Quantum Physics & Free Will - Bell's Theorem, Determinism, Causality, Non-Locality, Realism

29 Jan 2015 35:58 62
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What does quantum physics have to do with free will? Is causality linear? What is indeterminism? What is Bell's Theorem & why is it so important when it comes to discussing determinism and free will? What is non-locality? What is realism? Is Nature a super-deterministic conspiring machine?

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Starting with a popular argument against free will, you will be introduced to a few of the implicit assumptions hidden in this argument. From causal determinism & linear causality to realism and unique histories. Getting familiar with these concepts will help you understand the importance of Bell's theorem, its assumptions and philosophical implications, which will be covered in detail in the second part of the video.

The freedom of choice assumption is in fact one of the pillars of quantum theory. From the standard double-slit experiment to Bell's Theorem, and more recently the Conway-Kochen Free Will Theorem, the free choice of the experimenter is an axiom which is built into the foundations of quantum mechanics. Since experimental tests show that Bell's inequalities are violated, the philosophical implications are that we need to let go of one or more of the assumptions in Bell's Theorem: locality, realism or freedom of choice.

Full script available here: http://crackingthenutshell.org/quantum-physics-free-will-bell-theorem-determinism-causality-locality-realism

Summary:

- Introduction: What does quantum physics have to do with free will?

- A popular argument against free will. Assumptions: causal determinism, linear causality, realism, unique histories

- Changing our starting assumptions. Turning the argument upside down

- Questioning the validity of Science if the choices of the experimenter (the questions we ask Nature) are not free

- Isolated system? Or can we assume an intrinsic indeterminacy in Nature which allows for a branching of possibilities, from the present moment, into both the past and the future?

-Definition of free choice: a choice not uniquely (or exclusively) determined by past or external events. Definition consistent with indeterminism & partial self-determination. Rejecting certain libertarian definitions of free will which demand that we have exclusive (super-hero!) self-determination powers, not influenced by anything external / physical / etc

- Indeterminism as the failure of determinism. It states that both past and future may be undetermined (a branching of possibilities rather than a pre-determined linear chain of events). Indeterminism does not necessarily entail absence of causation nor complete randomness

- Free will as a fundamental axiom in Nature. True novelty and creativity. Nature displaying a certain degree of randomness, an intrinsic indeterminacy, allowing for the arising of new possibilities, of new information

- Quantum Physics & free will. Determinism and indeterminism. The experimenter's choice. Asking questions to Nature. How Nature responds depends entirely on our previous choice as to what questions we decided to ask

- Nature’s response correlated to our choice of question even when we set up an experiment in such a way that this dependence would be classically forbidden, according to the principle of local realism

- Origin of the "Free Choice" discussion in quantum mechanics. Einstein arguing against the completeness of quantum mechanics. Term introduced by Niels Bohr. Spooky action at a distance

- Bell's definition of free choice. He considered the experimenter’s choice to be completely free when that choice could only be correlated to variables in its causal future, but not its causal past

- Statement of Bell's theorem. Illustration. Philosophical implications. Realism, locality & freedom of choice

- Causality & non-locality. Spooky action at a distance or reality beyond space-time? Nicolas Gisin experiments. What is this spooky kind of interconnection? Non-separability (oneness). Space-time not fundamental. Causal order, linearity in time not fundamental

- Experimental confirmation of Bell's inequalities. Violation of local realism or freedom of choice

- The Super-deterministic Universe, Cosmic Conspiracy: Nature is conspiring to make our experiments consistent with the view that quantum theory is true, that the world is indeterministic, non-local & observer-dependent

- Anton Zeilinger's experimental tests. Violation of Bell's inequalities, violation of Leggett & Leggett-Garg's inequalities. Macro-realism (moon still there when nobody is looking?)

- What needs to go? Locality, realism, locality and realism or freedom of choice?

- Coming soon: Conway-Kochen Free Will Theorem, past history creation, John Archibald Wheeler, Participatory Universe, Universe as a self-excited circuit, alternatives to deterministic linear causality

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