The Ontological Significance of Heisenberg's Work
On the Unified Field, In His Own Words
From "Modern Physics and Its Philosophical Consequences" (Gifford Lectures 1955/56):
For a complete understanding of matter we would however need something more. We would need an explanation for the properties of the elementary particles, for their masses and charges, their interactions and their radioactive decays. For this purpose it would no longer be sufficient to consider the elementary particles as given entities of matter. On the contrary the elementary particles should be considered as the final and perhaps complicated result of some intrinsic properties of matter, and the problem will be to formulate these properties mathematically in such a way that the existence of the elementary particles can be derived from some fundamental equations. In the present situation of theoretical physics we are still rather far away from this goal. There is no doubt that quantum theory and especially its abstract features will play an important role in the formulation of these ultimate properties of matter. But it may be that even beyond those abstractions that have been forced upon the physicists by the experiments about the outer parts of the atom, new features of Nature will come into play that lead us still farther away from the simple pictures of classical physics. It is especially the structure of space and time in the smallest dimensions (below distances of 10^-13 cm and time intervals of 10^-23 sec) that may require new research. At this point it seems that the postulates of quantum theory and those of relativity cannot be reconciled. The structure of space and time revealed by the theory of relativity requires that any action can only be propagated from one point to a neighboring point; any action over finite distances would violate the simplest requirement of causality. In quantum theory, however, an interaction from point to point, i.e. an interaction that is completely localized would - on account of the principle of indeterminancy - require infinitely large momenta and energies. The solution of this paradox has not yet been found.
From "The Nature of Scientific Discovery" by Owen Gingrich (Discussion with Professor Heisenberg):
HEISENBERG: Yes, I'm sure that you are just close to an essential point in philosophy, namely, the ontological question of whether mathematical structures are only forms in our mind, or whether they are there before the human mind ever was created.
There is a very great difference between this kind of objective idealism of Plato and, let us say, the more subjective idealism of the 19th century. I would definitely be in favor of the objective idealism of Plato.
... These forms are always present in matter, and in the human mind, and they are responsible for both.
I would not say that mind is something entirely different from the material world. ...
But I would like to say that the mathematical structures are something behind the whole thing, or beyond the thing, not only in our mind. ... Thus the mathematical structures are actually deeper than than the existence of mind or matter. Mind or matter is a *consequence* of mathematical structure. That, of course, is a very Platonic idea. But I would always feel that it is a reality.
COMMENTS BY PETER MUTNICK:
Henry Stapp has clearly departed from Heisenberg, both in forsaking Heisenberg's strong commitment to objective idealism and in substituting a weak form of subjective idealism. By contradistinction, the approach I advocate is a retention of Heisenberg's strong commitment to objective idealism coupled by an equally strong commitment to the subjective idealism of Descartes, Husserl, James, and Whitehead. Only this thoroughgoing idealism can approach the reality and truth of Sathguru Kriya Babaji Nagaraj, the Immortal Guru and Father of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The first quote above cleary shows that unified field theory was intimately connected in Heisenberg's mind with the ontology of quantum mechanics, and he envisioned unified field theory as the deepening of quantum theory envisioned by Bohr, as well, especially after 1935. Henry Stapp's claim that unified field theory was *merely* a technical pursuit for Heisenberg is clearly refuted by this passage in Heisenberg's own words. Heisenberg moreover envisioned, beyond the unified field theory, the unification of unified field theories (his and Einstein's). This is the real program for all those who would be the heirs of the Copenhagen Philosophy.
Henry Stapp was involved in the splitting off of Pauli from the unified field program, and this divisive role is an engram in the collective unconscious to this day.
In the words of the Hebrew spiritual, "We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord, and we pray that our unity will one day be restored."
In the second essay quoted above Heisenberg mentions the percipient event in the brain (he supposes), and says that this is quite in keeping with his non-dualistic view of the mind. However, he comes up short by presuming a material brain, which must presumably be made of material particles. Rather, one must with Descartes question in the first instance the existence of any such things, as Heisenberg otherwise says that he does. It is purely inconsistent to question the existence of particles objectively but then presume them when it comes to our subjective experience.
