Many-Minds theory as a concept has been given very little credence. But at the same time there is a fundamental requirement for a protagonist of quantum mechanics that is not the observer.
As described by Nobel Laureate Frank Wilczek, the meaning of the quantum theory can hardly be complete without the missing protagonist:
The relevant literature [on the meaning of quantum theory] is famously contentious and obscure. I believe it will remain so until someone constructs, within the formalism of quantum mechanics, an “observer,” that is, a model entity whose states correspond to a recognizable caricature of conscious awareness, and demonstrates that the perceived interaction of this entity with the physical world, following the equations of quantum theory, accords with our experience. That is a formidable project … only after its completion might one legitimately claim that quantum theory is defined by the equations of quantum theory. (2006, 142)
He puts the word ”observer” in quotes because this is not the observer in the ordinary meaning. The observer in all of physics is the physical entity that makes the observations. But this entity cannot account for the physics that has been discovered. It does not follow the equations. More correctly, it only follows the equations of the linear dynamics. A different type of entity is required.
The world hologram fulfils these requirements precisely. As Lockwood describes, the mind is the conscious awareness itself. He calls it the “phenomenal perspective” and “a full state of consciousness”. This is the first of Wiczek’s requirements. The second is also a slam dunk. There is no question that the perceived interactions of this entity with the environment follow the equations of quantum theory exactly. That is the whole point of Everett’s famous thesis:
It is found that experiences of the observer … are in full accord with predictions … of quantum mechanics (1957, 455)
And as he makes clear, this is not true of the physical entity of the observer.
Quantum mechanics does not work for the physical observer. It is the experiences, the record of observations, that form the protagonist that follows the equations. It is the world hologram that conforms to the requirements. As Lockwood demonstrates in his paper ‘Many Minds’ Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics (1996), Everett’s protagonist, the state of the memory, follows the equations in the formalism of quantum mechanics. And this constitutes the conscious subject.
The world hologram is the ”observer” Wilczek describes. This resolves the great paradoxes. The physics works. The quantum theory is indeed defined by the well-established equations of quantum theory.
No Perceiving Subject
There has been very little notice taken of all this, but this is no great surprise. The subjective viewpoint is very carefully eliminated from experiments in physics. And it is scrupulously excluded from theoretical physics. But this is the great stumbling block. As physicist David Mermin states in his article in Nature, this is exactly the reason the physics does not work:
In Nature and the Greeks, Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger traced the removal of the subject from science back more than two millennia. Alongside the spectacular success of physical science, this exclusion of personal experience has given rise to some vexing and persistent puzzles and paradoxes. … [These are] resolved by recognizing that the perceiving subject has as important a role to play in understanding the nature of physical science as does the perceived object. (2014)
Everett’s explanation is founded on the record of experiences. As such it is widely rejected despite its extraordinary empirical success. When his formulation is taken at face value the physics makes complete sense, as Lockwood demonstrates. Thus Everett’s formulation is the precise resolution of the great paradoxes.
Everett’s protagonist is the ”observer” missing from the physics. And the world of this entity is the superworld. And this explains the paradoxical dynamics of the quantum theory. This is described in detail in subsequent sections.
It means the body and the mind exist in different types of world. No wonder the physics has been impossible to work out. As Mermin states, that is what has held up the science. This is the key to the great puzzles. The body, the observer, lives in an ordinary world. The mind, the ”observer”, lives in a superworld.
There are two different types of protagonist of the physics because they are the protagonists in the two different types of world.
This means there is indeed a fundamental mind-body dualism. The long debate is settled. Mind is information, and body is matter. Body instantiates mind, but mind nonetheless lives in a different type of domain, a superposition of worlds. Body and mind live in the different types of world because they are the creatures of these different domains. The question of mind-body dualism is settled. There is one.
The reason quantum theory has been impossible to understand is that this dualism of types was never even imagined. But in retrospect this is clearly a natural fit to the facts. There are two different types of process defined by the quantum theory, two different dynamics. They are defined by two different types of equations. Trying to apply all these to the physical observer in the ordinary world does not work, as a century of frustration has demonstrated. The resolution is that they are the dynamics of the two different types of world. Then the physics works perfectly.
The missing explanatory principle is the dualism of types of world, with the corresponding dualism of types of protagonist, operating the two types of equations. This is the solution proposed in Avant Garde Science.
The next section is Schrödinger’s Cat.