Archive for September, 2013

Spacetime and decisions

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Spacetime and decisions From the webmaster Keywords: Spacetime, decision-making, emotion, freewill There is something like a consensus in physics that spacetime is discrete rather than continuous. This would appear to mean that spacetime is something like a network or web having pattern, and therefore capable of representing or conveying information. Clearly there is no evolutionary advantage in expending energy accessing the spacetime level, if it only does the same kind of logic or Read more […]

Wave function collapse

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Nine Lives + One: Hello Kitty! New Scientist 12/05/07 Amanda Gefter Andrew Jordan of the University of Rochester has come up with a new take on the Schrödinger cat problem. Superposition is central to the problem. Experiments prove that superpositions do occur. But they are not apparent in the classical world, and there is a problem in deciding how and why things move from a superpositioned state to a single defined state. Jordan, working with Alexander Korotkov of the University of California Read more […]

Ghost in the atom

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Ghost in the atom Marcus Chown New Scientist, 28 July 2012 In quantum theory the wave function encodes all the possible behaviours of a quantum system and allows the calculation of the probability of finding a particle at any particular point in space. The tradition in quantum physics has been to regard the wave function as a convenient abstraction for the purpose of calculations, and as being just a probability distribution. The alternive is that the quantum wave is a real underlying Read more […]

Interpretations of quantum theory

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Physics: Interpretations of quantum theory Elegance and Enigma: Quantum Interviews Ed. Maximilian Schlosshauer Springer (2011) Keywords:  collapse theories, pilot-wave theories, decoherence, quantum information This book demonstrates that the different interpretations of quantum theory are becoming more distinct and more entrenched, rather than showing any sign of moving towards any kind of consensus. In particular, six types of approach are distinguished, (1.) Everett many-world Read more […]

Quantum reality theorem

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Quantum reality theorem Quantum state cannot be interpreted statistically Pusey, M., Barrett, J. & Rudolph, Terry, Imperial College London arXiv: 1111.3328v1 [quant-ph] 14 Nov 2011 and nature.com http://arxiv.org/ In this preprint posting, the authors claim to have shown by their theorem that the view that quantum states are only mathematical abstractions (referred to as the statistical interpretation) is inconsistent with the predictions of quantum theory, and that therefore quantum Read more […]

Beliefs about consciousness

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Beliefs about consciousness Imants Baruss Kings University College, London, Ontario Journal of Consciousness Studies, 15, No. 10-11, 2008, pp. 277-92 http://ingentaconnect.com/journals/browse/imp/jcs The paper comprises a study that relates (1.) the degree to which people are rational in their approach to the world, (2.) the degree to which they are curious, and (3.) their score on conventional measures of intelligence, to three main categories of belief system. These are (1.) conventional Read more […]

Ramachandran on consciousness

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Vilayanur Ramachandran In:- Conservations on Consciousness Oxford University Press Ramachandran sees the self and qualia as intertwined. Without the self, he thinks that there would be nothing that experiences the qualia, and without the experiencing of the qualia there would be nothing to identify as self. Blackmore raises the objection that in altered states such as Zen meditation the self disappears but there is still experience. Ramachandran is in denial on this, claiming it is not possible, Read more […]

Bernard Baars and Stan Franklin

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Two varieties of unconscious processing Stan Franklin and Bernard Baars In:- New Horizons in the Neuroscience of Consciousness – Eds. Elaine Perry, Daniel Collerton, Fiona LeBeau & Heather Ashton The authors distinguish between two forms of the unconscious, processing that is unconscious, but could become conscious, and processing that is never conscious. Material is argued to be capable of becoming conscious if it is relevant for determining what is the most important aspect of the Read more […]

Quantum consciousness

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Quantum consciousness: Reply to Spier & Thomas Stuart Hameroff Trends in Cognitive Science http://www.cell.com/trends/cognitive-sciences/ In this paper, Hameroff replies to criticisms of the Orch OR model by Spier and Thomas. Hameroff justifies the unusual nature of the proposals in the Orch OR model, and its integration of ideas from neuroscience, computing and physics, by the fact new concepts are required to solve ‘the hard problem’ of consciousness. The theory is argued to Read more […]

O’Regan on consciousness

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Why Red Doesn’t Sound Like a Bell Kevin O’Regan Like many books on consciousness this functions better in demolishing other writers’ pronouncements on consciousness than it does with establishing a plausible theory of its own. O’Regan is relentless in driving home to his audience the failure of neuroscience to uncover a mechanism for consciousness, and the failure of artificial intelligence to construct anything much like a conscious robot. He is also determined not to be deflected Read more […]