If one is consistent, then all one has in the first instance are subjective percepts, which are organic perspectives on the environment of the organism. A complete catalog of these possible perspectives comprises reality, in the absence of any presumptions about things in themselves, as Sartre explains in the Introduction to Being and Nothingness. This was in fact the conclusion of modern philosophy long before the invention of the operator/eigenvector method in quantum mechanics, which clearly implements the idea.
The subjective percepts or perspectives, which are somewhat akin to the points in superspace of Wheeler, insofar as they are slices of reality, are the substantial elements that form the subject matter of unified field theory. The percipient events take place in the organism, but in the organism prior to any material preconception of the organism, which is precisely what is to be avoided in a thoroughgoing treatment at the fundamental level.
In this way, and in this way only, one has ontological support for the world of pure experience advocated by William James and by Henry Stapp. Otherwise, the claim of Henry Stapp to accomplish such a construction is no more than cognitive dissonance, IMHO, because it is in fact grounded in materialism of the most limited sort. The materialists will rightly scoff at Henry's attempts, because they are epistemological only and hence in fact epiphenomenological. Heisenberg's attempts can also be safely rejected, since they depend on a type of abstract existence which is nowhere in evidence. Only Whitehead understood how to combine subjective and objective idealism in a consistent and successful way. Unfortunately, none of Whitehead's followers are smart enough to carry his program forward, and so it too has been rejected.
STILL FURTHER COMMENTS:
There can be no question that Heisenberg refers here to something along the lines of his unified field theory as the mathematical formulation of the ultimate properties of matter. This will be a new and deeper theory than quantum mechanics or quantum field theory and a deeper application of the principle of complementarity. Bohr spoke in exactly the same way in his lectures and essays after 1935. Moreover, Heisenberg equates the present QFT with atomic problems only and forsees that the nuclear problems will implicate the Planck length and time, thus necessitating a deep synthesis with the theory of relativity that is not possible in QM or QFT.
This raises the question of whether the ultimate properties of matter are intrinsic properties or relative properties. Henry Stapp points out the basic distinction between questions of the stability and hence existence of matter and subsequent observations extrinsic to the intrinsic existence of the bound states. But the point is that at the Planck length and time, which are at the core of the nuclear reality in the vision of Heisenberg, the distinction must vanish. It is here that the mechanical picture ultimately fails, including most especially the distinction between stability and external observation, which is the very essence of the mechanical or building block model of the universe. The stability in reality depends upon a kind of internal self-observation, ala Wheeler, and that is the very essence of the unified field theory, which presumes to account for both mind and matter, as Heisenberg avers in the second quote.
That internal self-observation, or self-awareness, is essential to true being, which is always grounded in the true eternal existent, consciousness itself. It is what it means to possess being or true existence. Physics must do more than assert the existence of atoms or particles - it must fathom how they exist and what it means to exist, or it has explained nothing and is a merely descriptive type of "science" that bestows no real understanding at all. The postulates proffered here constitute a real program of deep understanding grounded in the so-called perrenial philosophy. There is no other set of viable postulates anywhere in existence, to my admittedly limited knowledge.
The key to non-dualism is to realize, as Krishnamurti averred, that observer and observed are one, which means that there are not two types of things at the fundamental level, but only one, and those true things are in the first instance observers or subjects, as Whitehead boldly proclaimed. When Henry Stapp realizes that quantum theory implies that God is in every observer, he is just one step away from the profound realization that God is in every atom and particle, because at the fundamental level everything that exists, exists by virtue of its own internal self-observation and self-creation. This is the very essence of radically unified quantum field theory. What is unified above all else is the dualism of observer and observed that plagues the so-called Copenhagen Interpretation, to the disgust of its founders.
The solution is simple - what really exists is consciousness itself, and so all true existents are in the first instance subjects. The philosophy of atomism is only intelligible when one explains how the atoms have being, and when one does that one must conclude with Whitehead that they are in the first instance subjects and they create themselves by the their own internal self-observation, with the assistance of the unified field, which is a Bohm-type guidance field, guiding the atomic observers in their self-creation.
