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Quantum Theory of What?. What does quantum theory describe?. What is an object?. An object is a concept. A concept is a result of separating and naming. Thus, an object is always separate from some other object, both of which have names.

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Quantum Theory of What?

What does quantum theory describe?


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What is an object?

  • An object is a concept.

  • A concept is a result of separating and naming.

  • Thus, an object is always separate from some other object, both of which have names.

  • Examples: This thought, that pain, a table, a human body, a black hole, a unicorn.


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Definition of objective reality

  • An object is said to exist objectively if two or more observers…

  • …agree on the definition of the object…

  • …agree on their observations of the object…

  • …and agree that the object exists whether or not it is being observed.

  • If so, the object is said to be objectively real by those who agree (e.g., a human body, a table, a black hole, a unicorn).

  • For those who disagree, it doesn’t exist!

  • This is existence by agreement.


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In classical physics, objects exist by wide-spread agreement

  • Classical physics describes macroscopic objects that can be perceived with the human senses.

  • Classical objects are assumed to have precise positions and velocities.

  • A classical object is assumed to exist whether or not it is being observed if two or more observers agree that it exists.

  • For those who disagree, it doesn’t exist!


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But, what does quantum theory describe?

  • That is the big question!

  • Quantum objects do not have precise positions and velocities.

  • Quantum theory predicts the probabilities of measuring specific positions or velocities in specific measurements on specific quantum objects (e.g., “atoms” observed with a scanning tunneling microscope, see next slide).


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Example: Measurements of iron “atom” position probabilities surrounding “electron” position probabilities


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In both classical and quantum physics, an interpretation is needed

  • We do not actually perceive a classical object. We perceive only sensations. It is the mind that constructs an object from the sensations. Different minds may construct different objects.

  • However, in classical physics there is wide-spread agreement on the definition of a classical object, and…

  • …if two or more observers agree on its existence, it exists for those observers.


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But what is a quantum object? needed

• Is it objectively real—i.e., does it exist whether or not it is being observed (ontological existence)?

  • Does it exist only as a belief (epistemological existence)?

  • Or does it exist only as the mathematical prediction of the probability of obtaining a specific result in a specific observation (mathematical existence)?


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Contrary to classical physics, th neededere is no agreement among quantum physicists on what a quantum object is!

• There is no wide-spread agreement on the definition of a quantum object.

• There is no wide-spread agreement on the existence of a quantum object.

• No agreement, no existence!


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Question: How does consciousness fit into all of this? needed

  • Consciousness, as pure nonphysical awareness, is assumed in one interpretation.

  • Consciousness as an emergent property of matter is assumed in other interpretations (but matter-based consciousness has no creative power!).

  • Consciousness is not assumed at all in the remaining interpretations (but how could there then be observations?).


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A problem! needed

  • In quantum theory, objective time and space form a fixed background (as context) in which everything happens.

  • In general relativity (gravity theory), objective time, space, matter, and energy depend on each other and evolve in time together (as content).

  • How to unify such disparate theories into a quantum theory of gravity?

  • One possibility: Eliminate objective time and space!


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What if Reality were spaceless and timeless? needed

  • Space is the concept of size and location.

  • Time is the concept of duration.

  • If there is no space, there is no size or location.

  • If there is no time, there is no duration.

  • What does this remind us of?

  • Nirvana, pure Awareness, satori, enlightenment!


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