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Quantum Theory and the Role of Mind in Nature,by Henry P.Stapp (WWW.OLOSCIENCE.COM)

Quantum Theory and the Role of Mind in Nature,by Henry P.Stapp (WWW.OLOSCIENCE.COM)

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Published by Fausto Intilla
Orthodox Copenhagen quantum theory renounces the quest to understand
the reality in which we are imbedded, and settles for practical rules describing
connections between our observations. Many physicist have regarded this
renunciation of our effort to describe nature herself as premature, and John
von Neumann reformulated quantum theory as a theory of an evolving objective
universe interacting with human consciousness. This interaction is
associated both in Copenhagen quantum theory and in von Neumann quantum
theory with a sudden change that brings the objective physical state of
a system in line with a subjectively felt psychical reality. The objective physical
state is thereby converted from a material substrate to an informational
and dispositional substrate that carries both the information incorporated
into it by the psychical realities, and certain dispositions for the occurrence
of future psychical realities. The present work examines and proposes solutions to two problems that have appeared to block the development of this
conception of nature. The first problem is how to reconcile this theory with
the principles of relativistic quantum field theory; the second problem is to
understand whether, strictly within quantum theory, a person’s mind can
affect the activities of his brain, and if so how. Solving the first problem
involves resolving a certain nonlocality question. The proposed solution to
the second problem is based on a postulated connection between effort, attention,
and the quantum Zeno effect. This solution explains on the basis of
quantum physics a large amount of heretofore unexplained data amassed by
psychologists.
Orthodox Copenhagen quantum theory renounces the quest to understand
the reality in which we are imbedded, and settles for practical rules describing
connections between our observations. Many physicist have regarded this
renunciation of our effort to describe nature herself as premature, and John
von Neumann reformulated quantum theory as a theory of an evolving objective
universe interacting with human consciousness. This interaction is
associated both in Copenhagen quantum theory and in von Neumann quantum
theory with a sudden change that brings the objective physical state of
a system in line with a subjectively felt psychical reality. The objective physical
state is thereby converted from a material substrate to an informational
and dispositional substrate that carries both the information incorporated
into it by the psychical realities, and certain dispositions for the occurrence
of future psychical realities. The present work examines and proposes solutions to two problems that have appeared to block the development of this
conception of nature. The first problem is how to reconcile this theory with
the principles of relativistic quantum field theory; the second problem is to
understand whether, strictly within quantum theory, a person’s mind can
affect the activities of his brain, and if so how. Solving the first problem
involves resolving a certain nonlocality question. The proposed solution to
the second problem is based on a postulated connection between effort, attention,
and the quantum Zeno effect. This solution explains on the basis of
quantum physics a large amount of heretofore unexplained data amassed by
psychologists.

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Published by: Fausto Intilla on Jun 10, 2009
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March 8, 2001 LBNL-44712[To appear in Foundations of Physics]
QUANTUM THEORY AND THEROLE OF MIND IN NATURE
Henry P. Stapp
Lawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeley, California 94720hpstapp@lbl.govOrthodox Copenhagen quantum theory renounces the quest to understandthe reality in which we are imbedded, and settles for practical rules describ-ing connections between our observations. Many physicist have regarded thisrenunciation of our effort to describe nature herself as premature, and Johnvon Neumann reformulated quantum theory as a theory of an evolving ob- jective universe interacting with human consciousness. This interaction isassociated both in Copenhagen quantum theory and in von Neumann quan-tum theory with a sudden change that brings the objective physical state of a system in line with a subjectively felt psychical reality. The objective phys-ical state is thereby converted from a material substrate to an informationaland dispositional substrate that carries both the information incorporatedinto it by the psychical realities, and certain dispositions for the occurrenceof future psychical realities. The present work examines and proposes solu-
This work is supported in part by the Director, Office of Science, Office of High Energyand Nuclear Physics, Division of High Energy Physics, of the U.S. Department of Energyunder Contract DE-AC03-76SF00098
 
tions to two problems that have appeared to block the development of thisconception of nature. The first problem is how to reconcile this theory withthe principles of relativistic quantum field theory; the second problem is tounderstand whether, strictly within quantum theory, a person’s mind canaffect the activities of his brain, and if so how. Solving the first probleminvolves resolving a certain nonlocality question. The proposed solution tothe second problem is based on a postulated connection between effort, at-tention, and the quantum Zeno effect. This solution explains on the basis of quantum physics a large amount of heretofore unexplained data amassed bypsychologists.1
 
1. THE NONLOCALITY QUESTION
“Nonlocality gets more real”. This is the provocative title of a recent reportin Physics Today [1]. Three experiments are cited. All three confirm tohigh accuracy the predictions of quantum theory in experiments that suggestthe occurrence of an instantaneous action over a large distance. The mostspectacular of the three experiments begins with the production of pairsof photons in a lab in downtown Geneva. For some of these pairs, onemember is sent by optical fiber to the village of Bellevue, while the otheris sent to the town of Bernex. The two towns lie more than 10 kilometersapart. Experiments on the arriving photons are performed in both villages atessentially the same time. What is found is this: The observed connectionsbetween the outcomes of these experiments defy explanation in terms of ordinary ideas about the nature of the physical world
on the scale of directly observable objects.
This conclusion is announced in opening sentence of thePhysical-Review-Letters report [2] that describes the experiment: “Quantumtheory is nonlocal”.This observed effect is not just an academic matter. A possible appli-cation of interest to the Swiss is this: The effect can be used in principleto transfer banking records over large distances in a secure way [3]. Butof far greater importance to physicists is its relevance to two fundamentalquestions: What is the nature of physical reality? What is the form of basicphysical theory?The answers to these questions depend crucially on the nature of physicalcausation. Isaac Newton erected his theory of gravity on the idea of instantaction at a distance. According to Newton’s theory, if a person were tosuddenly kick a stone, and send it flying off in some direction, every particlein the entire universe would
immediately 
begin to feel the effect of that kick.Thus, in Newton’s theory, every part of the universe is instantly linked,causally, to every other part. To even think about such an instantaneousaction one needs the idea of the instant of time “now”, and a sequence of 1

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