This points the way to an organic conception of the universe, in which the ultimate entities are organisms capable of self-observation and self-creation. In other words they are observers first, or subjects, just as Whitehead avers. Apart from the experiences of these atomic subjects, there is nothing, nothing, nothing, bare nothingness! - i.e., the vacuum. (This is Whitehead's reformed subjectivist principle.)
Just as Bohm's theory cannot be done on the cheap, neither can Heisenberg's unified field theory. It must be grounded in first principles or it must necessarily fail, and it would be the greatest defeat if a merely technical solution could be found that was NOT grounded in first principles. There is no other foundation that can be laid than the one that has been laid by the great genius of Alfred North Whitehead, the figurative "head" of the Great White Brotherhood (hence White-head). Whitehead alone has bridged the gorge that has grown between science and philosophy, and his reunification will stand many milleniums from now as the greatest advance since the ancient Greeks.
There can be no doubt that the next great advance in science will be built upon the foundation established by Whitehead. There can also be no doubt that it will be exactly along the lines consensually predicted by the founders of quantum theory - Bohr, Pauli, and Heisenberg. Those lines involve a deeper application of the principle of complementarity as implemented by a unified field theory, similar but not identical to the one that has been developed blindly by Heisenberg and Duerr.
To attempt to derive profound philosophical consequences from the present quantum theory is a collosal waste of time, because that theory had been rejected by *all* of its founders. It is exactly like beating a dead horse. What we must do instead is follow the real direction given by the founders, by boldly discovering and unfolding the new and deeper theory that they consensually hailed as inevitable. This is a time for intuition and creativity in the highest degree, not slavish obedience to the demands of a technological society run amok.
It is no coincidence that the essence of Whitehead's approach is an organic view of the universe, and the society run amok increasingly ignores the needs of organisms in favor of its mechanical devices, many of which are toxic to organisms. This is a war between good and evil, that will not only culminate in revolution, but in an Armageddon that leads to a complete transformation of humanity.
Heisenberg's emphasis on mathematical entities can be compared fruitfully to Aristotle's comments in the first chapter of his "Metaphysics," wherein he explains that "Plato, unlike Pythagoras, put mathematical entites between the ideas and the things of the senses, *because of his interest in dialectics*, which the earlier men lacked." So, Plato probably did not see the mathematical entities as the transcendental source of both the ideas and the things (mind and matter), as did Heisenberg, but on the contrary saw the mathematical entities as the dialectical synthesis of the two. Perhaps the mathematical entities might be senior to the things (matter) in hierarchy, but probably not to the ideas (mind). Hence, Heisenberg fails to see the subjective idealism at the core of Plato's philosophy, which was definitely present in Whitehead's interpretation thereof. The dialectic is the dynamic of self-creation and the subjective or sensuous activity of organisms, as understood by Marx, for instance. If the unified field does not arise as the culmination of such a dynamic, then it is very difficult to conceive what it is. If it is to be a *mere* abstraction, then I think Heisenberg must abandon his claim to be a Platonist, for there is no assertion of the Eidos as a *mere* abstraction anywhere in the philosophy of Plato. On the contrary, the Eidos is always arrived at by dialectic and is the guiding light of all true dialectic. It is not an irrational abstraction, as the combined philosophy of Pauli and Heisenberg might lead one to believe.
In the same essay first quoted, Heisenberg says of Descartes:
"In his fundamental triangle 'I - God - World', the existence of the 'I' is justified by the sentence 'cogito ergo sum', the existence of God follows from the existence of the concept of God, which could not have been invented by the 'I' since 'God' has a higher degree of reality than the 'I', and the existence of the world follows, since I recognize the world and I cannot simply be deceived by God. ... The followers of Descartes recognized that the concept of God was only a kind of connecting link between the two poles 'I' and 'the World' ... ."
None of this follows logically, and I doubt that it is what Descartes actually said. A logical conclusion might be that God must exist because the *concept* of God (not God) has a higher degree of reality than the "I", just as a monkey could not sit down at a piano and play Beethoven. To understand this logical conclusion, however, one must have some familiarity with the way that God actually works - by informing a "prophet" through the "Word" of God. It is only when the Word of God comes to a Prophet that he begins to develop the "concept of God", and indeed that concept of God has a higher reality than the "I" of the Prophet - he is fully cognizant that he is not inventing it by himself, but is being aided by the Word of God that is informing him.
