PDF | 45+ minutes read | Jack A. Tuszynski and others published The Emerging Physics of Consciousness. Consciousness is one of the major unsolved problems in science. The Emerging Physics of Consciousness . Download Table of contents PDF ( KB). Jack A. Tuszynski (Ed.) THE EMERGING PHYSICS OF CONSCIOUSNESS With Figures and 10 Tables *£_} Springer Contents 1 The Path Ahead Jack A.

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The Thermodynamic. Machinery of Life. By M. Kurzynski. The Emerging Physics of Consciousness. Edited by J. A. Tuszynski. Weak Links. Stabilizers of Complex . The Emerging Physics of Consciousness (The Frontiers Collection): Medicine & Health Science Books @ The Emerging Physics of Consciousness. Category: Philosophy. pdf download: PDF icon [Jack_A._Tuszynski] IF THE.

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The Emerging Physics of Consciousness

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Quantum Protection Scheme

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Instead, the wiring pattern redundantly obeys a few general principles focused on high resolution rather than crossmodal integration. We discuss the potential problems of quantum computing, such as decoherence, and also present counterarguments, as well as recent empirical results consistent with the notion that quantum computing in the interiors of neurons, in particular, within the interiors of dendrites may indeed be possible.

How do the elemental feelings and sensations making up conscious experience arise from the concerted actions of nerve cells and their associated subcellular, synaptic and molecular processes? How can this seemingly intractable problem possibly be investigated experimentally and what kind of theory is appropriate? This multiauthor book seeks answers to these questions within a range of physically based frameworks.

In other words, the underlying assumption is that consciousness should be understood using the combined intellectual potential of modern physics and the life sciences.

We have gathered contributions from a number of scientists representing a spectrum of disciplines taking 2 Jack A. Tuszynski and Nancy Woolf a biophysics-based approach to consciousness.

Thus, we have attempted to provide the reader with a broad range of vantage points to choose from. There are a number of theories of consciousness in existence, some of which are based on classical physics while others require the use of quantum concepts. Quantum theory has invoked new perspectives of consciousness almost since its inception. Neuroscientists widely accept that cognition, and possibly consciousness, are correlated with the physiological behavior of the material brain for example, membrane depolarizations and action potentials.

Quantum theory is the most fundamental theory of matter known thus far; as such, it appears likely that quantum theory can help us to unravel the mysteries of consciousness. Therefore, a general introduction into quantum phenomena needs to be presented in this context to better understand detailed discussions presented in the chapters that follow.

The status quo or the currently accepted view is that the substrate of consciousness emerges as a property of an ever-increasing computational complexity among neurons. This framework envisions neurons and synapses as the fundamental units of information processing hardware in the brain, acting much like chips manipulating information bits in a computer. While this appears to be the currently accepted approach to explaining consciousness, it may fall short, especially in cases where the apparent randomness of neural processing is represented simply as white noise.

The brain contains both electrical and chemical synapses, named according to the type of signal they transmit [30]. Although relatively sparse in the brain, electrical synapses, which are also called gap junctions, literally connect the cytoplasm of the presynaptic neuron with that of the 1 The Path Ahead 3 postsynaptic cell.

The Emerging Physics of Consciousness

Although gap junctions conduct electrical impluses according to the laws of classical physics, these structures may be important for transmitting quantum states from neuron to neuron [73]. Chemical transmission is the much more prevalent type in the mammalian brain, but also operates much more slowly than electrical transmission.

In chemical transmission there is release of a chemical neurotransmitter, such as glutamate or acetylcholine. Neurotransmitters are sequestered in presynaptic vesicles, which bind docking proteins that cause the vesicles to fuse with the presynaptic membrane and then release their contents. This results in the opening or closing of ion channels or in the initiation of signal-transduction cascade, some of which act on the cytoskeleton. Although these steps operate according to classical physics, quantum processes can come into play.

As will be detailed later, a physical model developed by Beck and Eccles [6] proposes that quantum tunneling among vesicles occurs, which in turn regulates quantal neurotransmitter release and subsequently determines the state of consciousness. In an approach based solely on classical physics, Flohr [14, 15] suggests chemical synapses using NMDA receptors are critical to perception and consciousness because NMDA receptors are involved in developmental plasticity and learning.

That anesthetic agents block NMDA receptors and consequently lead to a loss of consciousness supports his theory to some extent. Nonetheless, not all synapses possess NMDA receptors.

