Can quantum analogies help us to understand the process of thought

Paavo Pylkkänen

University of Skövde and University of Helsinki

In Globus, G., Pribram, H. & Vitiello, G. Eds. Brain and Being John Benjamins

The author looks at human thought processes with particular reference to the ideas of David Bohm. Bohm is indicated to have thought that while logical thought was important for the scientific effort, it might be a subset of more general thought processing, just as classical physics can be seen as a subset of quantum physics. Bohm considered that the basic thinking process was not logical. This was why new ideas could appear suddenly, often after a long period of unsuccesful but more logical work. He saw this as analogous to the quantum jump. Thus there might be a quantum-like general thinking process, which at a later stage has to be justified by more logical processes. Bohm thought it likely that quantum processes were involved in cognition, and that this accounted for the quantum-like nature of a lot of cognition. While most brain processes were admitted to be describable by classical physics, Bohm thought that there might be certain areas that were so finely balanced as to be described quantum mechanically. Further, in some altered states of consciousness, classical processes might play only a minor part, and this would allow holistic features to predominate.

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