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Counter-challenge to Ulrich Mohrhoff's challenge to Henry Stapp, Part 2



Discussion of Section 2, Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness

[Ulrich Mohrhoff]
Before the mystery of existence - the existence of *facts* - we are left with nothing but sheer dumbfoundment. Any attempt to explain the emergence of facts ('the emergence of classicality', as it is sometimes called) must therefore be a wholly gratuitous endeavor.

The ontological dependence of the properties and the number of existing things on facts warrants a distinction between two domains, a *classical domain* of facts and a *quantum domain* of properties that supervene on the the facts. Owing to the ontological dependence of the domain of indicated properties on the domain of property-indicating facts, the quantum domain cannot account for the existence of the classical domain.

[Peter Mutnick]
As I understand it, the proper way to understand these matters in QFT is to ask how the field operators effect first the phenomenal ground state, which it turns out is the higher mental body, and then the ground state itself, which is in the mental world proper. The whole quantum realm, von Neumann's I, embracing mental, emotional, and physical worlds, is all part of the ground state and its modifications by the field operators.

As Bohm has pointed out, we must distinguish the back-ground, which is a form of the quantum implicate order, from the fore-ground, which is the explicate order and which Bohm *mistakenly* assumes to be classical. In Heisenberg's radically unified field theory, it becomes clear that the implicate order pertains to the unified field itself, while the explicate order is the *quantum* explicate order of the asymptotic fields of individual particles. It is then the *figure*, which stands out from the ground altogether, that is the emergent classical order. This figure is in the mental world, like the ground state itself, but it has a double reflection in the oroboric abyss between the quantum physical and the meta-physical classical worlds. The double reflection is as the domain of property-indicating facts and the domain of indicated properties.

It is IMO nonsense to suggest that indicated properties are quantal rather than classical. That these emergent classical properties, which are discovered through measurements, may possess some kind of algebraic origin in the quantum world does not detract from the fact that they are in essence classical, as all properties must be. Now, the domain of property indicating facts is what Mohrhoff is substituting for the closed causal world of Kim and Chalmers. According to Mohrhoff, the properties supervene on the facts. He goes on to say, "If one nevertheless assumes that (i) the ultimate physical reality is the quantum domain, and that (ii) the existence of the domain of facts can, and therefore should, be accounted for, then consciousness becomes an obvious candidate: Facts exist because they are perceived."

Now, this is all backwards. In quantum theory, it is the properties which exist because they are perceived. What the underlying facts are that give rise to the perception of these properties is of course unknown and commonly thought to be unknowable. If we observe the position of an elementary particle, it is not a fact that the particle is in that position, but rather it is a discoverable property of the particle that it appears to us to be in that position. In any case, with these modifications, Mohrhoff's formula that properties supervene on facts is essentially the same as Kim's and Chalmers' claim that consciousness supervenes on the closed causal world.

Now, it is true that after a measurement, we recalculate the State Vector, based on the findings of the previous experiment, so that might give the impression that a fact has been established, or at least that we are acting "as if" a fact had been established. But this is only true to the extent that you believe the State Vector is more than just an algorithm, and Mohrhoff has opted for the "just an algorithm" view, which contradicts his view that measurements establish physical facts. The State Vector, BTW, is a thing-in-itself, but as I have explained, it is thereby mental and distinct from the physical noumenon, which is the quantum reality in its pure essence. This must be the case in quantum theory because the State Vector does indeed combine objective properties of both the quantum system *and* the measuring device. The knowledge expressed by the State Vector tells us about the quantum system *within the margin of error of the measuring device*. On principle (the Uncertainty Principle, to be precise) that margin of error can never become negligible. Now, it is conceivable that the State Vector can also contain knowledge that pertains to the phenomenal object and the inner classical object. In that case, it really expresses the wholeness of the *entire* experimental situation. In any case, the *thing* referred to in the *thing-in-itself*, that the State Vector is, is the experiment or the experience, not just the isolated quantum system.

The mistake of Mohrhoff, as I see it, is that he is using an empirical definition of *fact* that is far from the real meaning of the word. I found a similar inversion of truth in the dictionary definition of the word *noumenon* - dictionaries universally ascribe to Kant exactly the meaning of *noumenon* that Kant explicitly denies. The meaning of the word *fact* is that it is an *objective condition* established by a datum of experience. It is distinct from an hallucination or a mere apparency. What Mohrhoff is doing is conflating empirical or psychological facts with physical facts in a deceptive and delusory way.

