A new paper was published this month. A overview is here:

On the reality of the quantum state

The preprint on Arxiv is here:

Arxiv preprint:On the reality of the quantum state

note: they are not saying the wave function itself is physically real/tangible (something of physical substance). rather:

"The argument depends on few assumptions. One is that a
system has a real physical state --  not necessarily completely
described by quantum theory, but objective and
independent of the observer."

The wave function is still thought of as an object in a phase space.

anyway, I wanted to make people aware of this paper.

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The interview is very timely. It is nice to see it!

His point of wasted time by the theoreticians is kinda true. String theory has not done much since the 70's (when it first came out.. all (+/-) 28 dimensions at that time).

The ongoing experiments w.r.t. realism have basically ruled-out concepts that rely on local-realism. The world just won't behave that way (locally). (40 years of experiments etc).

"determined" Determinists usually have to fall back onto the Ontic intrepretations/theories. 

Thanks Anand!

Thanks, Capt., for the interview with Dr. Carlo Rovelli. It is interesting and timely, but I had to skim most of it as it was geared toward science specialists like you and John.

I would disagree, though, with his statement that "science is the most reliable way of thinking." I would say it is the most reliable way of thinking in certain areas of life, not in all, like the arts, humanities and spirituality. The power of intuition is needed there, though intuition is certainly also involved with the best Scientists themselves. Einstein, among others, said that "intuition is the most important thing." And we'd all agree he was no slough in the abstract thinking department.

One of the things that the physicist I quoted, Dr. Roger S. Jones, points out is that science, physics in particular, is very useful and valuable and can solve many problems, but was not meant to solve everything, which we often forget.

It's sort of like trying to solve your love life problems by reading a book on physics or trying to apply physics principles to a mechanical problem by reading a book on how to bring more romance into your life. It's absurdly incongruent both ways.

In the last three paragraphs Dr. Rovelli speaks to the general reader and makes some excellent points. He calls for more understanding between science and the arts and humanities.(Unfortunately, he leaves out the spiritual arena, earlier making the common mistake of equating it with dogmatic religions).

I do disagree with him that the lack of dialogue and understanding is mostly due to the arts and humanities site. Dr. Jones, in 1994, saw the problem being on the side of closed minded science. It is a two way street and I personally see too many vocal scientists(not all) publicly close the door to the arts, humanities and spiritual realms. Fortunately, there are an increasing number of conferences worldwide each year dedicated to genuine dialogues, some titled "Spirit and Science," "Esoteric Traditions and Science," and so forth. Let us hope these pick up.

But, Dr. Rovelli's last sentence is something I wholeheartedly endorse and a great way to end the interview:

"I say it here...restricting our vision of reality today on just the core content of science or the core content of humanities is just being blind to the complexity of reality that we can grasp from a number of points of view, which talk to one another enormously, and which I believe can teach one another enormously."


However, one major thread is the interconnectedness between Science and Philosophy. They interact. Especially in this day and age. It also necessarily interacts with Theosophy as a Religious Philosophy (our site's definition).

As I mentioned previously, the non-local effects in Nature make the Local-reality paradigm rather difficult to believe. Most scientists would accept that. Every experiment that challenged that view has failed to produce the local-reality supported results.

Back to Dr. Amit Goswami...

There is no definition of consciousness that is agreed upon in physics. In fact, physicists can't agree on a definition of information, and also the interpretation of QM. To force the term into a definition of material reality is premature. I do not see philosophy doing this either. ??

You say it is commonly done, however I am having a hard time finding it expressed that way. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy IEP and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy SEP   do not do it that way. Materialism is usually covered in Ontology which does not inherently have consciousness as a universal. I am asking for some guidance here. Many people do not even believe in free will. Free Will is seen to violate the Materialism/Reality foundations.

I was hoping this thread was winding down and close to a cordial end.

At any rate, I'm aware there is no agreed upon definition of consciousness in mainstream physics. Many continue to work on it. Since, in my view and others, consciousness is infinite, it will never be fully described by science or philosophy.

Many organizations, private and out of public institutions, are studying consciousness. To name just one, it's at the University of Arizona in Tucson (the hometown, as it were, of this site where Joe lives) called "The Center for Consciousness Studies" with interdisciplinary scientists involved.

As for Dr. Goswami's definition of materialism not being common, I'm startled you are having a hard time find that verified. In numerous articles and debates on the internet between materialist s and Idealists I've encountered in the last years,  that definition is used(though maybe not in those exact words) and no one has objected to it.

I can't speak for Dr. Goswami, but you might find it helpful to contact him directly and with both of you being professional physicists he could explain matters far better than I can in lingo more familiar to you.


Those two sites you listed gave me a runaround when I tried to find "materialism." I then went to Wikipedia and looked up "materialism."


Here is the first paragraph:

"In philosophy, the theory of materialism holds that the only thing that exists is matter or energy; that all things are composed of material and all phenomena (including consciousness) are the result of material interactions. In other words, matter is the only substance, and reality is identical with the actually occurring states of energy and matter."

