Quantum Theory and Human Perception of the Macro-World

Por • 21 mar, 2014 • Sección: Filosofía

Diederik Aerts

Abstract: We investigate the question of ‘why customary macroscopic entities appear to us humans as they do, i.e. as bounded entities occupying space and persisting through time’, starting from our knowledge of quantum theory, how it affects the behavior of such customary macroscopic entities, and how it influences our perception of them. For this purpose, we approach the question from three perspectives. Firstly, we look at the situation from the standard quantum angle, more specifically the de Broglie wavelength analysis of the behavior of macroscopic entities, indicate how a problem with spin and identity arises, and illustrate how both play a fundamental role in well-established experimental quantum-macroscopical phenomena, such as Bose-Einstein condensates. Secondly, we analyze how the question is influenced by our result in axiomatic quantum theory, which proves that standard quantum theory is structurally incapable of describing separated entities. Thirdly, we put forward our new ‘conceptual quantum interpretation’, including a highly detailed reformulation of the question to confront the new insights and views that arise with the foregoing analysis. At the end of the final section, a nuanced answer is given that can be summarized as follows. The specific and very classical perception of human seeing — light as a geometric theory — and human touching — only ruled by Pauli’s exclusion principle — plays a role in our perception of macroscopic entities as ontologically stable entities in space. To ascertain quantum behavior in such macroscopic entities, we will need measuring apparatuses capable of its detection. Future experimental research will have to show if sharp quantum effects — as they occur in smaller entities — appear to be ontological aspects of customary macroscopic entities.

arXiv:1403.4307v1 [physics.hist-ph]

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