Search FQXi


If you are aware of an interesting new academic paper (that has been published in a peer-reviewed journal or has appeared on the arXiv), a conference talk (at an official professional scientific meeting), an external blog post (by a professional scientist) or a news item (in the mainstream news media), which you think might make an interesting topic for an FQXi blog post, then please contact us at forums@fqxi.org with a link to the original source and a sentence about why you think that the work is worthy of discussion. Please note that we receive many such suggestions and while we endeavour to respond to them, we may not be able to reply to all suggestions.

Please also note that we do not accept unsolicited posts and we cannot review, or open new threads for, unsolicited articles or papers. Requests to review or post such materials will not be answered. If you have your own novel physics theory or model, which you would like to post for further discussion among then FQXi community, then please add them directly to the "Alternative Models of Reality" thread, or to the "Alternative Models of Cosmology" thread. Thank you.

Forum Home
Introduction
Terms of Use

Order posts by:
 chronological order
 most recent first

Posts by the blogger are highlighted in orange; posts by FQXi Members are highlighted in blue.

By using the FQXi Forum, you acknowledge reading and agree to abide by the Terms of Use

 RSS feed | RSS help
RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Lorraine Ford: on 12/2/21 at 21:23pm UTC, wrote The minimum requirement for any mathematical system. Remember? Remember all...

Lorraine Ford: on 12/1/21 at 0:15am UTC, wrote It is logically necessary that the physicist can discern difference in the...

Lorraine Ford: on 11/6/21 at 23:50pm UTC, wrote It’s not just in the area of consciousness where physics, mathematics and...

Lorraine Ford: on 11/6/21 at 20:50pm UTC, wrote Consciousness is a necessary part of the world. The world is a standalone...

Lorraine Ford: on 11/5/21 at 22:20pm UTC, wrote Consciousness wouldn’t exist if it weren’t necessary to a system. So...

Lorraine Ford: on 11/2/21 at 20:18pm UTC, wrote When will physicists, mathematicians and philosophers twig that we are...

Lorraine Ford: on 11/1/21 at 20:56pm UTC, wrote Why is consciousness a fundamental and foundational aspect of the world?...

Mohammad Asadi-Dalir: on 10/18/21 at 12:21pm UTC, wrote When I look at my awareness of things, I see that my consciousness is...


RECENT FORUM POSTS

Amrit Sorli: "We have only 2 times in the universe: - psychological time that has its..." in Can Time Be Saved From...

Steve Dufourny: "Hi Jim, David, Amrit, I agree in the sense that this time is a kind of..." in The Nature of Time

Jim Snowdon: "Hi S. David Coleman, It`s my contention that time does not..." in The Nature of Time

Georgina Woodward: "Without a free particle moving with the wire’s electron's, just to judge..." in The Present State of...

Lorraine Ford: "The minimum requirement for any mathematical system. Remember? Remember all..." in Consciousness and the...

olivier denis: ""I d like to know more about your general philosophy of this universe, what..." in Alternative Models of...

Steve Dufourny: "Hi Olivier, I try to understand why we have this problem of mass of protons..." in Alternative Models of...

Steve Dufourny: "Here are ideas for the quantum computing the real secret is to converge..." in The Quantum Refrigerator


RECENT ARTICLES
click titles to read articles

Good Vibrations
Microbead 'motor' exploits natural fluctuations for power.

Reconstructing Physics
New photon experiment gives new meta-framework, 'constructor theory,' a boost.

The Quantum Engineer: Q&A with Alexia Auffèves
Experiments seek to use quantum observations as fuel to power mini motors.

The Quantum Clock-Maker Investigating COVID-19, Causality, and the Trouble with AI
Sally Shrapnel, a quantum physicist and medical practitioner, on her experiments into cause-and-effect that could help us understand time’s arrow—and build better healthcare algorithms.

Connect the Quantum Dots for a New Kind of Fuel
'Artificial atoms' allow physicists to manipulate individual electrons—and could help to reduce energy wastage in electronic devices.


