A Physically Grounded Theory of Mind-Body Interaction
The classical materialist worldview of mainstream cognitive science leads to a conception of our minds as passive spectators watching our bodies execute their built-in programs. Yet this view seems to conflict with our experience of free will. Henry Stapp has long argued that quantum theory provides the basis for a theory of conscious agents possessing free will. This paper presents an account of how quantum theory may be employed by the brain to effect conscious volitional behavior. A path to empirically evaluating the theory is discussed.
KeywordsConsciousness Free will Quantum theory Agency
I thank the MattersOfMind discussion group for helping me to refine the ideas presented in this paper. I am especially grateful to Henry Stapp for years of patient explanations and invigorating discussions without which this paper would not have been possible.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The author declares she has no conflict of interest.
- Cave, S. (2016). There’s no such thing as free will. The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/06/theres-no-such-thing-as-free-will/480750/. Accessed 22 Aug 2018.
- Dehaene, S. (2014). Consciousness and the brain: deciphering how the brain codes our thoughts. New York: Viking.Google Scholar
- James, W. (1961). Psychology, the briefer course. New York: Harper.Google Scholar
- McFadden, J. (2013). The CEMI field theory closing the loop. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 20(1–2), 1–2.Google Scholar
- Pockett, S. (2000). The nature of consciousness: a hypothesis. San Jose: iUniverse.Google Scholar
- Russell, S., & Norvig, P. (2009). Artificial intelligence: a modern approach (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
- von Neumann, J. (1955). Mathematical foundations of quantum mechanics. Princeton: Princeton University Press (Original work published 1932).Google Scholar
- Walter, H. (2001). Neurophilosophy of free will: from libertarian illusions to a concept of natural autonomy. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar