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Henry Stapp

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Henry Stapp is a physicist, well-known for his work in quantum mechanics.

He works at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

ConsciousnessEdit

Some of Stapp's work concerns the implications of quantum mechanics for consciousness.

Stapp sees a global collapse of superposed brain states as in the process of choosing between alternatives. Stapp points out that orthodox quantum theory reconciles two diverse aspects of scientific practice: the mathematical aspect represented by the deterministic evolution of mathematical properties in accordance with a deterministic equation Schrödinger's equation; and the empirical aspect associated with our human actions upon the world about us, and the feedbacks that we experience. Another way that he puts it is that the mathematically detemined evolution via Schrödinger's equation is the 'rock like' aspect of matter, while the quantum collapse of the wave function is mind-like; His theory of how mind may interact with matter via quantum processes in the brain differs from that of Penrose and Hammeroff. While the latter postulates quantum computing in the microtubules in brain neurons, Stapp postulates more global collapse via his 'mind like' wave-function collapses.

Analysis Edit

The known laws of quantum theory do not completely specify either the actions we take or the outcomes we experience in terms of the prior mathematical state of the universe, and the choice of action is not fixed even statistically. Thus, according to orthodox contemporary theory, the universe of which we are parts evolves, insofar as contemporary science can say, in a way that need not be determined exclusively by the matter-like aspects of nature. A corollary of this view of reality is that the history of the universe need not be laid out as fixed structure existing in, and extended in, 4 dimensions, as nineteenth century physics proclaimed, but is constantly forging ahead into the future, in keeping with common sense. Each increase in human knowledge is associated with a 'wave function collapse", which is an 'act of creation' that is a step along the arrow of time. This orthodox quantum structure allows 'free will' to be directly instrumental in the evolution of the universe.


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