Philosophers
Mortimer Adler Rogers Albritton Alexander of Aphrodisias Samuel Alexander William Alston Anaximander G.E.M.Anscombe Anselm Louise Antony Thomas Aquinas Aristotle David Armstrong Harald Atmanspacher Robert Audi Augustine J.L.Austin A.J.Ayer Alexander Bain Mark Balaguer Jeffrey Barrett William Barrett William Belsham Henri Bergson George Berkeley Isaiah Berlin Richard J. Bernstein Bernard Berofsky Robert Bishop Max Black Susanne Bobzien Emil du Bois-Reymond Hilary Bok Laurence BonJour George Boole Émile Boutroux Daniel Boyd F.H.Bradley C.D.Broad Michael Burke Lawrence Cahoone C.A.Campbell Joseph Keim Campbell Rudolf Carnap Carneades Nancy Cartwright Gregg Caruso Ernst Cassirer David Chalmers Roderick Chisholm Chrysippus Cicero Randolph Clarke Samuel Clarke Anthony Collins Antonella Corradini Diodorus Cronus Jonathan Dancy Donald Davidson Mario De Caro Democritus Daniel Dennett Jacques Derrida René Descartes Richard Double Fred Dretske John Dupré John Earman Laura Waddell Ekstrom Epictetus Epicurus Austin Farrer Herbert Feigl Arthur Fine John Martin Fischer Frederic Fitch Owen Flanagan Luciano Floridi Philippa Foot Alfred Fouilleé Harry Frankfurt Richard L. Franklin Bas van Fraassen Michael Frede Gottlob Frege Peter Geach Edmund Gettier Carl Ginet Alvin Goldman Gorgias Nicholas St. John Green H.Paul Grice Ian Hacking Ishtiyaque Haji Stuart Hampshire W.F.R.Hardie Sam Harris William Hasker R.M.Hare Georg W.F. Hegel Martin Heidegger Heraclitus R.E.Hobart Thomas Hobbes David Hodgson Shadsworth Hodgson Baron d'Holbach Ted Honderich Pamela Huby David Hume Ferenc Huoranszki Frank Jackson William James Lord Kames Robert Kane Immanuel Kant Tomis Kapitan Walter Kaufmann Jaegwon Kim William King Hilary Kornblith Christine Korsgaard Saul Kripke Thomas Kuhn Andrea Lavazza Christoph Lehner Keith Lehrer Gottfried Leibniz Jules Lequyer Leucippus Michael Levin Joseph Levine George Henry Lewes C.I.Lewis David Lewis Peter Lipton C. Lloyd Morgan John Locke Michael Lockwood Arthur O. Lovejoy E. Jonathan Lowe John R. Lucas Lucretius Alasdair MacIntyre Ruth Barcan Marcus Tim Maudlin James Martineau Nicholas Maxwell Storrs McCall Hugh McCann Colin McGinn Michael McKenna Brian McLaughlin John McTaggart Paul E. Meehl Uwe Meixner Alfred Mele Trenton Merricks John Stuart Mill Dickinson Miller G.E.Moore Thomas Nagel Otto Neurath Friedrich Nietzsche John Norton P.H.Nowell-Smith Robert Nozick William of Ockham Timothy O'Connor Parmenides David F. Pears Charles Sanders Peirce Derk Pereboom Steven Pinker Plato Karl Popper Porphyry Huw Price H.A.Prichard Protagoras Hilary Putnam Willard van Orman Quine Frank Ramsey Ayn Rand Michael Rea Thomas Reid Charles Renouvier Nicholas Rescher C.W.Rietdijk Richard Rorty Josiah Royce Bertrand Russell Paul Russell Gilbert Ryle Jean-Paul Sartre Kenneth Sayre T.M.Scanlon Moritz Schlick Arthur Schopenhauer John Searle Wilfrid Sellars Alan Sidelle Ted Sider Henry Sidgwick Walter Sinnott-Armstrong J.J.C.Smart Saul Smilansky Michael Smith Baruch Spinoza L. Susan Stebbing Isabelle Stengers George F. Stout Galen Strawson Peter Strawson Eleonore Stump Francisco Suárez Richard Taylor Kevin Timpe Mark Twain Peter Unger Peter van Inwagen Manuel Vargas John Venn Kadri Vihvelin Voltaire G.H. von Wright David Foster Wallace R. Jay Wallace W.G.Ward Ted Warfield Roy Weatherford C.F. von Weizsäcker William Whewell Alfred North Whitehead David Widerker David Wiggins Bernard Williams Timothy Williamson Ludwig Wittgenstein Susan Wolf Scientists David Albert Michael Arbib Walter Baade Bernard Baars Jeffrey Bada Leslie Ballentine Marcello Barbieri Gregory Bateson Horace Barlow John S. Bell Mara Beller Charles Bennett Ludwig von Bertalanffy Susan Blackmore Margaret Boden David Bohm Niels Bohr Ludwig Boltzmann Emile Borel