Neurobiologists believe the mind brain system is and must be classical physics. For many, at some complexity, consciousness arises. This could be correct but faces what I will call the Stalemate: Such a mind can at most witness the world but, due to the causal closure of classical physics, cannot act upon that world. Such a consciousness must be merely epiphenomenal.
Quantum biology is exploding, showing that quantum effects can and do arise at body temperature. Quantum mechanics allows a partially quantum mind to have ACAUSAL consequences for the “meat” of the brain, thus solving the Stalemate and answering the problem posed by Descartes’ Res cogitans and Res extensa: i.e. the Stalemate. Our human capacity to choose, in turn, demands that the present could have been different, thus the truth of counterfactual claims. If quantum measurement is indeterministic and real, quantum mechanics and measurement allow the present to be different. I shall discuss these issues and the newly discovered Poised Realm, hovering reversibly between quantum and “classical” behaviors, as a new basis both for the mind body system and a new class of constructable and evolvable “computers” which are not algorithmic, Trans Turing.
M.D., Theoretical Biologist, Complex Systems Researcher, The Institute for Systems Biology, Seattle Stuart Alan Kauffman is an American theoretical biologist and complex systems researcher who studies the origin of life on Earth. Kauffman graduated from Dartmouth in 1960, was awarded the BA (Hons) by Oxford University (where he was a Marshall Scholar) in 1963, and completed a medical degree (MD) at the University of California, San Francisco in 1968. After completing his residency in Emergency Medicine, he moved into developmental genetics of the fruitfly, holding appointments first at the University of Chicago, National Cancer Institute, then at the University of Pennsylvania, where he served as Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
Peter Russell in conversation with the audience at SAND18 US.
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