In contrast, the neuronal cytoskeleton is the most ubiquitous and basic cellular protein thus far proposed for quantum processes in consciousness. Microtubules are essential for axoplasmic transport, signaling and neuronal plasticity, among other key cellular processes within neurons. A growing number of researchers are focusing their attention on the biophysics of the cytoskeleton in order to better understand its role in neurophysiology and consciousness.

Another reason to look beyond classical models is that currently accepted models for consciousness are unable to properly explain the rather primitive consciousness in single-celled organisms.

Single-celled organisms, such as the paramecium, have no neurons or synapses, but still exhibit protoconsciousness, an apparent awareness of and responsiveness to their environment [22].

One can conclude from this that the rudiments of consciousness lie someplace other than the complex interactions between neurons and synapses, although the latter are certain to contribute to the richness of sensory experience and the resulting behavioral repertoire. In many respects, the cytoskeleton can be viewed as the control center of the cell.

Microtubules control cell division and cell migration i. Microtubules also provide an ideal bridge between classical and quantum processing; moreover, these 4 Jack A. The interior milieu of tubulin can be likened to a caged qubit, capable of quantum computation, linked into a long polymer chain responsible for transmitting classical information.

According to this model, preconscious thought and experience exists in terms of multiple quantum states, and the conscious experience is realized when one of the many possible states prevails. The quantum world is the microworld of elementary particles, which are the fundamental building blocks of matter. The brain is made up of physical matter like all other living and nonliving systems. The ultimate pursuit for brain science is to give an explanation of how matter that comprises the physical structure of the brain gives rise to its functions, in particular higher cognition and consciousness.

That the brain does give rise to consciousness is a key assumption of modern neuroscience and we will take it as a given, otherwise we would be compelled to seek these answers in the realm of religion or metaphysics. A search for that link has occupied numerous philosophers and scientists for at least two millennia [29]. In recent years some scientists have begun to probe the brain at the quantum level of physical description, facing considerable opposition from the traditionally inclined academics in both physics and neuroscience.

Because quantum systems are described mathematically by a quantum wave function, and because quantum systems switch states they occupy very rapidly, the transition from quantum to classical states is often termed wave-function collapse or sometimes state reduction. A number of experiments in the early 20th century demonstrated that quantum superpositions persisted until they were observed or measured by an experimentalist observer.

If a machine measured a quantum system, the results appeared to remain in superposition within the machine until actually viewed by experimenters. Therefore, the prevalent view in physics at that time expressed within the famous Copenhagen interpretation was that conscious observation led to a collapse of the wave function. In 1 The Path Ahead 5 this example, a cat is placed in a box with a vial of poison. Outside the box, a quantum event e. Since the photon is a quantum object in a superposition state, it both passes and does not pass through the mirror.

Hence the poison is both triggered and not triggered. Therefore, by quantum logic, the cat must be both dead and alive until the box is opened and the cat observed. Analogous to quantum logic, superposition of mental events is commonplace, further suggesting that the mind is a quantum system. Cognitively, we are simultaneously prepared for the cat being alive and prepared for the cat being dead until we open the box.

At the moment the box is opened, the system chooses either to reveal a dead cat or a live cat. Therefore, consciousness essentially selects reality.

One suggestion, called the multiple-worlds hypothesis, was put forward by Hugh Everett [13] and it holds that each collapse event is a branching of reality into parallel manifolds, so for example, a dead cat in this universe corresponds to a live cat in a newly formed parallel universe. These latter ones are called objective reduction OR theories. As we will see, this ultimate possibility will have important implications for the nature of consciousness.

Lastly, we note that the slow collapse condition is also available in the many-worlds theory and de Broglie-Bohm theory Gao For these two theories, the collapse time will be replaced by the decoherence time.

First, since a conscious being is able to be conscious of its own state, he can always be taken as a closed self-measuring system in theory. Therefore, the slow collapse condition can be more readily satisfied in these theories when a conscious system has only a very weak interaction with environment.

By comparison, in most dynamical collapse theories, the superposition state of a closed system also collapses by itself. Secondly, a conscious system e. As a result, the decoherence time is usually much shorter than the collapse time, and the slow collapse condition will be less readily satisfied in many-worlds theory and de Broglie-Bohm theory than in the dynamical collapse theories. This difference can be used to test these different quantum theories.

