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Oliver Thewalt

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Consciousness, Computation and Understanding in Theoretical Physics by Maziar Esfahanian, submitted to Professor Oliver Thewalt

    Oliver Thewalt
    By Oliver Thewalt

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    Consciousness, Computation

    and Understanding in

    Theoretical Physics


    To: Professor Oliver Thewalt


    Maziar Esfahanian




    1. Philosophical choices


    Hidden unconscious or conscious philosophical choices have

    one of the most important roles in route of science, since we

    started to understanding universe and ourselves.



    However, these philosophical choices usually are not determining

    directly in the scientific papers.



    About Theoretical Physics some people prefer logical positivism,

    some other functionalism or instrumentalism or… and sometimes

    people using the combination of them.

    In my opinion behind each of these philosophical choices there

    were some pragmatic motivations that usually people forgot them

    during their research age. For instance, when physicists used the

    term of wave and particle in Quantum physics, actually they used

    some metaphorical concepts to describing some phenomena with

    some more familiar concepts to our minds and with minimum

    ontological assumptions. In fact, all of these concepts have root in

    our common cognitive abilities to understanding new things by

    assigning some older things which are more familiar to our mind.

    Even in mathematical abstraction the big part of our activities are

    related to our cognitive abilities. For instance, mathematicians are

    interested to classification of mathematical structures.

    One of the reasons is that our brain can memorize and analyzing

    things better with classifying them. Finding the more fundamental

    similarities and differences helps us to understanding things


    I think, forgetting the motivations of our philosophical choices can

    confused us about the meaning of understanding in science and

    push us so far from our initial goal in science. Let me quote from

    you [1]:

    “We are far beyond the physics the e+e- Collider can handle, while

    most work remains unpublished because it is unpaid!

    A circular electron positron Collider is not appropriate in order to

    handle a Quantum Threshold in a region of neutrality.

    Our mind is able to develop the theory by observing nature,

    performing an experimental setup by a measurement.”

    We spent lots of money to research about particle physics and

    detecting the new particles. However, we could spend a little

    money in other ways if we had other philosophical choice or at

    least didn’t forget the motivations of our philosophical choices.

    Sure, we need these Colliders, but also for understanding the

    universe and ourselves as a main goal of Theoretical physics we

    need to review our knowledge about our Mind and the meaning of

    Consciousness. After a long time, since the Quantum Physics

    started to developing, yet we have not a strong interpretation for

    this theory than can fill the conceptual gaps up and remove the

    ambiguities of fundamental concepts of this theory. For instance,

    when physicists talk about quantum states, it is not clear that what

    they are talking about, precisely. However, most of physicists

    accepted the Copenhagen Interpretation and go on without any

    doubt and review. In my opinion the root of this problem again

    come back to the philosophical choice. A combination of

    reductionism and pragmatism with support of mathematical based

    proofs is not enough to research about the Truth. I think we

    should review our knowledge about Consciousness at first and

    figure out how is the interaction of mind and matter.

    In this way even maybe we should think about our definitions

    about Mind, Matter and reality itself.


    Some scientists tried to describe Consciousness as a product of

    brain activities in Neural networks framework. In consequence of

    a rigid philosophical choice, these types of scientists are trapped

    to Determinism. Usually, Neurologist don’t know about Quantum

    Physics and its consequences about indeterminism and their

    desire to reduce our mind to the Neurons activities don’t let them

    to look at the castle that they made. Neurons are not in quantum

    scale and they are classical objects and if one just reduces our

    minds to the neurons activities so we have no Free Will and it

    means these Neurologists are doing what they should did

    according the written book of universe nothing more.

    Few scientists, such as Roger Penrose [2] tried to point out this

    fact and even Penrose introduced a new Consciousness Theory

    which is based on a quantum scales entities in our brains that are

    called Microtubules. There are some new theories about

    Consciousness more or less based on Penrose idea that

    generally known as Quantum Consciousness theories.

    Here, again we can see only few people among physicists and

    cognitive scientists paid enough attention to these theories.

    It is just an example that I talked about to describe recent

    situation of science as I understand.



    Consciousness is not awareness or intelligence, Consciousness

    related to our “I”, our first person experience about reality and ourselves.