FQXi BLOGS
December 3, 2021

CATEGORY: Blog [back]
TOPIC: Consciousness and the Collapse of the Wave Function by David Chalmers, Kelvin McQueen [refresh]
Bookmark and Share
Login or create account to post reply or comment.

Blogger David Chalmers wrote on Sep. 21, 2021 @ 20:02 GMT
Talk by David Chalmers (New York University), Kelvin McQueen (Chapman University)

Mini-Workshop Website: https://harvardfop.jacobbarandes.com/...

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPRe...

Foundations of Physics @Harvard Workshop Series

Mini-Workshop on the Quantum Measurement Problem

June 29, 2021





Keywords: #consciousness #quantum

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

This forum thread is open to the public.


Lorraine Ford wrote on Sep. 23, 2021 @ 01:07 GMT
David and Kelvin,

But what IS consciousness? I would say that the essential irreducible thing about consciousness is differentiation, the discerning of difference: it is necessary for a differentiated system to differentiate (discern difference between) its own equations, variables and numbers. This differentiation (discerning of difference) can only be represented using Boolean and algorithmic symbols.

Also, can you tell us how you view the world working in terms of the following system: people flying planes into the twin towers. In this system, was it:

1) The “laws of nature” that assigned all the numbers for all the system variables; or was it

2) People who assigned some of the numbers for their own variables?

If people assigned the numbers for their own variables, then this number assignment can only be represented as an input to the system, using Boolean and algorithmic symbols to represent people’s response to a situation.

(This shouldn’t be confused with computer systems, where a computer program is written to represent a response to a situation:

1) I’m talking about using Boolean and algorithmic symbols to represent a free world; but

2) A computer system uses an arrangement of circuits, voltages and transistors to represent the Boolean and algorithmic symbols in a fixed computer program.)

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Lorraine Ford wrote on Sep. 24, 2021 @ 23:51 GMT
David and Kelvin,

How would you describe consciousness, i.e. what are you aiming for in a model of consciousness? Surely, the main function of consciousness is differentiation (the discerning of difference):

-- People can differentiate 635 - 700 nanometre light wavelengths from 520 – 560 nanometre light wavelengths, if they are not colour blind. People differentiate these wavelengths of light by experiencing “red” and “green” respectively. But colour blind people might only experience shades of “yellow” (depending on the type of colour blindness).

-- People can differentiate 635 - 700 nanometre light wavelengths from 780 nanometre - 1 millimetre light wavelengths. People differentiate these wavelengths of light by experiencing “red” and “warmth” respectively. The experience of “warmth” is how you can differentiate infrared light wavelengths from other light wavelengths.

-- Some animals, birds and insects can differentiate 100 - 400 nanometre light wavelengths from other light wavelengths. These animals, birds and insects differentiate these wavelengths of light by experiencing “ultraviolet colour” as distinct from other colours. “Ultraviolet colour” is an important distinction that animals can use as a basis for taking action.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Georgina Woodward wrote on Sep. 26, 2021 @ 00:59 GMT
Perhaps the idea of consciousness causing collapse is being overthought?

Oxford languages Descriptor linguistics "a word or expression used to describe or identify something". A number is a quantative descriptor, IMO.

My opinion: A measurement is a quantitative or qualitative descriptor obtained via observation. A number (with measurement context: units) or description of a state' such as alive or spin up. The act of measurement is obtaining the desired type of descriptor value or state. // The observation may be performed by a human or device. If by device, the descriptor value or state is obtained prior to knowledge of its value or state by a human mind. (Wavefunction)'Collapse', in my opinion, is the replacement of what is a a probabilistic representation by a definite, singular outcome. We can choose whether to say that replacement happens when the descriptor data has been acquired OR when the experimenter becomes aware of the descriptor value or state.

