We have seen remarkable progress in our detailed understanding of the physical world, from the smallest constituents of atoms to the remotest distances seen by telescopes. However, we have yet to explore the phenomenon of consciousness. Can physical things be conscious or is consciousness something else, forever outside the range of physics? And how does consciousness interact with physical things?
A lively account of quantum theory and its puzzles, Conscious Mind in the Physical World examines two developments in particular that have altered the context of discussions about consciousness. One is computer technology, which allows us to make machines that can calculate at speeds far greater than the human brain, while the other is the study of the microscopic world. The book explores philosophical issues such as idealism and free will and speculates on the relationship of consciousness to quantum mechanics. This resource will stimulate physicists with an interest in philosophy, philosophers interested in physics, and anyone fascinated about the waking state of the mind.
Introduction. Physics and the conscious mind. Consciousness. From classical physics to the standard model. Philosophical background. Experiments on conscious mind. Free will. Time. Truth. Quantum theory. What does quantum theory mean. Conscious mind and quantum physics. Conclusions. References.