May 14, 1999 LBNL-42650
Attention, Intention, and Will in Quantum Physics
Henry P. Stapp
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory University of California Berkeley, California 94720
How is mind related to matter? This ancient question in philoso-phy is rapidly becoming a core problem in science, perhaps the mostimportant of all because it probes the essential nature of man himself.The origin of the problem is a conﬂict between the mechanical concep-tion of human beings that arises from the precepts of classical physicaltheory and the very diﬀerent idea that arises from our intuition: theformer reduces each of us to an automaton, while the latter allowsour thoughts to guide our actions. The dominant contemporary ap-proaches to the problem attempt to resolve this conﬂict by clinging tothe classical concepts, and trying to explain away our misleading in-tuition. But a detailed argument given here shows why, in a scientiﬁcapproach to this problem, it is necessary to use the more basic princi-ples of quantum physics, which bring the observer into the dynamics,rather than to accept classical precepts that are profoundly incorrectprecisely at the crucial point of the role of human consciousness inthe dynamics of human brains. Adherence to the quantum principlesyields a dynamical theory of the mind/brain/body system that is inclose accord with our intuitive idea of what we are. In particular, the
This work was supported in part by the Director, Oﬃce of Science, Oﬃce of HighEnergy and Nuclear Physics, of the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract DE-AC03-76SF00098.