Nonetheless, the main line of Cartesian mediation has nothing to do with this informing by the Logos, or the Eidos (in the case of Plato). The first step is indeed 'cogito ergo sum', which means that only pure consciousness as the essence of all experience cannot be doubted to exist and to be the source of the sense of I or I AM. From the pure consciousness as the essence of all experience, it follows also from experience that we posit our thoughts in the nexus of our perceptions of the world, such that we ourselves are also part of that nexus. Of the 'World' it may be said, 'esse est percipi', to be is to be perceived. (Bishop Berkeley formulated this later, but it was already implicit in the reasoning of Descartes.)
Thus, 'I' and the 'World' are the two poles of being, called by Sartre etre pour-soi and etre en-soi. The question is whether these two poles, the transcendental ego and the necessary reality of the world, can be reconciled successfully. The synthesis is the apparent goal of creation and constitutes the attainment of Godhood, or the coming into existence of the reality of God within the individual, which is the only type of genuine "God" there ever can be, as St. Paul himself averred (unless Christ be born in you, all religiosity is in vain). Such a synthesis must be an 'ens causa sui', since the ego is transcendental and self-existent and if it posits itself as such without error, without abandoning its authenticity, then it must posit itself as a being which causes itself. If our outer reality cannot accord with our inner reality, then we are all condemned to the mental disease of the soul, known as schizophrenia, which was orginally defined as the split between the inner and outer realities of the individual. Moreover, the 'World' and the entire existence we experience would have no apparent purpose, but would stand as a collosal unresolved contradiction. How can the transcendental be posited and dependent upon its positing, i.e. subject to causation, unless it be posited as an 'ens causa sui'? The real attainment of the Godhood of an 'ens causa sui' is the only resolution of the contradiction present within our being. Such was the conclusion of Sartre in his magnum opus, Being and Nothingness.
Henry Stapp points out that quantum theory in fact requires each of us to be an expression of God and a window for God's perception, insofar as knowledge anywhere alters knowledge everywhere. What Henry does not quite see as of yet is the definition of God as an 'ens cause sui' and of each organism, as a part and parcel of God, as also an 'ens causa sui'.
Heisenberg goes on to say, interestingly: "The followers of Descartes tried to avoid the metaphysical realism, which took the material world as an ultimately existing object, by emphasizing the role of sensual perception in all our knowledge (John Locke's work on human understanding, and the phenomenalism developed by Berkeley). This empiricistic point of view was criticized by Kant, ... ."
Yes, and Whitehead successfully synthesized all of these views. The ebb and flow of the stream of consciousness is embodied in the actual entities, but the enduring objects necessary for sustained knowledge of things require the Kantian structures of the psychical apparatus. Most of conventional quantum mechanics is about enduring objects, but without a theory of the underlying actual entities, such a theory lacks substance, for enduring objects are precisely the forms that carry over from one duration to the next and are embodied in a whole society of actual entities. The unified field theory must not perpetuate the preoccupation with mere forms, but must grasp the true substance of the universe and explain its process of becoming. That true substance is subjective and grounded in consciousness itself, which is the only thing in the universe that exists from eternity to eternity. It is the only source of true identity, and hence existence, for all else in the universe is a passing show that is ultimately illusory.
It is of course true that consciousness can be attenuated by a preoccupation with forms, or enduring objects, and that leads sentient beings to embrace materialism as the obvious fact of their existence. But the attenuation of consciousness is mere maya, or illusion, from an informed and enlightened point of view. There is indeed an "acit (unconscious) potency" of the Supreme Lord, but that "acit potency" is the Lord's maya. An enlightened theory of physics should not be an expression of maya, but of insight into the eternal reality of consciousness and the subjective entities thereof. That mathematical science can leave its moorings of preoccupation with the mere forms of enduring objects and go deeper into the reality itself is the truly great miracle yet to occur. It is the real promise of unified field theory, correctly appraised.