Implications Consciousness is the most familiar phenomenon. Yet it is also the hardest to explain. The relationship between objective physical process and subjective conscious experience presents a well-known hard problem for science Chalmers It retriggers the recent debate about the long-standing dilemma of panpsychism versus emergentism Strawson et al ; Seager and Allen-Hermanson Though emergentism is currently the most popular solution to the hard problem of consciousness, many doubt that it can bridge the explanation gap ultimately.

By comparison, panpsychism may provide an attractive and promising way to solve the hard problem, though it also encounters some serious problems Seager and Allen-Hermanson It is widely believed that the physical world is causally closed, i. McGinn But if panpsychism is true, the fundamental consciousness property should take part in the causal chains of the physical world and should present itself in our investigation of the physical world. Then does consciousness have any causal efficacy in the physical world?

As we have argued above, a conscious observer can distinguish two nonorthogonal states, while the physical measuring system without consciousness cannot.

Accordingly, consciousness does have a causal efficacy in the physical world when considering the fundamental quantum processes. This will provide a strong support for panpsychism.

In fact, we can argue that if consciousness has a distinct quantum physical effect, then it cannot be emergent but be a fundamental property of substance.

Here is the argument. If consciousness is emergent, then the conscious beings should also follow the fundamental physical principles such as the principle of energy conservation etc, though they may have some distinct high-level functions.

According to the principles of quantum mechanics, two nonorthogonal states cannot be distinguished. However, a conscious being can distinguish the nonorthogonal states in principle.

This clearly indicates that consciousness violates the quantum principles, which are the most fundamental physical principles. Therefore, the consciousness property cannot be reducible or emergent but be a fundamental property of substance. It should be not only possessed by the conscious beings, but also possessed by atoms as well as physical measuring devices.

The difference only lies in the conscious content. The conscious content of a human being can be very complex, while the conscious content of a physical measuring device is probably very simple. In order to distinguish two nonorthogonal states, the conscious content of a measuring system must at least contain the perceptions of the nonorthogonal states.

It might be also possible that the conscious content of a physical measuring device can be complex enough to distinguish two nonorthogonal states, but the effect is too weak to be detected by present experiments. On the other hand, if consciousness is a fundamental property of substance, then it is quite natural that it violates the existing fundamental physical principles, which do not include it at all. It is expected that a complete theory of nature must describe all properties of substance, thus consciousness, the new fundamental property, must enter the theory from the start.

Since the distinguishability of nonorthogonal states violates the linear superposition principle, consciousness will introduce a nonlinear element to the complete evolution equation of the wave function. The nonlinearity is not stochastic but definite.

It has been argued that the nonlinear quantum evolution introduced by consciousness has no usual problems of nonlinear quantum mechanics Gao b. Lastly, it should be noted that the above argument for panpsychism depends on the assumption that the wavefunction collapse or the quantum-to-classical transition in general is an objective physical process.

However, the conclusion is actually independent of the origin of the wavefunction collapse. If the wavefunction collapse results from the consciousness of observer, then consciousness will also have the distinct quantum effect of collapsing the wave function, and thus consciousness should be a fundamental property of substance too. In addition, we stress that this conclusion is also independent of the interpretations of quantum mechanics. It only depends on two firm facts: one is the existence of indefinite quantum superpositions, and the other is the existence of definite conscious perceptions.

Conclusions It is widely thought that the quantum-to-classical transition and consciousness are two essentially independent processes. But this does not mean that the result of their combination must be plain. In this article, we have shown that a conscious being can have a distinct quantum physical effect during the quantum-to-classical transition.

A conscious system can measure whether he is in a definite perception state or in a quantum superposition of definite perception states, while a system without consciousness cannot distinguish such nonorthogonal states. This new result may have some important implications for quantum theory and the science of consciousness. In particular, it may provide a quantum basis for panpsychism.

References Bell, J. Speakable and Unspeakable In Quantum Mechanics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bohm, D.Pregnant rats were separated into three groups: One group was given lithium-7, one group was given the isotope lithium-6, and the third served as the control group. Gribbin A most conspicuous In the beginning author in quantum physics, defends soft panpsychism S. Outside the box, a quantum event e. Ultimately, panpsychism is grounded in, or is supported by, quantum entanglement.

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The quantum hologram and the nature of consciousness. Is human information processing conscious?