Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 14, No 2 (2018)

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Process Philosophy, Optimalism and Free Will in Quantum Theory

Cynthia Larson


This paper explores how process philosophy-and in particular an optimalism process philosophy that includes free will, such as Henry Stapp's realistically interpreted orthodox quantum theory-proves to be an excellent fit for quantum theory that answers the philosophical question "Why are things the way they are, instead of otherwise?"  Viewing reality as a matter of optimalism is one of four practicable responses to this question, which requires linking Nature to existence. Henry Stapp's realistically interpreted orthodox quantum theory meets this requirement by asserting that when a question is asked, "the thought itself is the thinker," in keeping with the views of James and Whitehead. In this process, an ensuing succession of questions arising in the minds of observers is received and responded to by Nature that chooses and implements responses in accordance with Born's Rule in a physically described universe represented by evolving quantum mechanics states.

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