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Previous Programs

2020 Consciousness in the Physical World
Awardees

2019 Intelligence in the Physical World
Awardees

2019 Information as Fuel
Awardees

2018 Agency in the Physical World
Awardees; RFP download

2016 Physics of the Observer
Awardees; RFP download

2015 The Physics of What Happens
Awardees; RFP download

2013 Physics of Information
Awardees; RFP download

2010 The Nature of Time
Awardees; RFP download

2008 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
Awardees; RFP download

2006 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
Awardees; RFP download

Lee Smolin
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

Project Title

Consciousness in the causal theory of views

Project Summary

I propose to study a recently proposed theory of the natural world, which may solve the problem of unifying quantum physics, with space, time, gravity and cosmology. Called the causal theory of views, this theory describes a universe that consists of nothing but diverse and partial views of itself. The views define events, and the processes by which they cause each other. Time indeed has a fundamental meaning, which is nothing but the continual creation of new events. Space is an emergent concept, many events happening in their complex dance in time give an illusion of space, just as the dance of molecules constructs for us the air. This theory gives a complete description of what happens in the world, thus resolving the uncertainties and probabilities of quantum theory. But even more remarkably, this world gives an unexpected gift: which is a new view of the hardest problem in science, what a mind is, and how brain gives rise to it; indeed what in this world of atoms, is the sensation of red. The aim of this proposal is to assemble a team of physicists, neuroscientists, cosmologists and philosophers to test, modify and build on this theory.



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