Is there room in quantum ontology for a genuine causal role of consciousness?
2016 (English)In: The Palgrave Handbook of Quantum Models in Social Science / [ed] Emmanuel Haven & Andrei Khrennikov, Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, 1Chapter in book (Refereed)
Western philosophy and science have a strongly dualistic tradition regarding the mental and physical aspects of reality, which makes it difficult to understand their possible causal relations. In recent debates in cognitive neuroscience it has been common to claim on the basis of neural experiments that conscious experiences are causally inefficacious. At the same time there is much evidence that consciousness does play an important role in guiding behavior. This article explores whether a new way of understanding the causal role of mental states and consciousness could be provided by the ontological interpretation of the quantum theory (Bohm and Hiley 1987, 1993). This interpretation radically changes our notion of matter by suggesting that a new type of active information plays a causal role at the quantum level of reality. The strategy of the paper will thus be to consider to what extent the alleged causal powers of consciousness involve information, and then move on to consider whether information in (conscious) mental states can be connected to the information at the level of quantum physics. In this way we are sketching how quantum theory might help to throw light upon one of the Grand Challenges facing the social sciences and the humanities, namely the question of whether consciousness plays any genuine causal role in the physical world.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, 1.
Research subject Humanities and Social sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-10973ISBN: 978-1-137-49276-0ISBN: 978-1-137-49275-3ISBN: 978-1-349-69691-8ISBN: 1-137-49275-9OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-10973DiVA: diva2:814803