Max Born Satyendra Nath Bose Walther Bothe Jean Bricmont Hans Briegel Leon Brillouin Stephen Brush Henry Thomas Buckle S. H. Burbury Melvin Calvin Donald Campbell Sadi Carnot Anthony Cashmore Eric Chaisson Gregory Chaitin Jean-Pierre Changeux Rudolf Clausius Arthur Holly Compton John Conway Jerry Coyne John Cramer Francis Crick E. P. Culverwell Antonio Damasio Olivier Darrigol Charles Darwin Richard Dawkins Terrence Deacon Lüder Deecke Richard Dedekind Louis de Broglie Stanislas Dehaene Max Delbrück Abraham de Moivre Bernard d'Espagnat Paul Dirac Hans Driesch John Eccles Arthur Stanley Eddington Gerald Edelman Paul Ehrenfest Manfred Eigen Albert Einstein George F. R. Ellis Hugh Everett, III Franz Exner Richard Feynman R. A. Fisher David Foster Joseph Fourier Philipp Frank Steven Frautschi Edward Fredkin Benjamin Gal-Or Howard Gardner Lila Gatlin Michael Gazzaniga Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen GianCarlo Ghirardi J. Willard Gibbs James J. Gibson Nicolas Gisin Paul Glimcher Thomas Gold A. O. Gomes Brian Goodwin Joshua Greene Dirk ter Haar Jacques Hadamard Mark Hadley Patrick Haggard J. B. S. Haldane Stuart Hameroff Augustin Hamon Sam Harris Ralph Hartley Hyman Hartman Jeff Hawkins John-Dylan Haynes Donald Hebb Martin Heisenberg Werner Heisenberg John Herschel Basil Hiley Art Hobson Jesper Hoffmeyer Don Howard John H. Jackson William Stanley Jevons Roman Jakobson E. T. Jaynes Pascual Jordan Eric Kandel Ruth E. Kastner Stuart Kauffman Martin J. Klein William R. Klemm Christof Koch Simon Kochen Hans Kornhuber Stephen Kosslyn Daniel Koshland Ladislav Kovàč Leopold Kronecker Rolf Landauer Alfred Landé Pierre-Simon Laplace Karl Lashley David Layzer Joseph LeDoux Gerald Lettvin Gilbert Lewis Benjamin Libet David Lindley Seth Lloyd Hendrik Lorentz Werner Loewenstein Josef Loschmidt Ernst Mach Donald MacKay Henry Margenau Owen Maroney David Marr Humberto Maturana James Clerk Maxwell Ernst Mayr John McCarthy Warren McCulloch N. David Mermin George Miller Stanley Miller Ulrich Mohrhoff Jacques Monod Vernon Mountcastle Emmy Noether Donald Norman Alexander Oparin Abraham Pais Howard Pattee Wolfgang Pauli Massimo Pauri Wilder Penfield Roger Penrose Steven Pinker Colin Pittendrigh Walter Pitts Max Planck Susan Pockett Henri Poincaré Daniel Pollen Ilya Prigogine Hans Primas Zenon Pylyshyn Henry Quastler Adolphe Quételet Pasco Rakic Nicolas Rashevsky Lord Rayleigh Frederick Reif Jürgen Renn Giacomo Rizzolati Emil Roduner Juan Roederer Jerome Rothstein David Ruelle David Rumelhart Tilman Sauer Ferdinand de Saussure Jürgen Schmidhuber Erwin Schrödinger Aaron Schurger Sebastian Seung Thomas Sebeok Franco Selleri Claude Shannon Charles Sherrington David Shiang Abner Shimony Herbert Simon Dean Keith Simonton Edmund Sinnott B. F. Skinner Lee Smolin Ray Solomonoff Roger Sperry John Stachel Henry Stapp Tom Stonier Antoine Suarez Leo Szilard Max Tegmark Teilhard de Chardin Libb Thims William Thomson (Kelvin) Richard Tolman Giulio Tononi Peter Tse Alan Turing Francisco Varela Vlatko Vedral Mikhail Volkenstein Heinz von Foerster Richard von Mises John von Neumann Jakob von Uexküll C. S. Unnikrishnan C. H. Waddington John B. Watson Daniel Wegner Steven Weinberg Paul A. Weiss Herman Weyl John Wheeler Wilhelm Wien Norbert Wiener Eugene Wigner E. O. Wilson Günther Witzany Stephen Wolfram H. Dieter Zeh Semir Zeki Ernst Zermelo Wojciech Zurek Konrad Zuse Fritz Zwicky Presentations Biosemiotics Free Will Mental Causation James Symposium |
John von Neumann
In his 1932 Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics (in German, English edition 1955) John von Neumann explained that two fundamentally different processes are going on in quantum mechanics (in a temporal sequence for a given particle - not at the same time).
