Back Goldfinch looking backwards

Argument 3 Mind exists apart from matter. (Physics)

The argument from physics is an argument from authority rather than from experience and logic. Unless, perhaps, we are ourselves advanced theoretical physicists. So the persuasiveness of this argument will likely depend on how much popularization of the world of quantum-mechanics physics one has read.

With scientists in the realm of metaphysics, which seems to be the realm in which we are thinking, you can find a good one to support pretty much whatever position you wish to take on the mind-body problem. That is the weakness of the argument from physics. But it is also its strength in the sense that, after all, you can find good, solid scientists, completely conversant with all the myriad ins and outs of the latest developments in string theory or the anthropic principle, who will support your position.

A good one for my purposes is Amit Goswami, author of this standard textbook in Quantum Mechanics —

Goswami is also author of a book on metaphysics as understood by the physicist, The Self-Aware Universe: How Consciousness Creates the Material World. I should say, of course, that his book is about how some physicists understand metaphysics. He cites four others who share his views at the end of a paragraph I’ll quote shortly. It is concerned with Schrödinger’s famous paradox of the cat in the box. I will not elaborate on that paradox here. The paragraph, with my underlining:

Fortunately, an idealist resolution presents itself: Since our observation magically resolves the dichotomy of the cat, it must be us—our consciousness—that collapses the cat’s wave function. Material realists do not like this idea, because it makes consciousness an independent, causal entity; admitting that would be like putting nails in the coffin of material realism. Materialism notwithstanding, such luminaries as John von Neumann, Fritz London, Edmond Bauer, and Eugene Paul Wigner have endorsed this resolution to the paradox.

It is perhaps enough for the arguments made here in this first treatment of our topic in depth simply to throw out this paragraph and these big names in physics along with the idea that physicists themselves can and do, some of them, take the position that mind exists and is real in the strong sense of acting on matter while being distinct from it. And notice that this position is not, to them, a trivial one in the sense of only applying to a certain few cases in the world of arcane QM studies — for them, it puts “nails in the coffin of material realism.”

However, just because it’s both fun and educational for me, with time I mean to lay out in what I’ll call Appendix A to Argument 3 a detailed explication of one experiment that I find especially persuasive. It is called the Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser. Here is little bit on the topic, with links to more detail.

(Goswami, Amit (1995-03-21). The Self-Aware Universe (pp. 81-82). Tarcher. Kindle Edition. )

John von Neumann.

Fritz London.

Edmond Bauer.

Eugene Paul Wigner.

Goswani, like many, does not distinguish consciousness from mind, at least here. Since the act of observation referred to in the Schrödinger paradox is a purposeful one, not passive, I think it falls into the mind category well enough for my thinking.