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» Mind and Agency in the Foundations of Quantum Physics

When: May 31 - June 3, 2022

In contrast to classical physics, quantum physics attributes special significance to the act of “measurement”. This has led to decades of discussions in the foundations of quantum theory. Our workshop brings together scientists and philosophers who see value in exploring whether this hints at the relevance of the first person in physics – the entity that performs the measurement. We will discuss information-theoretic, mathematical, and philosophical arguments that aim at evaluating the potential relation between quantum physics and the first person.

For example, does consciousness play a crucial role in quantum physics, as von Neumann and Wigner claimed decades ago and is this testable? Or are quantum states best interpreted as agent’s subjective degrees of belief about future experiences, as QBism asserts? Or does quantum theory hint at an ontology that is more akin to an idealist worldview? And what should we make of thought experiments involving observers and quantum mechanics, such as Wigner’s friend or Bell experiments with human choices?

Our participants and organizers have very different opinions on these questions, and our workshop will make these views collide head-on, in lively but respectful discussions. We hope to find some common ground and initiate discussions across fields that have so far remained separate.

We are looking forward to welcoming you to Chapman!

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Keck Center for Science and Engineering

Keck Center for Science & Engineering

The Keck Center is the home of Schmid College and where our students and faculty conduct research using cutting-edge instrumentation and facilities.