Bookmark and Share
this post has been edited by the author since its original submission

report post as inappropriate
Georgina Woodward replied on Sep. 27, 2021 @ 19:25 GMT
Correction

We can choose whether to say that replacement happens when the information (needed to assign a descriptor value or state) has been acquired OR when the experimenter becomes aware of the descriptor value or state.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Georgina Woodward replied on Sep. 28, 2021 @ 23:49 GMT
The preceding explanation of wavefunction collapse is, I think, significant.

There is very big difference between a state of being or of happening coming into being (actualization), and the acquisition of a descriptor; whereby an existing state of being or of happening can be described. becoming known to be associated with that description.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Lorraine Ford wrote on Sep. 28, 2021 @ 00:03 GMT
The idea of a smooth mathematical evolution of “the wave function”, and its continual collapse, demonstrates physics’ dogged refusal to face the obvious; the obvious being that there are aspects of the world (i.e. collapse) that can’t really be represented by equations.

The QBist idea is that the quantum state doesn’t really exist; but the mathematical representation of a “quantum state”, and its “collapse” outcome, models a conscious entity taking a bet on the possible futures it had envisioned. This view, while clearly more realistic, also uses equations in an attempt to represent aspects of the world that can’t really be represented by equations.

So how do you symbolically represent: 1) what consciousness envisions; and 2) what consciousness does? In an age of computing, we know that the only way to represent this sort of stuff is via Boolean and algorithmic symbols. Boolean and algorithmic symbols represent something that can’t be represented by equations, and they represent something that can’t be derived from equations.

These Boolean and algorithmic symbols, as used in computing, represent a different aspect of the world: an aspect of the world that discerns difference; and an aspect of the world that assigns new numbers to the variables.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


jim hughes wrote on Sep. 28, 2021 @ 14:47 GMT
I'm not a mathematician. So what I see here are smart people who obviously love math trying to find some way to apply it to something that obviously completely defies that sort of analysis. And my eyes glaze over.

Bookmark and Share
this post has been edited by the author since its original submission

report post as inappropriate


Lorraine Ford wrote on Sep. 29, 2021 @ 22:23 GMT
There is absolutely nothing mysterious about information/ consciousness: it is a necessary aspect of any system. However, the living reality of an aspect of the world, and how people represent that reality via symbols on a page or screen, are two different things.

While the law of nature relationships are represented by equations, the information situation from the point of view of (e.g.) a particle can be represented as something like: “Variable1=Number1 AND Variable2=Number2 IS TRUE”. There is absolutely nothing mysterious about representing information situations this way.

And after “collapse of the wave function”, the information situation from the point of view of the particle can be represented as something like: “Variable1=Number1 AND Variable2=Number2 AND Variable3=Number3 IS TRUE”. Again, nothing mysterious.

For living things, when large numbers of light and sound waves interact with their eyes and ears, the information situation can be represented as something like: “Variable1=Number1 AND Variable2=Number2 AND … AND VariableN=NumberN IS TRUE”.

This basic level of information is then logically organised (i.e. collated and analysed, which can only be represented via the use of Boolean and algorithmic symbols) by the living thing’s brain, resulting in higher-level information.

Responding to this higher-level information about a situation (e.g. a tiger is approaching so a person decides to move behind a tree) can be represented as something like: “IF tiger is approaching, THEN assign PositionNumber1 to PositionVariable1”. Naturally, other numbers for other variables would also be changed due to passive law of nature relationships.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Mohammad Asadi-Dalir wrote on Oct. 18, 2021 @ 12:21 GMT
When I look at my awareness of things, I see that my consciousness is higher than time and place while my body is limited to them. When you smell flowers that you have already touched, many of the details of your feelings are remembered when you first smelled it, while you do not have access to those moments through your body. This is clear evidence that consciousness goes beyond time. You are able to predict the future and analyze the past with your own consciousness, and if it were because of your body, other beings such as plants and solids would be able to do so because the body is common among us. For these and many other reasons, I think consciousness is something beyond location and time that is a feature of the body.

