OJPP> Vol.4 No.2, May 2014

Is the World Objective?

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ABSTRACT

The assumption of an objective world underlying all our experiences is deeply embedded in our everyday thinking and in our language, and has been an unquestioned presupposition of the scientific enterprise for at least four centuries. Yet it is well known that quantum physics raises some highly problematic questions in this respect, questions that are still open, almost a century from the inception of the theory. I would like to propose that these questions stem from deep philosophical assumptions and can be answered in a much more coherent way if we understand the notion of an objective world not as a primary reality, but as an emergent aspect of a primary process that can be described as “experiencing”. A coherent description of the appearance of an objective world in the process of experiencing relies on a certain understanding of what is technically known as the “quantum measurement problem”, i.e. the description of the process of observation in quantum physics, which is the key problematic aspect of the theory. I will propose that the basic features that characterize a quantum observation have a much wider scope, and describe in fact all acquisition of information by an “embodied observer”, in short all experiencing happening in the world. By applying to this larger context work I have done in the more technical frame of the quantum measurement problem it can be shown that the nature of the process of experiencing is such as to inevitably generate the appearance of an objective world. Thus the objectivity of the world, although not primary and ultimately real, is an intrinsic consequence of our “experiential embodiment”, i.e. of the fact that we are in the world and all our experiences correspond to physical happenings in the world. When examined in this perspective, the “paradoxes” of quantum physics are an invitation to abandon the metaphysical assumption of the primacy of the objective dimension of reality. A philosophical position much more in tune with quantum physics views the process of experiencing as the primary source of both subject and object, consciousness and world.

Cite this paper

Sabbadini, S. (2014) Is the World Objective?. Open Journal of Philosophy, 4, 107-116. doi: 10.4236/ojpp.2014.42015.

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