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Are observers reducible to structures?

Stoica, Ovidiu Cristinel (2023) Are observers reducible to structures? [Preprint]

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Abstract

Physical systems are characterized by their structure and dynamics. But the physical laws only express relations, and their symmetries allow any possible relational structure to be also possible in a different parametrization or basis of the state space. I show that, if observers are reducible to their structure, observer-like structures from different parametrizations would identify differently the observables with physical properties. They would perceive the same system as being in a different state. This leads to the question: is there a unique correspondence between observables and physical properties, or this correspondence is relative to the parametrization in which the observer-like structure making the observation exists?

I show that, if observer-like structures from all parametrizations were observers, their memory of the external world would have no correspondence with the facts, it would be no better than random guess. Since our experience shows that this is not the case, there must be more to the observers than their structure. This implies that the correspondence between observables and physical properties is unique, and it's manifest in the observers. This result applies to both quantum and classical physics, so it is independent of the measurement problem. It has implications for structural realism, philosophy of mind, the foundations of quantum and classical physics, and quantum-first approaches.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Stoica, Ovidiu Cristinelholotronix@gmail.com0000-0002-2765-1562
Keywords: Foundations of quantum and classical physics; observers; structural realism; philosophy of mind;
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Consciousness
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Depositing User: Ovidiu Cristinel Stoica
Date Deposited: 14 Jul 2023 12:53
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2023 12:53
Item ID: 22310
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Consciousness
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date: 13 July 2023
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/22310

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