I think part of the problem you are having here is that, yes, there are many different schools of thought with the materialist camp, and the same with the Idealist camp. It can get very complex.

Wikipedia continues further down:

"Despite the large number of philosophical schools and subtle nuances between many,[2][3][4] all philosophies are said to fall into one of two primary categories, which are defined in contrast to each other: Idealism, and materialism.[a] ...To idealists, spirit or mind is primary, and created matter secondary. To materialists, matter is primary and mind or spirit is secondary, a product of matter acting upon matter.[4]"


Very much in line with how Dr. Goswami defined the terms. And, one of the references given for all this is "The Encyclopedia of Philosophy."

The issue of "Free Will" you bring up at the end is for another discussion here. I'm in no mood and too busy to get involved with it. Suffice to say, the more aware and self-aware one is, the more free of choice over one's conditioning. Thus, materialism is incomplete and mistaken.


the point is that there are questions that originally were solely metaphysics/philosophy that have now been recently overlapping with physics and can be tested. That is a new part of Science that has been started and will become even more important over time. Dr. Amit Goswami basically agrees with that, I think. To argue the definitions is not what I wanted to get into either. The two definitions you gave were hard to accept because the excluded middle is important and it seemed more like a word-trap. I doubt you intended it that way. Anyway, i appreciate your viewpoint and I actually think we agree on many of these items. We also disagree on some as well. Anyway - thanks for explaining yous ideas. They are appreciated!!

John, you're right about us agreeing on some things and not on others. It was an interesting discussion and, also, thanks for your explanations of your viewpoint. Best to you!

 Hi, friends!

..... still I don't understand... and now I'm tired and bored... and I'll be unhappier if I don't write something, so here it goes...

 I do not understand why physicists are so fond of messing with philosophical questions.... no, it's not a new issue from the last century, from the 1970's, as John wrote, it's a little older... the easiest names to recall to tell the story are Descartes and Pascal, both of them mathematicians and philosophers. Descartes proposed Maths as the ideal and method of general knowledge, including Philosophy, while Pascal wrote that "there is the spirit of maths and the finer spirit (sprit de finesse)" and that "heart has reasons that mind does not understand"....

 ... scientists and philosophers of science keep on trying to give general, total, universal extension and a kind of absolute value to their laboratory and/or mathematical work as if they did not remember the rules of induction and deduction... it would be so nice to know all without the need to study everything and talk to everyone that it is not surprising that people still don't realize that this is an impossible ideal (unless esoterical methods are applied, but these are meant to transform the mind in order to be able to understand heart reasons, and few people are willing to do so)

 .. it would be so nice to have a science where experimental results did not need an interpretation to make sense to the own mind of the scientist, so univocity was guaranteed!  

... no experiment or mathematical formula can say whether the idea of the scientist exists only within the mind of the scientist or if it exists also in the external world... some people prefer one of those two ideas and some people think that there is a relationship between the two, so the idea exists somehow both inside and outside... Kant spent his life effort in trying to clarify this question, I do not agree with him but I do respect his effort.

 ... it would be so nice to build theories, hypothesis, any kind of reasoning with no assumptions, they would be pure! ... but a line of reasoning with no assumptions is like an experiment with no laboratory... has anyone ever seen any of these? (at least some people still claim today to have seen HPB's "mahatmas"hehehe) 

... the quest for "the richest line of reasoning with the fewest assumptions" is still (and I bet it will be) open on many fields (anyone interested can read my humble contribution to it, posted here as "A philosophy summary" hehehehe), but the quest for "the richest results using the simplest devices" seems quite forgotten in this time of megalaboratories that need astronomical quantities of money to start working...  

  ... and it would be nice, and this is not an impossible issue, it's just badly needed and very, very difficult, that anyone thinking or writing was aware of his own situation and condition in every step of his thought process or in every word (or sign) of his writing (in laboratory work it would mean awareness of all the machines that have been needed to reach this "new and better" one that we use today and, most important, awareness of their effects) ...then, we'd realize that any position has its reasons behind it and that there are no reasons to compete, that competiton is a misunderstanding. Any honest position means awareness of its relativity. It IS so simple. Why is it so easy to forget? 

hi -
we can probably solve this issue pretty quick.
Question: Do you think that "Bell's Theorem" has anything useful to say about any branch of Philosophy??

If the answer is no, then we have nothing to discuss; i.e. We get to go our separate ways.

 Yes, you can try to explain what is "Bell's Therorem" in simple words, and then I may be able to relate it with some philosophical idea.

 But, honestly, I don't think you will do. You have not done it before, in QM and in other questions. 

ok. To get the idea across, I'll try an example of what happens in entanglement (concrete).

I'll make a table of possibilities between experiments, one with no entanglement and the other with entanglement. The entanglement effect will be easy to see. Maybe set it up as coupled versus uncoupled coins. Hmmm.

I had gotten the idea that many had seen these discussed before. So, if people knew about these items,  made their mind up already, then further discussion seemed rather silly.

This is only meant to get the idea across.



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