapse models seemed like a good alternative. But I don't see why they are relevant now?

Thanks in advance,

Paul

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Author Elias Okon replied on Feb. 8, 2018 @ 18:22 GMT
Dear Paul,

Thanks for your comment. The thing is that I do not believe that the major concerns regarding the Everettian interpretation have been resolved. In fact, I am working on a paper on the subject right now; hopefully it will be ready soon. What I do have ready is a paper explaining why, in spite of widespread believe on the contrary, decoherence does not explain the appearance of collapse (see section 2 in https://arxiv.org/abs/1512.05298). Given the extensive use of decoherence as a tool to solve problems with the Everettian interpretation in "the emergent multiverse," it is no surprise that my criticism of Everett in the paper I am working on is tied to problems with decoherence.

Best,

Elias

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Ulla Marianne Mattfolk wrote on Feb. 1, 2018 @ 16:17 GMT
Hi, Dr Okun.

I have tried to sort out the different collapse models, and IT IS A MESS. I too related immidiately to Penroses model, which is deterministic.

You put the problem nicely, that we must choose between 'mind' or matter. Mostly we see them together, though.

One big problem is that the physicalist start with the assumption, it cannot be any mind there, so their model is biased from beginning? I understand it is because they don't like outsiders, but outsiders are mabe Another part of the system. Maybe you can as well see the problem in the closed system? A closed system is more theoretical than everyday nature.

What is self-energy? Another good question, and where is the 'self' in a collapse model? I suggest you look at this http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0103
-97332003000200026 and the dilated state at zero for some guidance. It is the Landau pole :)

Thanks, hope you can look at my essay too. https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3093 What is Life? A theory of 'More than everything'.

And tell your opinion...

Ulla Mattfolk.

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Author Elias Okon replied on Feb. 7, 2018 @ 19:28 GMT
Dear Ulla Mattfolk,

Thanks for your questions. Unfortunately, we are not able to clearly understand them. Would you be so kind as to reformulate it?

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Ulla Marianne Mattfolk replied on Feb. 24, 2018 @ 20:30 GMT
Dr. Okun.

Quantum systems are open systems, and classical are often seen as closed. What is the assumption of a 'mind' in quantum theory versus in classical theory? How define the 'mind'? When I look at the genral state function reduction equations there are no mind-parameters, so how can it reveal mind then?

Thanks.

Ulla Mattfolk

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Narendra Nath wrote on Feb. 2, 2018 @ 14:03 GMT
You claim that consciousness causes the collapse of the wave function that describes a state of a quantum system. Kindly explain what you mean here. Is perception/ awareness connected with quantum state of a system? Is awareness tied only to the living systems or one can connect it to the Universe having its own consciousness!

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Author Elias Okon replied on Feb. 7, 2018 @ 19:30 GMT
Dear Narendra Nath,

As we explain in the abstract, we present "an objective collapse model (a variation of CSL) where the collapse operator depends on integrated information, which has been argued to measure consciousness. By doing so, we construct an empirically adequate scheme in which superpositions of conscious states are dynamically suppressed. Unlike other proposals in which "consciousness causes the collapse of the wave function," our model is fully consistent with a physicalist view of the world and does not require the postulation of entities suspicious of laying outside of the quantum realm."

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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Feb. 2, 2018 @ 23:02 GMT
Hi Dr Elias Okon

You have nicely brought Consciousness into physics “we present an objective collapse model (a variation of CSL) where the collapse operator depends on integrated information, which has been argued to measure consciousness. By doing so, we construct an empirically adequate scheme in which superpositions of conscious states are dynamically suppressed”… wonderful dear Dr...

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Steven Andresen wrote on Feb. 6, 2018 @ 05:11 GMT
Dear Elias Okon

Just letting you know that I am making a start on reading of your essay, and hope that you might also take a glance over mine please? I look forward to the sharing of thoughtful opinion. Congratulations on your essay rating as it stands, and best of luck for the contest conclusion.

My essay is titled

“Darwinian Universal Fundamental Origin”. It stands as a novel test for whether a natural organisational principle can serve a rationale, for emergence of complex systems of physics and cosmology. I will be interested to have my effort judged on both the basis of prospect and of novelty.

Thank you & kind regards

Steven Andresen

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Avtar Singh wrote on Feb. 12, 2018 @ 20:51 GMT
Dear Elias

Congratulations on your well-written essay.

I provide an alternative relativistic model for the collapse of the wavefunction in my paper - “What is Fundamental – Is C the Speed of Light”. that describes the fundamental physics of antigravity missing from the widely-accepted mainstream physics and cosmology theories resolving their current inconsistencies and paradoxes. The missing physics depicts a spontaneous relativistic mass creation/dilation photon model that explains the yet unknown dark energy, inner workings of quantum mechanics, and bridges the gaps among relativity and Maxwell’s theories. The model also provides field equations governing the spontaneous wave-particle complimentarity or mass-energy equivalence. The key significance or contribution of the proposed work is to enhance fundamental understanding of C, commonly known as the speed of light, and Cosmological Constant, commonly known as the dark energy.

The paper not only provides comparisons against existing empirical observations but also forwards testable predictions for future falsification of the proposed model.

I would like to invite you to read my paper and appreciate any feedback comments.

Best Regards

Avtar Singh

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Jochen Szangolies wrote on Feb. 17, 2018 @ 13:10 GMT
Dear Elias,

interesting proposal! It's somewhat odd, to me: I'm not a fan of collapse theories, and I've always thought that consciousness causes collapse-type ideas are ill-defined at best, but somehow, if you combine the two, I find I like the resulting view a lot. In particular, linking it up with Tononi's integrated information serves to expel the troublesome ill-defined aspects of...

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Author Elias Okon replied on Feb. 20, 2018 @ 21:27 GMT
Dear Jochen,

Thank you very much for taking the time to read the paper and for your thoughtful comments.

A couple of remarks might help to shed light to your worries.

It is worth stressing that the notion of information in IIT is technical and defined as information carried by the whole over and above that of its parts, an idea that seems to correspond with that of entanglement. It is not Shannon's information (please see appendix 3 of Oizumi et al. 2015).You are right that there are different measures of entanglement for mixed states; we do not choose any particular one. It would definitely be worthwhile to explore which would work best.

Regarding the issue of Phi depending on how the system is partitioned, you are right. But note that in order to calculate Phi_max, all possible partitions have to be considered. At the end, then, Phi_max does not depend on an arbitrary splitting.

Please let us know if there is anything we have misunderstood from your comments.

Thanks again!

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Steven Andresen wrote on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 09:10 GMT
Dear Elias

If you are looking for another essay to read and rate in the final days of the contest, will you consider mine please? I read all essays from those who comment on my page, and if I cant rate an essay highly, then I don’t rate them at all. Infact I haven’t issued a rating lower that ten. So you have nothing to lose by having me read your essay, and everything to...

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corciovei silviu wrote on Feb. 24, 2018 @ 09:57 GMT
Very nicely written Mr. Okon,

I fully enjoyed the way you put things together (especially regarding the measurement problem) and I think further words are useless.

Rate it accordingly.

If you would have the pleasure for a short axiomatic approach of the subject, I will appreciate your opinion.

Silviu

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Vladimir Nikolaevich Fedorov wrote on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 13:34 GMT
Dear Elias,

I highly appreciate your well-written essay in an effort to understand.

I hope that my modest achievements can be information for reflection for you.

Vladimir Fedorov

https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3080

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