The world is a necessarily existing object, insofar as it is necessary to account for our experience of positing and being posited. That is all that Descartes ever implied. Insofar as the transcendental ego exists, the posited world must exist apart from it, and insofar as the posited world exists (as the environment of the organism), the individual organism must exist apart from it. This is the inescapable dialectic of our being, which first interested Plato. The only question that remains is whether we can find a satisfactory synthesis and resolution of these contradictions and a theory of nature that expresses accurately the whole dialectical process of nature and the self-causation of all the individual entities of nature.
Heisenberg points out that, at the hands of Leukippos and Demokritos, "The antithesis of Being and Not-being was simplified into the antithesis of 'Full' and 'Empty'. ... The atom was pure 'Being', ... ."
The question, however, is whether the atom as pure 'Being' is simply "vacuous actuality", in the words of Whitehead, or conceived meaningfully as 'a Being' or 'Being' (itself). All of Heisenberg's work and all of Henry Stapp's work, and all of the work of all of the physicists hitherto has conceived of the atom as merely vacuous actuality and not as Being in the sense of a genuine conception of Being. Only philosophers like Sartre, Heidegger, and Whitehead have developed the right conceptions, but the physicists have hitherto been as impervious to enlightenment as the vacuous actuality they envision as 'Matter'. Hence, the real crisis in science and in civilization.
The Real Crux of the Matter:
According to conventional quantum theory, micro objects, which are more structure than substance, move around as "potentia" according to unitary development until they are actualized by macro observers, who must ultimately be conscious subjects, at least according to the Heisenberg-von Neumann-Wigner theory propounded by Henry Stapp.
According to the James-Whitehead-Bohm-Heisenberg-Duerr theory propounded by me, consciousness comes at the beginning, not at the end, while the objects of matter, whether structure or substance, come at the end, not at the beginning.
Consciousness is primary, as the true existent of the universe. Next come the actual entities, which are the subjective individuations of consciousness. Organic matter is seen as comprised of atomic subjects, even as inorganic matter is comprised of atomic objects, but since consciousness is primary, the subjects are also primary, and objects are derivative and illusory to the extent that they seem to attenuate the primary existent, consciousness itself.
The evidence of archaeology and astronomy supports this view, since the vast universe has undoubtedly spawned creatures more advanced in consciousness than us, all the way up to the Supreme Organism, whose organic body is the whole universe. To that Supreme Organism, subjects are primary in a real and uncontradicted sense. That view of the Supreme Organism is the "reality" that physics should strive to comprehend.
The subjects create their own objective existences, called superjects or concrescences, by a process of actualizing all other objectivized subjects in the universe. Each one actualizes or measures each other, and hence the measurement process constitutes a universal force of prehension, whereby each one feels the force of each other, and a unified field, whereby each one feels the force of all others, combined. Each one is the measure of the whole universe and hence creates its own actual world. The function Henry Stapp attributes to God is in fact performed by each actual entity, which is qualitatively the same as God.
The subject is the substance and the superject is the form. In the process of self-actualization, each subject incorporates eternal objects, which are more or less the Platonic ideas or ideals. When the same eternal object is shared by a society of actual entities, it becomes an enduring object, which is one that can become an object of Kantian knowledge.
Conventional quantum theory is primarily about enduring objects, and it views the actualizing process that creates a real world as a macroscopic overlay. There are all kinds of unresolved problems with this approach, and if the James-Whitehead theory is correct it is obvious why - because it is a fundamental inversion of truth more significant than that of Ptolemy's view versus the view of Copernicus. The actualization process, or the real world, is not a macroscopic overlay, but the underlying substance of the forms that arise from it.
Only a theory of the underlying substance can explain the existence and stability of the forms that arise in its context. That is why a unified field theory must be a theory of the underlying substance, comprised of atomic subjects or observers. It must explain in the first instance the behavior of the atomic observers, not the imaginary things that they observe.
