All posts tagged: Simplest

QBism: The simplest interpretation of quantum physics

QBism: The simplest interpretation of quantum physics

This article is part of Adam Frank’s series on Quantum Bayesianism, or QBism. Here are links to parts one, two, and three. Quantum mechanics is simultaneously our most powerful and weirdest scientific theory. It’s powerful because it offers exquisite control over the nanoworld of molecular, atomic, and subatomic phenomena. It’s weird because, while we have a complete mathematical formalism, we physicists have been arguing for more than a century over what that formalism means. In other words, unlike other physical theories, the mathematics of quantum mechanics has no clear interpretation. That means physicists and philosophers have been left arguing about which interpretation makes the most sense. Sometimes the idea of “simplicity” is invoked to answer that question.  So today, based on a wonderful discussion that began on X of all places, I want to argue that Quantum Bayesianism, or QBism, offers the “simplest” account of that all-powerful quantum formalism. The “simplest” explanation There are two main parts of the quantum formalism. The first is what’s called the dynamical equation. This part gives us a mathematical …

Can the Simplest Animal Minds Explain Human Minds?

Can the Simplest Animal Minds Explain Human Minds?

York University philosophy prof Kristin Andrews, author of The Animal Mind (Routledge 2020), thinks that “Consciousness science should move past a focus on complex mammalian brains to study the behaviour of ‘simpler’ animals.” Reflecting on the Koch–Chalmers bet (philosopher 1, neuroscientist 0), she notes that, despite many research advances, “we still haven’t identified any neural correlates of consciousness.” She credits Christof Koch with helping to turn consciousness studies into “a real science” along with DNA co-discoverer Francis Crick (1916–2004) by focusing away from language and toward neuroscience. They decided to focus on vision in mammals instead. And that she sees as anthropocentric (focused on human-type qualities) and discriminatory. When the study of consciousness is grounded in the study of human-like vision, it makes the field of consciousness studies unapologetically anthropocentric, discounting animal models that might be key puzzle pieces. Kristin Andrews, “What is it like to be a crab?, Aeon, 20 November 2023 But that wasn’t their worst offence: “More importantly, it also makes the field conspicuously neurocentric. By including only ‘higher mammals’ in the …