Mohrhoff's dictionary definition, "a thing that is *known* to have occurred, to exist, or to be true; a datum of *experience*, an item of verified *information*; a piece of *evidence*", suggests something objective, but it leaves open the empirical loophole that Mohrhoff employs to work his magic of deception. Now, there certainly can be psychological facts, for instance, that have nothing to do with physical reality, but here we are talking about the facts pertaining to physics. The justifiable presumption is that those facts determine by their very existence an objective condition of physical reality. Conventional quantum theory does not discuss or consider any such domain of facts. It considers only the discoverable properties of quantum systems, and these properties have a classical definition, although the algebraic relations between the various properties may indicate something about the underlying quantum reality.

Because quantum theory describes the wholeness of the experimental or experiential situation, it is conceivable that empirical or psychological facts *could* be very significant for physics. This *is* essential to the Copenhagen Interpretation, that the communicable results of experiments *are* in a sense established facts, but they are not physical facts. They are in essence phenomenal facts, although they may include and do include objective criteria having to do with the inner classical object as well as the outer objects involved in the experiment. These empirical facts are entirely equivalent to the discovered classical properties of the quantum system, which supervene on the physical facts, if they indeed exist.

Now, I like Mohrhoff's idea (as modified) of asserting the existence of a domain of facts upon which the discoverable properties of quantum systems supervene. And it seems clear that such a domain would not be a purely quantum domain - it would have to be a neo-classical conception of a closed causal world of fact. It cannot even conceivably be regarded as a self-existent starting point for physics, because that would contradict all the known principles of quantum theory. But it can be regarded as something that comes into existence synchronistically with the the domain of indicated properties, as one of the dual aspects of the classically emergent figure arising from the ground state in QFT.

It is an essential aspect of QFT that creation and destruction operators bring into existence and annihilate certain particle states. To assume a domain of property-indicating fact is simply to assume that these creations and destructions have a real, not just mathematical, existence. In unified field theory, we can draw the further implication that such real physical creations and destructions have antecedents on the level of the unified field operators and their direct action on the phenomenal antecedent of the ground state. These antecedent creations and destructions are of information only, in the sense that one can turn on or turn off one's TV, but that does not effect the underlying TV program being transmitted from the studio. However, the turning on or turning off does have a real causal effect in the world of the TV viewer, which would by analogy be the emergent classical order of the individual sentient being.

The conclusion is that there is a separate emergent classical order, in the sense of a real domain of property-indicating facts, for each sentient being or observing organism. It is the world of our material bondage and of our individual karma. It is from this that we must spiritually emerge into the domain of discoverable properties, which is a spiritual domain reflective of the highest consciousness. Only so long as we are in bondage on the physical plane must our consciousness supervene on the closed causal world of our spiritual isolation. But even in our isolation we can know for certain that the world we inhabit is of our own making, created by our own mental faculty (manas) in the higher realm of the unified field of consciousness.


Conclusion

[Peter Mutnick]
Ulrich Mohrhoff's essential thesis in this paper is that the physical properties of quantum systems supervene on the empirical or phenomenal facts of consensus reality. This is the exact inverse of the thesis of Kim and Chalmers that the properties of conscious experience supervene on the physical facts implied by a causally closed physical world. Both theses are absurd and wrong for the same reason - only physical properties can supervene on physical facts and only properties of conscious experience can supervene on facts of conscious experience. It just so happens that quantum systems exhibit both physical properties and properties of conscious experience. If our criteria for closure of the experiment, which means reduction of the state vector, is one of empirical or phenomenal fact, which is the case in the Copenhagen Interpretation, then to be consistent we should recognize that the basis states we employ should also involve the properties of conscious experience. Henry Stapp, to his great credit, has been the first physicist to point this out in a consistent way. If, on the other hand, we wish to investigate the physical properties of quantum systems, then we should recognize that those properties supervene on physical facts. The former case is appropriate for the momentum representation, the S-Matrix, and the radically unified quantum field theory of Heisenberg and Duerr. The latter case is appropriate for the position representation and a Bohm theory grounded in quantum field theory and the more sophisticated theory of the implicate order.



Peter Joseph Mutnick 1949 - 2000


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