Phenoscience Laboratories researches the role of the scientific observer and seeks definitions of agent consciousness in particular. This includes conceptual work on the nature of agency, free will, intelligence, and consciousness, in the context of quantum physics and of science as-a-whole (Walleczek, 2019; Walleczek, 2016; Walleczek and Grössing, 2016). A central question regarding agent consciousness is the following: How does consciousness structure the scientific experience of reality? Or is the structure of reality entirely independent of consciousness or free will? In a new development for the Emergent Quantum Mechanics (EmQM) symposium series, an entire day was devoted to discussing possible links, if there are any, between consciousness and the quantum; hence, the title of the EmQM17 symposium at the University of London on October 26-28, 2017 (EmQM17): „Towards Ontology of Quantum Mechanics and the Conscious Agent“.

Agency, Free Will, Consciousness, and the Nature of Reality

Walleczek, J. (2019) Agent Inaccessibility as a Fundamental Principle in Quantum Mechanics: Objective Unpredictability and Formal Uncomputability. Entropy 21, 4. Read more

Synopsis: The inaccessibility to the experimenter agent of the complete quantum state is well-known. However, decisive answers are still missing for the following question: What underpins and governs the physics of agent inaccessibility? Specifically, how does nature prevent the agent from accessing, predicting, and controlling, individual quantum measurement outcomes? The orthodox interpretation of quantum mechanics employs the metaphysical assumption of indeterminism—‘intrinsic randomness’—as an axiomatic, in-principle limit on agent–quantum access. By contrast, ontological and deterministic interpretations of quantum mechanics typically adopt an operational, in-practice limit on agent access and knowledge—‘effective ignorance’. The present work considers a third option—‘objective ignorance’: an in-principle limit for ontological quantum mechanics based upon self-referential dynamics, including undecidable dynamics and dynamical chaos, employing uncomputability as a formal limit. Given a typical quantum random sequence, no formal proof is available for the truth of quantum indeterminism, whereas a formal proof for the uncomputability of the quantum random sequence—as a fundamental limit on agent access ensuring objective unpredictability—is a plausible option. This forms the basis of the present proposal for an agent-inaccessibility principle in quantum mechanics.”

Walleczek, J. (2016) The Super-indeterminism in Orthodox Quantum Mechanics Does Not Implicate the Reality of Experimenter Free Will. J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 701, 012005. Read more

Synopsis: The concept of ‘super-indeterminism’ is introduced for experimenter agents performing quantum experiments. Super-indeterminism is shown to underlie the Conway-Kochen free-will theorem. Unlike Conway and Kochen, it is argued that John S. Bell (of Bell’s nonlocality theorem), instead favored an effective free will theorem, i.e., one that is fully compatible with the rule of determinism and causality in nature. Finally, the article argues that Bell’s notion of ‘effectively free variables’ can be identified plausibly with the existence of variables in nature that are ‘universally uncomputable’, possibly as a function of self-referential system dynamics, including self-organization and deterministic chaos. Regarding the feature of ‘universal uncomputability’, the article concludes that “In principle, this essential feature of deterministic chaos, holds true for physical, chemical, biological, and even psycho-physical, systems, including in neurophysiological brain states potentially associated with the free choice performance by an experimenter agent (for an overview, e.g., Walleczek [11]).”

Walleczek, J. and Grössing, G. (2016) Nonlocal Quantum Information Transfer Without Superluminal Signalling and Communication. Found. Phys. 46, 1208–1228. Read more

Synopsis: A definition of the epistemic agent is introduced who can select measurement settings freely and at random in the performance of EPR-type nonlocal correlation experiments. Specifically, a distinction between type-1 and type-2 processes is drawn, whereby only the type-1 process entails a degree of (free-willed) control by the conscious experimenter agent. It is found that the presence of type-1 processes (e.g., Shannon signalling) is necessary for the communication of a message between two agents; however, the presence of type-2 processes (e.g., non-Shannon signalling) is entirely sufficient for (random) information transfers between any two locations in nature in the absence of meaningful communication. It is highly problematic that the orthodox view of quantum mechanics still ignores the essential differences between type-1 and type-2 processes in interpreting the non-signalling theorem. This neglect frequently leads to false conclusions regarding the (im)possibility of ontological quantum mechanics, such as of de Broglie-Bohm theory.

New Projects

Talk presented at the ‘The Science of Consciousness’ Conference (TSC 2018), Tuscon, USA, April 3, 2018. Title: The Hard Problem of Free Will and Quantum Super-Indeterminism. Jan Walleczek (Phenoscience Laboratories, Berlin).

Talk presented at the ‘The Science of Consciousness’ Conference (TSC 2017), San Diego, USA, June 6, 2017. Title: Is Free Will Compatible with the Nonlocal and Deterministic Quantum Ontology of David Bohm? Jan Walleczek (Phenoscience Laboratories, Berlin).

Talk presented at the ‘The Science of Consciousness’ Conference (TSC 2017), San Diego, USA, June 6, 2017. Title: Does the wave function refer to the (proto)phenomenal? Exploring a radical proposal based on a Bohm-type interpretation of quantum physics. Nikolaus von Stillfried (Phenoscience Laboratories, Berlin).