X-Message-Number: 21072
Date: Thu, 6 Feb 2003 10:11:45 EST
Subject: ontology

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Yvan Bozzonetti writes in part:

> In quantum mechanics, an observation don't implies that someone is here to 
> look at something 

That is Yvan's view, and mine, but by no means that of everyone. There is a 
relatively small school of thought, but not a negligible one--Eugen Wigner is 
the best known name--holding indeed that a CONSCIOUS observer must be present 
in order to actualize the potential existence of a system. 

As I said, some of these people even seriously claim that the universe would 
not exist except for the presence now of human observers. We validate it 
retroactively. This is slightly similar to the position of some medieval 
philosophers that the universe is maintained by the constant attention of 

Whether something could "exist" with no interactions is again an old dispute 
in philosophy, and hangs on definitions, the usual language problems, along 
with questions of what is possible "in principle" vs. in practice.

Robert Ettinger


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