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What does it feel like to be in a quantum superposition?

Gao, Shan (2015) What does it feel like to be in a quantum superposition? [Preprint]

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Abstract

We suggest a new answer to this intriguing question and argue that the answer may have implications for the solutions to the measurement problem. The main basis of our analysis is the doctrine of psychophysical supervenience. First of all, based on this doctrine, we argue that an observer in a quantum superposition or a quantum observer has a definite conscious experience, which is neither disjunctive nor illusive. The inconsistency of this result with the bare theory is further analyzed, and it is shown that an appropriate use of the strategy of analyzing the disposition of an observer to answer a particular question also leads to the same result. Next, we argue that this new result seems to disfavor Everett's and Bohm's approaches to quantum mechanics when considering the doctrine of psychophysical supervenience. This suggests that dynamical collapse theories are in the right direction to solve the measurement problem. Thirdly, we analyze the concrete content of the conscious experience of a quantum observer. It is argued that the mental content of a quantum observer is related to both the amplitude and relative phase of each branch of the superposition she is physically in, and it is composed of the mental content corresponding to every branch of the superposition. In addition, we argue that when assuming the modulus squared of the amplitude of each branch determines the vividness of the mental content corresponding to the branch, the structured tails problem of dynamical collapse theories can be solved.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Gao, Shansgao7319@uni.sydney.edu.au
Keywords: quantum observer, measurement problem, psychophysical supervenience, conscious experience, mental content, bare theory, Everett's approach, Bohm's approach, dynamical collapse theories, structured tails problem
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Dr. Shan Gao
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2015 13:17
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2015 13:17
Item ID: 11811
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Date: 12 December 2015
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/11811

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