Von Neumann claimed there is another major difference between these two processes. Process 1 is thermodynamically irreversible. Process 2 is reversible. This confirms the fundamental connection between quantum mechanics and thermodynamics that is explainable by information physics and the information interpretation of quantum mechanics. Information physics establishes that process 1 may create information. It is always involved when information is created. Process 2 is deterministic and information preserving or conserving. The first of these processes has come to be called the collapse of the wave function. It gave rise to the so-called problem of measurement, because its randomness prevents it from being a part of the deterministic mathematics of process 2.
Information physics has solved the problem of measurement by identifying the moment and place of the collapse of the wave function with the creation of an observable information structure. There are interactions which create collapses but do not create stable information structures. These can never be the basis of measurements. The presence of a conscious observer is not necessary. It is enough that the new information created is observable, should a human observer try to look at it in the future. Information physics is thus subtly involved in the question of what humans can know (epistemology). We must quote Von Neumann, where he relates irreversibility and reversibility to the time directions future and past. He wrote... The two interventions 1. and 2. are fundamentally different from one another. That both are formally unique, i.e., causal is unimportant; indeed, since we are working in terms of the statistical properties of mixtures, it is not surprising that each change, even if it is statistical, effects a causal change of the probabilities and the expectation values. Indeed, it is precisely for this reason that one introduces statistical ensembles and probabilities! On the other hand, it is important that 2. does not increase the statistical uncertainty existing in U, but that 1. does: 2. transforms states into states
The Schnitt
von Neumann described the collapse of the wave function as requiring a "cut" (Schnitt in German) between the microscopic quantum system and the observer. He said it did not matter where this cut was placed, because the mathematics would produce the same experimental results. There has been a lot of controversy and confusion about this cut. Eugene Wigner placed it outside a room which includes the measuring apparatus and an observer A, and just before observer B makes a measurement of the physical state of the room, which is imagined to evolve deterministically according to process 2 and the Schrödinger equation. The case of Schrödinger's Cat is thought to present a similar paradoxical problem. von Neumann contributed a lot to this confusion in his discussion of subjective perceptions and "psycho-physical parallelism," which was encouraged by Neils Bohr. Bohr interpreted his "complementarity principle" as explaining the difference between subjectivity and objectivity (as well as several other dualisms). Von Neumann wrote: The difference between these two processes is a very fundamental one: aside from the different behaviors in regard to the principle of causality, they are also different in that the former is (thermodynamically) reversible, while the latter is not. Information physics places the cut or boundary at the place and time of information creation. It is only after information is created that an observer could make an observation. Beforehand, there is no information to be observed. We can adapt John Bell's illustration of the cut, which Bell called the "shifty split," to show the moment of new information creation.
Information creation occurs as a result of the interaction between the microscopic system and the measuring apparatus. It was a severe case of anthropomorphism to think it required the consciousness of an observer for the wave function to collapse. The collapse of a wave function and information creation has been going on in the universe for billions of years before human consciousness emerged.
Statistical Regularities and Underlying Determinism
Adolphe Quetelet saw social statistics as implying underlying deterministic laws. Of course, most mathematicians (cf. De Moivre, Laplace) had believed that chance was merely epistemic, the result of human ignorance.
In 1936, Von Neumann attempted to demonstrate that statistical laws could not be reduced to an underlying determinism by the introduction of "hidden variables." His theorem was not convincing to many outside science, especially philosophers of science who have continued to pursue "hidden variable" interpretations of quantum mechanics . For Teachers
For Scholars
Normal | Teacher | Scholar |