Pan(proto)psychism and the Relative-State Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics


This paper connects the hard problem of consciousness to the interpretation of quantum mechanics. It shows that constitutive Russellian pan(proto)psychism (CRP) is compatible with Everett’s relative-state (RS) interpretation. Despite targeting different problems, CRP and RS are related, for they both establish symmetry between micro- and macrosystems, and both call for a deflationary account of Subject. The paper starts from formal arguments that demonstrate the incompatibility of CRP with alternative interpretations of quantum mechanics, followed by showing that RS entails Russellian pan(proto)psychism. Therefore, CRP and RS are mutually supportive. It then provides a unified ontological picture by combining CRP and RS. The challenge faced by CRP, the combination problem, can be resolved by adopting a RS version of quantum mechanics. Technically, this is achieved by a co-consciousness relation capable of explaining the difference between first-person and third-person perspectives. The hierarchical structure of the relation removes any concern on the structural mismatch between the physical and the phenomenal.

Author's Profile

Yu Feng
University of New South Wales (PhD)


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