The Nature of Consciousness

Piero Scaruffi

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These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"

Quantum Gravity

Roger Penrose is one of those who argues that the right approach to the integration of Quantum Theory and Relativity Theory is not to be concerned about the effects of the former on the latter but viceversa.

Penrose (like everyone else) is puzzled by the two different, and incompatible, quantum interpretations of the world. One is due to Schroedinger's equation, which describes how a wave function evolves in time. This interpretation is deterministic and provides a continuous history of the world. The other is due to the collapse of the wave function in the face of a measurement, which entails determining probabilities of possible outcomes from the squared moduli of amplitudes in the wave function ("state-vector reduction"). This interpretation is probabilistic and provides a discontinuous history of the world, because the system suddenly jumps into a new state. We can use Schroedinger's equation to determine what is happening at any point in time; but, the moment we try to actually measure a quantity, we must resort to state-vector reduction in order to know what has happened.

Penrose postulates that these two incompatible views must be reconciled at a higher level of abstraction by a new theory, and such a theory must be based on Relativity Theory. Such a theory, which he calls "quantum gravity", would also rid Physics of the numerous infinites that plague it today. It should also be time-asymmetrical, predicting a privileged direction in time, just like the second law of Thermodynamics does. Finally, in order to preserve free will, it would contain a non-algorithmic element, which means that the future would not be computable from the present. Penrose even believes that Quantum Gravity will explain consciousness.

 


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