Panpsychism? Oh, you know, everything is conscious. Theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder author of Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray, who can be counted on to be honest, tells us, “I know that physicists have a reputation of being narrow-minded. But the reason we have this reputation is that we tried the crazy shit long ago and just found it doesn’t work.”
Um, no. But who told Hossenfelder that things should “work”? Not just sound deep? Okay, okay, let’s let her go on:
Now, if you want a particle to be conscious, your minimum expectation should be that the particle can change. It’s hard to have an inner life with only one thought. But if electrons could have thoughts, we’d long have seen this in particle collisions because it would change the number of particles produced in collisions.
The only element of physics that might work here, she thinks, would be a claim that the conscious state is so strongly bound within the particles that it has not been possible to discover them. But then,
With the third option [strongly bound particles] it is indeed possible to add internal states to elementary particles. But if your goal is to give consciousness to those particles so that we can inherit it from them, strongly bound composites do not help you. They do not help you exactly because you have hidden this consciousness so that it needs a lot of energy to access. This then means, of course, that you cannot use it at lower energies, like the ones typical for soft and wet thinking apparatuses like human brains. Sabine Hossenfelder, “Electrons don’t think” at BackRe(Action)
It’s the basic problem of the coffee mug. If naturalism (nature is all there is), often called “materialism,” is true, either you and the mug are both conscious or neither of you is. The comments at BackRe(Action) illustrate the difficulty many have
Overall, Hossenfelder is only just beginning to think about this problem so she underestimates the depth of the dilemma.
See also: From Scientific American: “we may all be alters—dissociated personalities— of universal consciousness.”
Panpsychism: You are conscious but so is your coffee mug
Will the Large Hadron Collider doom particle physics? They’ll find the money to continue. Consider: The Standard Model begins with the hated Big Bang. Nothing that supports string theory, eternal cosmic inflation, or a multiverse has been found. Don’t many people just have to keep looking and keep quiet about what they find that wasn’t what they hoped for?
(A response to Hossenfelder:) Experimental physicist: Particle theory is “in a crisis” and a bigger collider IS the answer! So we should do it because we can, not because we really expect to learn very much? It may be that Dorigo is just not a good spokesperson for his position; he spends a good deal of time attacking Hossenfelder and her book. Anyway, somehow, naturalism (nature is all there is) isn’t providing the hoped-for return on investments.
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