The unified field, properly conceived, is a Bohm-like guidance field, guiding atomic observers in their process of self-creation (and destruction). This is a better conception than Heisenberg's own conception of the unified field as creating and annihilating "matter in general", which is a vague term impossible to give precise definition, as the failure of his program, together with Duerr, has demonstrated. Similarly, Bohm and Hiley could not give meaning to their "quantum potential".
Even as Whitehead seemed deficient in the consciousness department, he also seemed to lack the concept of a unified field that would be adequate to coordinate the individual processes of the actual entities, thus assuring the stability, consistency, continuity, and homogeneity of the universe and its parts. So, the theory propounded here is not a Whiteheadian theory, but a James-Whitehead-Bohm-Heisenberg-Duerr type of theory.
Without the philosophical foundation of the James-Whitehead tradition, however, the physics by itself lacks the foundation of an adequate conception of reality and is no more than chicken scratch or gibberish, no matter how technologically successful. The result will be and already is myriads of airheads walking around talking gibberish on cell phones and similar devices produced by the meaningless and counterproductive advance of technology.
The Objection to Micro-reductions: Relative Properties vs. Intrinsic Properties:
So, what is the objection to micro-reductions? Simply that they would contradict the apparent fact of unitary development in the micro-world. But that argument has no force when we are talking about micro-subjects, and not micro-objects. It is true that microscopic enduring objects seem to obey a wave function, but that says nothing about the micro-subjects in which the objects appear. In fact, even quantum field theory, let alone unified field theory, seems already to intrude necessarily into the realm of subjects and not objects. All we really need is quantum mechanics to treat the apparency of enduring objects and unified field theory to treat the underlying reality of the subjects in which those enduring objects appear.
In other words, the attempt to produce a relativistic quantum theory of objects is already begging the question. If we want a relativistic theory, it must be of relative properties, not intrinsic properties, and those relative properties are all relative to observers. Bohm's theory of particles, based on non-relativistic quantum theory, is the closest thing to a theory of the intrinsic properties of objects that we will ever get. Beyond that the properties are relative, and that means relative to observers. The present attempts at quantum field theory, to say nothing of the attempts at supersymmetric string theory, are essentially flawed with category error in the sense of Gilbert Ryle.
Quantum theorists have just not taken relativity seriously, and that has led them further astray than Einstein ever ventured as a result of his denials of quantum theory.
A Universal Force of Observation (UFO)
So, why have scientists so far failed to detect the universal force of observation, if it exists? Simply because it is disguised as the effective forces that operate on the constants of the motion of subjects, rather than the subjects themselves. Again, because of a preoccupation with form rather than substance, the constants of the motion (enduring objects) have usurped the leading role of the res verae (actual entities).
From the standpoint of Bohm theory it is clearly explicable how effective fields that guide the enduring objects could be similar to the real fields that guide the subjects in creating and sustaining those objects. Measurement is not the exception to the rule, but the universal force that only appears in various guises when we don't look closely enough. Even as the macro objective world has been presumed to consist of micro objects, so the macro subjective world consists of micro subjects, and it is the sheer arrogance of the human ego to presume that it is very unique in its process of observation. One micro subject with well-honed micro-senses can feel the distance that another is from it, and perhaps with great precision - it does not need a sophisticated measuring device to make that determination. On the contrary, our most sophisticated devices are probably extraordinarily cumbersome compared to the universally bestowed micro-senses of the unadorned subjects of nature.
The bootstrap program, which denies the elementarity of particles, has probably done much damage in this regard, because it gives the false notion that macro objects could be just as fundamental as micro objects, thus distorting the simple logic of atomism (division of matter into parts down to the particles) and leading to the so-called correspondence principle - for those macro objects, the uncertainty principle would be of negligible significance. If, on the other hand, one cannot extrapolate in that way, then the correspondence principle is of dubious value, because there are no really existing macro objects to which the classical laws would naturally apply. Henry Stapp actually admits this - that without subjective reductions, everything would be everywhere - the moon would be all over the sky.