Physically, we have two theories, GR to study physics on a large scale in time and space (body sphere) and QM, which means understanding the behavior of subatomic particles for which location and time are not reasonable. At QM location is not a clear concept and time is not related to mass (time is absolute). These are the reasons why I believe consciousness is something deduced by quantum universe.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Lorraine Ford wrote on Nov. 1, 2021 @ 20:56 GMT
Why is consciousness a fundamental and foundational aspect of the world? Because, in order to operate, it is necessary that a differentiated system must differentiate itself; it is necessary that, at its foundations, a system must differentiate (discern difference in) its own relationships, categories and numbers.

But while the system’s relationships, categories and numbers can be symbolically represented by equations, variables and number symbols respectively, the differentiation/ consciousness of these relationships, categories and numbers can only be represented by using Boolean and algorithmic symbols. E.g., the following type of thing represents the discerning of difference relevant to a particular foundational situation: “variable1=number1 AND variable2=number2 AND variable3=number3 IS TRUE”.

This foundational consciousness of difference can’t be derived from any other aspect of a system: consciousness of difference is a separate aspect of a system that requires a separate set of symbols to represent it: Boolean and algorithmic symbols.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Lorraine Ford wrote on Nov. 2, 2021 @ 20:18 GMT
When will physicists, mathematicians and philosophers twig that we are using SYMBOLS (mathematical symbols, numbers, letters, words) to represent the world, and that SYMBOL USE HAS SPECIAL PROBLEMS:

(1) Physicists, mathematicians and philosophers differentiate (discern difference in) the symbols, but they wrongly conclude that a standalone system represented by the symbols does not need to differentiate (discern difference in) itself.

(2) Physicists, mathematicians and philosophers manipulate and move the symbols, but they wrongly conclude that a standalone system represented by the symbols does not need to move itself.

Physicists, mathematicians and philosophers differentiate (discern difference in) the symbols, and they move the symbols. But physicists, mathematicians and philosophers wrongly conclude that the world, a standalone system represented by the symbols, does not need to differentiate itself or move itself.

This is the problem with symbol use: the symbol user wrongly imagines that the symbols alone represent a standalone system; but in fact, it’s the symbol user together with the symbols that represent a standalone system. To represent a standalone system, that is independent of people (the symbol users), you need to add symbols that take the place of people (the symbol users).

To represent the world as a standalone system, you need to add symbols that represent the system differentiating (discerning difference in) itself, and symbols that represent the system moving itself. I.e. you need Boolean and algorithmic symbols, as well as the equations, variables and number symbols in order to represent a standalone system.

To put it another way: basic consciousness (differentiation/discerning difference) and basic agency (assigning new numbers to the variables) are fundamental and necessary elements of a standalone world.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Lorraine Ford wrote on Nov. 5, 2021 @ 22:20 GMT
Consciousness wouldn’t exist if it weren’t necessary to a system.

So why does everyone think that consciousness is some sort of optional add-on; that consciousness is not necessary for the world-system to function? Answer: because they’ve got NO IDEA what a system is.

Let these people at least try to define a system. Let these people use their brains for once in their lives: let them try to define a system. Let them analyse how a system works; let them describe the necessary requirements for a stand-alone system.

And let these people notice themselves; let them notice that they need to use symbols to represent the world; let them notice the limitations in using symbols to represent the world: the symbols don’t differentiate (discern difference in) themselves; the symbols don’t move themselves.

BUT people DO differentiate (discern difference in) the symbols; people DO move the symbols.

And a system DOES need to differentiate (discern difference in) itself; a system DOES need to move itself.

Consciousness corresponds to the aspect of the system that differentiates (discerns difference in) itself; agency corresponds to the aspect of a system that moves itself.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Lorraine Ford wrote on Nov. 6, 2021 @ 20:50 GMT
Consciousness is a necessary part of the world. The world is a standalone system. A differentiated system needs to differentiate (discern difference in) itself.

