Underdeterminations of Consciousness in Quantum Mechanics


  • Raoni Wohnrath Arroyo Federal University of Santa Catarina
  • Lauro de Matos Nunes Filho Federal University of Santa Catarina




Metaphysical underdetermination arises when we are not able to decide, by purely theoretical criteria, between competing interpretations of scientific theories with different metaphysical commitments. This is the case in which non-relativistic quantum mechanics (QM) founds itself in. Among several available interpretations, there is the interpretation which states that the interaction with the conscious mind of a human observer causes a change in the dynamics of quantum objects undergoing from indefinite to definite states. This is, in a nutshell, the received view of the consciousness causes the collapse hypothesis (CCCH), which is the basis for a set of interpretations known as subjectivistic interpretations of QM. Here we propose a further distinction between three levels of metaphysical underdetermination within the discussion related to the interpretations of QM: the first level, described above, concerns the general framework of interpretations of QM (where CCCH is a option among several others, and which is not addressed here); the second one emerges within a particular set of interpretations (namely, CCCH), and the third one from two possible approaches to a particular branch of this set of interpretations. We suggest breaking the last two using metaphysical arguments. As a general result, we have been able to rule out the dualist approach of CCCH (though we cannot rule it out empirically) and to realize that the only viable phenomenological approach to CCCH is the eidetic one.

Author Biographies

Raoni Wohnrath Arroyo, Federal University of Santa Catarina

Graduate Program in Philosophy

Lauro de Matos Nunes Filho, Federal University of Santa Catarina

Graduate Program in Philosophy