The uniqueness of the macro world in being the seat of observations or measurements then vanishes. Micro subjects are just as likely as macro subjects. The source of the classical attributes must then be sought elsewhere, in metaphysics, where it can rightly be found. The present moments, or micro subjects, of the phenomenal flow of time in fact embody those classical attributes, *before* they become world-thrown in their process of becoming permanent entities of nature rather then impermanent elements of the passing show. The phenomenal world is the alpha and omega of the process of becoming of each micro subject, and it is the juxtaposition of phenomenal and noumenal worlds of metaphysical reality that is the source of the classical/quantal divide.
Henry Stapp's View and Peter Mutnick's Critique Thereof
Henry Stapp, from Unabridged Target Article, at http://www-physics.lbl.gov/~stapp/stappfiles.html:
9. Conclusions and summary
The philosophy of materialism has no basis in contemporary physics. There is no support in current fundamental physics for the notion that the physical world is made out of, or even contains, what Isaac Newton (1721) called “solid, massy, hard, impenetrable movable particles,” or that our conscious thoughts are patterns of motions of such entities. There is also no basis in physics for the idea that every thought is caused purely by local mechanical processes, or that our conscious thoughts merely seem to be causing our bodily actions. On the contrary, contemporary orthodox physical theory provides no mechanically deterministic cause for our conscious choices, yet allows these conscious choices to influence physical behavior. And it instantiates the causally efficacious mathematical properties of nature in a structure that is ontologically more like information, knowledge, or potentiality for information-changing events to occur, than like the material substance postulated by classical physics.
The benefits of adopting the pragmatic quantum approach could be as important to progress in neuroscience and neuropsychology as they were in atomic physics. It allows the deferred-to-the-future question of how mind and consciousness are connected to classically described brain to be replaced by the partially answered question of how mind and consciousness are connected to quantum mechanically described brain. This switch allows the psychological data of psycho-physical and neuropsychological experiments to be treated as descriptions of the causally efficacious psychological part of contemporary pragmatic dualistic physical theory. Mind and consciousness are no longer coerced into being an aspect of a mechanical approximation that systematically strips them of their causal power.
Criticism by Peter Mutnick:
The current physics still retains alot of the old classical ideas that have been proven to be in essence wrong, and what now exists as "science" is a hybrid of the old ideas and really new and radical ideas. This is as much true of Henry Stapp's theories as anyone else's theories, and in this regard Henry does not seem to have gone far enough with his critique of classical theory.
What is still rotten in the state of Denmark is the old idea that the reality of the world is essentially objective, that the world consists of space and time and particles, which exist more or less objectively and somehow combine to produce the composite objects we experience *and* our experience, *even* if that experience adds something new.
Henry Stapp does not point to any other source of our experience than our brains, and our brains he conceives as comprised of a certain number of quantum particles (an N-particle quantum state of the ordinary quantum field). This means that consciousness is still a "ghost in the machine" (Habermas), despite all Henry's claim to be liberating us from classical or mechanical ideas (this could apply to Bohm's anti-mechanical stance, as well). It really doesn't matter very much that the quantum mechanics requires conscious experience to have *some* properties that transcend mechanical determination, if the essential *basis* of conscious experience is still a quantum mechanics of objective "particles", however conceived. The atomistic world, from the bottom up, is still objective and mechanical, and conscious experience is just a seemingly spurious (as Dennett claims) icing on the materialistic cake.
The viable alternative is Whitehead's organic philosophy, wherein the universe is viewed as organic, as a whole and in its parts. By organic he means that the universe and its parts are experiencing subjects. He doesn't root this in consciousness itself, as the eternal existent, but that is just a personal shortcoming, or quirk, imho.
If the real atomic substances of the universe are subjects, then they are observers, and their prehensions of each other constitute a universal force of observation (ufo). Objective particles are just enduring objects, which means eternal objects incorporated into the processes of becoming of a number of subjects, which together constitute a society.
The Bohm pilot wave which guides the objective particles is just a non-relativistic approximation to the unified field which guides the observers in their internal processes of self-creation (and annihilation). The non-relativistic Bohm theory is the closest thing we can ever have to a theory of the *intrinsic* properties of matter, because once we go relativistic, the properties are all relative to observers, or subjects, just as Whitehead avers.
Peter Joseph Mutnick 1949 - 2000