Mindful Universe: Quantum Mechanics and the Participating Observer

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Springer Science & Business Media, Apr 6, 2011 - Science - 212 pages
The classical mechanistic idea of nature that prevailed in science during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was an essentially mindless conception: the physically described aspects of nature were asserted to be completely determined by prior physically described aspects alone, with our conscious experiences entering only passively. During the twentieth century the classical concepts were found to be inadequate. In the new theory, quantum mechanics, our conscious experiences enter into the dynamics in specified ways not fixed by the physically described aspects alone. Consequences of this radical change in our understanding of the connection between mind and brain are described. This second edition contains two new chapters investigating the role of quantum phenomena in the problem of free will and in the placebo effect.

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The main argument of the author about the inadequacy of standard Physics in modelling biological processes is well taken. However even if Quantum Mechanics and/or Relativity Theory cannot replace it there is no need to throw the baby with the bathwater: Indeed, there is, since 50 years, a new Physics of biology known as Catastrophe Theory, controversial because badly applied, which answers directly the central issue of Neurophilosophy meaning a substitute to the Logarithmic shape of the stimuli-response framework imagined by Weber-Fechner 150 years ago, at the origin of the so-called Psycho-Physical approach, itself inspired by D. Bernouilli 3 centuries ago, attempting to understand the behavior of the Gambler in ST Petersbourg casino.
Indeed my initial purpose stemmed from the Economic sphere attempting to elicit a value function independant from any a priori assumptions about human behavior. I found my answer in an unused polynomial from Catastrophe Theory fitting the best landmark results in Economics, from Arrow Impossibility result to Pratt caracterization of utility to Ross generalization of Pratt's assumptions....
In a nutshell one cannot imagine a better set-up than the stimuli-response for the inclusion of the observer observing himsel(herself) for achieving an observable outcome leading directly to an answer to the author struggle from the beginning of his career to seek an adequate answer to the Mind-Body problem. We are lucky to have a deterministic response predicted at the level of the synapse and unfolding a logic (of the living) making mathematical sense at the level of the individual brain as a whole substituting to the logarithmic shape ingrained in our subconscious since the advent of Entropy although it was known that it represented a measure of disorder. And yet, the Economic Establishment has not found until today a substitute as a paradigm!


1 Science Consciousness and Human Values
2 Human Knowledge as the Foundation of Science
3 Actions Knowledge and Information
4 Nerve Terminals and the Need to Use Quantum Theory
5 Templates for Action
6 The Physical Effectiveness of Conscious Will and the Quantum Zeno Effect
7 Support from Contemporary Psychology
8 Application to Neuropsychology
15 Consciousness and the Anthropic Questions
16 Impact of Quantum Mechanics on Human Values
A Clinically Significant Quantum Effect
18 ScienceBased Discussion of Free Will
A Gazzanigas The Ethical Brain
Knowledge Information and Entropy
C Wigners Friend and Consciousness in Quantum Theory
D Orthodox Interpretation and the MindBrain Connection

9 Roger Penroses Theory and Quantum Decoherence
10 NonOrthodox Versions of Quantum Theory and the Need for Process 1
11 The Basis Problem in ManyWorlds Theories
12 Despised Dualism
13 Whiteheadian Quantum Ontology
14 Interview
E Locality in Physics
F Einstein Locality and Spooky Action at a Distance
G Nonlocality in the Quantum World

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About the author (2011)

Author of over three hundred research papers on the mathematical, physical, and philosophical foundations of quantum mechanics, and a Springer book 'Mind, matter, and quantum mechanics'. Worked personally with W. Heisenberg, W. Pauli, and J.A. Wheeler on these issues. Invited author of entries about quantum theories consciousness in several currently about to appear encyclopedias. Invited plenary speaker at numerous international conferences. For book cover: Henry Stapp has spent his entire career working in frontier areas of theoretical physics. After completing his thesis work under Nobel Laureates Emilio Segré and Owen Chamberlain, he joined Wolfgang Pauli to tackle foundational issues. After Pauli's early death, he turned to von Neumann's ideas about the mathematical foundations of quantum theory. The essay 'Mind, Matter and Quantum Mechanics', that developed out of this work eventually evolved into Stapp's classic book bearing the same title. His deep interest in the quantum measurement problem led him to pursue extensive work pertaining to the influence of our conscious thoughts on physical processes occurring in our brains. The understandings achieved in this work have been described in many technical articles and now, in more accessible prose, in the present book.

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