    I think there is a strong correlation between the meaning of

    Consciousness and interpretation of Quantum Theory and the

    meaning of reality. I am not a fan of Quantum Consciousness

    Theory but I think at least this theory broke the taboo of speaking

    about Non-Neuronal base theories of Consciousness.

    My temporary philosophical choice as a researcher (or student) is

    something like Mathematical Instrumentalism.



    I think with this choice we can describe Consciousness in a

    mathematical framework that is safe enough to prevent

    ambiguities and also open enough to escape from trap of hidden

    or obvious materialistic assumptions.



    For instance of such a monistic non-materialistic theory, I want to

    point out the Conscious Agent Theory of Donald Hoffman [3].

    In Conscious Agent Theory, Hoffman tried to figure out how

    Consciousness is fundamental. It is about genuineness of

    Consciousness. He uses a metaphor from Computer

    Science to describe the universes and Consciousness in a

    unique framework with minimum of ontological assumptions



    2. Computation

    One of the bold effects of Reductionism on the theoretical

    Physics and Cognitive sciences is that some people think that

    everything is about computations. However, since Godel proved

    Gödel's incompleteness theorems, we know that for each

    arbitrary set of mathematical axioms there are some Undecidable

    statements that we can’t make a decision about their logical

    value. The stronger result proved by Alan Turing is a fact that in

    German Language its name was Entscheidungsproblem[4] and

    according what Alan proved there isn’t a general solution for

    Entscheidungsproblem and it means that even we can’t decide

    a given statement is decideable or not[4].

    In addition, most of scientists just thinking about Computation in a

    classical way, but we know that, there is a stronger kind of

    Computation that its name is Quantum Computation.

    At least, with a reductionist’s position one can try to models and

    understanding things with reduce them to Quantum Computations

    instead of classical one in Cognitive sciences.

    I think, in order to have a better understanding first of all we

    should change our point of view about meaning of some accepted

    concepts like space, Space-time and review some of our

    negative definitions like the concept of “chance” and its family



    My suggestion is to reconstruct these concepts in a special

    mathematical framework that is strong enough to figure out what

    we understood from Quantum Theory about reality and universe

    and the meaning of space, position(super position) and … .

    Also this special mathematical framework should be flexible

    enough to keep our classical tools of computation and beside of

    our new understanding indeterminism. This mathematical

    framework is called Topos Theory.



    I don’t want to talk what is the Topos theory here and how it may

    help. I just tried to show the necessity of a review to our

    understanding about Computation, fundamental concepts of

    Quantum Theory and open a new door toward study of

    Consciousness. This door is Topos Theory. Changing our point of

    view about space in this framework that has own internal non

    Boolean logic and is flexible enough to switch from one

    philosophical choice to another when we arrive to a deadlock.






    [2].Stuart Hameroff and Roger Penrose, Consciousness in Universe:A

    review of the Orch OR theory, 2013

    [3].Donald D.Hoffman and Chetan Parakash, Objects of Consciousness,


    [4].A.M Turing, On Computable Numbers with application to the

    Entscheidungproblem, 1936



    Maziar Esfahanian

    PhD student,Pure Mathematics,Università degli Studi di Torino - Dipartimento di Matematica "Giuseppe Peano"

    As you have pointed it out correctly, "topos theory" is what we are talking about in quantum physics: when we observe seeminlgy 2 or more particles or quantum states connected on a "distance" of many light years or more, locality and non-locality is what we are talking about (see also Violation of Bell's inequliaties), these are seemingly states at a long distance, but in an interpretation as speed of light as a photonic quantum threshold (no tranport through space) we are talking about dimensional topological transitions in a phase transition (in short) .. of ghost virtuals at horizons..... and as you have pointed it out correctly, this is very similar ot the "same" fundamental principle in "biology" concerning "neurons", because it is not decisive to conceptualize neurons but the phase transition within (as an energy matter transition).

    Exactly by this transition within locality and non-locality, space is spanned and starts to unfold in an n-fractal topological transition.

    Sincerely Yours

    Professor Oliver Thewalt

    Dark Matter Research Cluster