Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 11, No 2 (2015)

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On the Necessity of Including the Observer in Physical Theory

Wolfgang Baer


All statements describing physical reality are derived through interpretation of measurement results that requires a theory of the measuring instruments used to make the measurements. The ultimate measuring instrument is our body which displays its measurement results in our mind. Since a physical theory of our mind-body is unknown, the correct interpretation of its measurement results is unknown. The success of the physical sciences has led to a tendency to treat assumption in physics as indisputable facts. This tendency hampers the development of new theories capable of addressing the foundations of mind.

To show the possibility that false interpretations of experimental results have lead to equally false projections onto physical reality may have happened, the double slit experiment and special relativity experiments are examined in detail. I will show that strongly held a-priory beliefs characterizing measurement instruments have lead to unjustified but widely held concepts in physical theories. For example the assumption that material bodies have minds can change the interpretation of experiments to produce alternative physical theories.

Since some material bodies have minds this paper calls for a review of the conscious observer’s role in the execution and interpretation of fundamental physics experiments in order to verify or challenge the basic beliefs adopted in standard physical theories.

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