© Fernando Caracena, 2017


Consciousness enters physics through quantum theory, in which the conscious observer decodes information about physical processes, which become observations about physical reality. The role of the decoding process is described by the action of mathematical operators on wave functions, which evaluate in some way that represents some probabilistic aspect of physical reality. There is much debate about what are the philosophical implications of quantum theory, and the matter is far from settled. Much progress has been made in physics by researchers who just shut up (philosophically) and calculate. In this respect, research physicists rely on the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics. Perhaps it is not just mathematics, but human thought of which mathematics is but one aspect that is unreasonably effective.

Consciousness itself, undefined in quantum physics, is the postulated magic cookie that makes the whole theory work. Consciousness is an unexplained element of the quantum theory, in fact of all physics itself. There is currently much interest in consciousness and research in this area is revealing many interesting things about consciousness. If you care to spend a few hours in listening to and viewing many discussions on the subject as I have done, go to and select "Consciousness Ted Talks". At that site you will see speakers attack the subject from many different directions. From the presentations that I watched, I would judge "Do we see reality as it is?"  by Donald Hoffman as the best.

Hoffman explains how consciousness becomes physics are in another talk, Entangling Conscious Agents, in which Hoffman develops a mathematical theory of consciousness that develops into the laws of physics. In other words, Hoffman solves the duality problem between mind and body by getting rid of the distinction between the two in favor of consciousness over materiality. In a sense, Hoffman has come up with a neo platonic theory of physics. The type of thinking that he is developing here is very exciting because it meshes with a lot of development at the forefront of physics such as thoughts presented by David Tong in an online talk, Quantum Fields: The Real Building Blocks of the Universe.


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