# Would this experiment disprove that consciousness causes collapse?

• I
Feynman said the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics was simple, "Shut up and calculate."

Mermin didn't establish if Feynman did or didn't say it. Feynman's approach was clear though. He said he didn't understand quantum mechanics, but he did know how to calculate,

vanhees71
Gold Member
So collapse is subjective?
If you insist on a collapse then the only way it could make perhaps sense is to take it as subjective, i.e., you just call to adapt your probability description by gaining knowledge through obtaining new information, but I still don's see, why you ever need a collapse. As I've shown in the quoted posting the objective state of the cat as seen by Bob is objectively defined by the preparation and time evolution of the system, no matter whether he knows that Alice is observing the cat and that this would collapse something or not. All he knows is that with 50% probability the cat is dead and with 50% it's alive.

The old argument by Schrödinger et al (btw if there's anyone of the founding fathers really describing their view in an understandable way then it's Schrödinger) is that you need to ensure that after a measurement a repeated measurement with certainty reproduces the just measured result. That's of course only possible if you make a preparation (based on a measurement) a la a von Neumann filter measurement, but then indeed you don't need a collapse, because everything is well explained by the local (sic!) interaction of the system with the measurement device and filter. You don't need an instantaneous action at a distance.

vanhees71
Gold Member
Mermin didn't establish if Feynman did or didn't say it. Feynman's approach was clear though. He said he didn't understand quantum mechanics, but he did know how to calculate,
Yeah! An Feynman new that in fact he knew everything relevant about quantum theory, namely how to calculate and make predictions that can be tested in the lab. If there's anyone who in fact understood QT very well then it was Feynman ;-).

atyy
If you insist on a collapse then the only way it could make perhaps sense is to take it as subjective, i.e., you just call to adapt your probability description by gaining knowledge through obtaining new information, but I still don's see, why you ever need a collapse. As I've shown in the quoted posting the objective state of the cat as seen by Bob is objectively defined by the preparation and time evolution of the system, no matter whether he knows that Alice is observing the cat and that this would collapse something or not. All he knows is that with 50% probability the cat is dead and with 50% it's alive.

The old argument by Schrödinger et al (btw if there's anyone of the founding fathers really describing their view in an understandable way then it's Schrödinger) is that you need to ensure that after a measurement a repeated measurement with certainty reproduces the just measured result. That's of course only possible if you make a preparation (based on a measurement) a la a von Neumann filter measurement, but then indeed you don't need a collapse, because everything is well explained by the local (sic!) interaction of the system with the measurement device and filter. You don't need an instantaneous action at a distance.

Good! That brings us closer to the OP question. Does subjectivity require consciousness?

"Good! That brings us closer to the OP question. Does subjectivity require consciousness?"

Since machines can make measurements and do calculations, the whole question is meaningless. Everything involved here can be done by a machine.

In fact, since physicists use diverging integrals and infinite series with a radius of convergence of zero, it is clear physicists do not use math, but computer science. All physicists are looking for is an algorithm. Mathematicians who look at what physicists do, throw up.

bob012345
Gold Member
So are you denying quantum theory applies to macroscopic objects, or ...?
Certainly in the sense that some popularizers of science present it.

No. From the answers, I gather the convincement that what happens in the apparatus only depends on how the apparatus has been prepared and what is running in. It is not influenced by human knowledge. And this is pretty fine because it confirms a realism principle about Nature. Knowledge is something occurring after physics, although biologically generated from perception, by means of electrochemical nervous pulses.

I've no clue what you want to tell me. If you believe in a collapse (which in my opinion is pretty absurd) then the presence of the 2nd observer for the external observer is (let's call them Alice and Bob for convenience) that if Bob knows that the cat is continuously watched by Alice "collapsing" the poor creature to a definite state "alive" or "dead", he'll use the stat op
$$\hat{\rho}=p_{\text{alive}} |\text{alive} \rangle \langle{\text{alive}} + p_{\text{dead}} |\text{dead} \rangle \langle \text{dead}|.$$
That's because then he knows that the cat is no longer entangled with the state of the unstable particle ("still there" vs. "decayed").

In the other case, i.e., if Alice is not present he'd use the pure state
$$\hat{\rho}_{\text{particle}+\text{cat}}=|\Psi \rangle \langle \Psi | \quad \text{with} \quad |\Psi \rangle=\frac{1}{\sqrt{2}} |\text{particle there},\text{cat alive} \rangle + |\text{particle decayed},\text{cat dead} \rangle.$$
Now the funny thing is, ignoring the particle, Bob will also assign the state
$$\hat{\rho}_{\text{cat}}'=\mathrm{Tr}_{\text{particle}} \hat{\rho}_{\text{particle}+\text{cat}} = \hat{\rho}.$$
So definitely nothing has changed for Bob. It's just different ways to describe the cat's state given the knowledge Bob has due to the knowledge about the setup of Schrödingers devilish experiment.

I am not familiar with Quantum Decoherence, but I find it difficult to treat macroscopic states like; alive and deal on the same footing as quantum states that describes position, time, momentum and energy.

Like in a recent paper published by Frauchiger and Renner, they described states like ok, fail and head, tail and then they questioned the universality of QM.

The reason I find it absurd is because normally the unitary operators allows a natural connection between the infinitesimal transformation and the Hermitian operator that represents the physical quantity. This establishes the relationship between the energy and the time, momentum and spatial translation in the same direction and the angular momentum and the rotation.

Does it require to test the universality of the QM by assigning quantum states to arbitrary mutually exclusive general traits?

Going back to the OP there is reference to the "conscious observer" in my view observation need not be conscious to effect wave function collapse or perhaps as penrose diosi suggests it could be gravitationally induced. In any case I prefer the observer as discoverer rather than initiator.