Mind–Body Interaction and Modern Physics

Foundations of Physics 51 (3):1-27 (2021)
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Abstract

The idea that mind and body are distinct entities that interact is often claimed to be incompatible with physics. The aim of this paper is to disprove this claim. To this end, we construct a broad mathematical framework that describes theories with mind–body interaction (MBI) as an extension of current physical theories. We employ histories theory, i.e., a formulation of physical theories in which a physical system is described in terms of (i) a set of propositions about possible evolutions of the system and (ii) a probability assignment to such propositions. The notion of dynamics is incorporated into the probability rule. As this formulation emphasises logical and probabilistic concepts, it is ontologically neutral. It can be used to describe mental ‘degrees of freedom’ in addition to physical ones. This results into a mathematical framework for psycho-physical interaction (ΨΦ\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{upgreek} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document}$$\Psi \Phi$$\end{document}I formalism). Interestingly, a class of ΨΦ\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{upgreek} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document}$$\Psi \Phi$$\end{document}I theories turns out to be compatible with energy conservation.

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Charis Anastopoulos
University of Patras

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References found in this work

Facing up to the problem of consciousness.David Chalmers - 1995 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 2 (3):200-19.
Epiphenomenal qualia.Frank Jackson - 1982 - Philosophical Quarterly 32 (April):127-136.
Facing up to the problem of consciousness.D. J. Chalmers - 1996 - Toward a Science of Consciousness:5-28.
Epiphenomenal Qualia.Frank Jackson - 1982 - In John Heil (ed.), Philosophy of Mind: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press.

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