Agency is a necessary part of the world. The world is a standalone system. A system needs to move itself, e.g. assign new numbers to its variables. The law of nature relationships merely extend the influence of agency.

And how could it be otherwise?

But the men of physics, mathematics and philosophy are so extremely out of touch with themselves, and the world around themselves, that they are willing to believe in a rigid, dead world with a bit of added randomness.

These out-of-touch men have propagated a view of the world where people and consciousness are epiphenomena, a world where people can have no genuine effect on the world, a world where people can have no genuine effect on the climate.

These out-of-touch men should grow up or go.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate
Lorraine Ford replied on Nov. 6, 2021 @ 23:50 GMT
It’s not just in the area of consciousness where physics, mathematics and philosophy have completely lost the plot.

Physics etc. denies the possibility of any GENUINE human agency.

In other words, physics denies that human beings could have any GENUINE effect on the world.

In other words, physics denies that human beings and other living things could have any effect on the world that is in any way relevant to physics.

In other words, physics denies that human beings could have any effect on the climate at all.

BECAUSE, according to physics, every outcome is due to the impersonal laws of nature, and maybe some randomness: human beings and consciousness are mere epiphenomena.

These out-of-touch men (physics, mathematics and philosophy are approximately 80% men), with their out-of-touch ideas about the world, must go. These out-of-touch men need to catch up with the REAL world of COP26. COP26 starts with the assumption that human beings do in fact have a genuine effect on the world; COP26 starts with the assumption that the laws of nature are NOT responsible for what human beings are doing to the world.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Lorraine Ford wrote on Dec. 1, 2021 @ 00:15 GMT
It is logically necessary that the physicist can discern difference in the symbols (e.g. the equations, variables and number symbols) that he uses to represent the law of nature relationships and particular measurements for the variables.

Similarly, it is logically necessary that something at the particle level can discern difference in the aspect of reality that the physicist represents with the symbols (the equations, variables and number symbols).

Because it is logically necessary that a differentiated system (differentiated into what we would represent by equations, variables and number symbols) can differentiate itself (discern difference in what we would represent by equations, variables and number symbols).

However, the logically necessary aspect of the world that discerns difference is NOT represented by the symbols that physicists use (i.e. the equations, variables and number symbols).

The logically necessary aspect of the world that discerns difference is tacitly assumed to exist by physics, but it is NOT symbolically represented by physics.

And, clearly, the discerning of difference is the logically necessary basis of higher-level consciousness.

The only way to represent the logically necessary aspect of the word that discerns difference is with Boolean and algorithmic symbols, the type of symbols used in computer programs.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Lorraine Ford wrote on Dec. 2, 2021 @ 21:23 GMT
The minimum requirement for any mathematical system. Remember? Remember all those books claiming that there is a mathematical system at the foundations of the world, written by all those physicists, usually male physicists? The minimum requirement for any mathematical system is the ability to differentiate, discern difference in, its own equations, variables and numbers. I.e. the minimum requirement for any mathematical system is a basic level of consciousness.

No mathematical system can exist without a basic level of consciousness, the ability to differentiate its own equations, variables and numbers. But all those physicists that wrote the books about the supposed mathematical system at the foundations of the world, never even noticed that it was necessary to have a basic level of consciousness in order for a mathematical system to even exist at all.

It’s time for physics to cease their quixotic quest, where they try to claim that consciousness could emerge, e.g. from the collapse of the wave function. Because basic consciousness is a fundamental necessity in order for a world to even exist at all.

On the other hand, agency (the aspect of the world whereby particles, or people, assign numbers to some of their own variables, the aspect of the world whereby people are GENUINELY responsible for their own outcomes), agency is clearly just another word for what’s happening with the collapse of the wave function. Agency is the way the world moves itself: the laws of nature are merely passive relationships.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Login or create account to post reply or comment.

Please enter your e-mail address:
Note: Joining the FQXi mailing list does not give you a login account or constitute membership in the organization.