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Speaking of Stuart Hameroff and Sir Roger Penrose:

"Both of them now believe that consciousness, as the interplay of fine-scale quantum events, may have always existed in the universe." - Jonathan Bricklin https://www.scienceandnonduality.com/article/science-and-consciousness-just-wed-should-this-union-be-annulled

Is there any publication where either of them treat this idea? Any secondary sources or critiques?

  • penrose believes what? cool ha – another_name Aug 27 at 10:36
  • how is he defining "consciousness" (for the lay person)? – another_name Aug 27 at 10:39
  • @another_name What I've found so far is more about the How? than the What? I've read Shadows of the Mind by Penrose a long time ago, and don't remember that he gave a novel definition of consciousness. Hopefully if the requested publications exist it will shed some light. – christo183 Aug 27 at 13:08
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    See their recent review Consciousness in the universe: A review of the ‘Orch OR’ theory. The quote is a stretch based on the author's wishful thinking. What they write is more reminiscent of Whitehead's "experience":"Each such event would lack cognition or any non-computational influence, but would be associated with an undifferentiated ‘proto-conscious’ experience, one without information or meaning." – Conifold Aug 27 at 21:00
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    "Central nervous systems consisting of approximately 300 neurons, such as those present in tiny worms and urchins at the early Cambrian evolutionary explosion 540 million years ago, theoretically had sufficient microtubules to reach τ under one minute, and it might thus be just feasible for them to make use of Orch OR. Accordingly, one might speculate that the onset of Orch OR and primitive consciousness, albeit exceedingly slow and simple but still with useful conscious moments, precipitated the accelerated evolution of the Cambrian explosion." – Conifold Aug 28 at 6:44
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Stuart Hameroff's site "Quantum Consciousness" may provide a source of publications related to this topic. In the overview Hameroff writes:

On the other hand, spiritual and contemplative traditions, and some scientists and philosophers consider consciousness to be intrinsic, ‘woven into the fabric of the universe’. In these views, conscious precursors and Platonic forms preceded biology, existing all along in the fine scale structure of reality.

That view would suggest "conscious precursors" were always present, preceding biology. The list of publications and research posted on this site would likely provide the most relevant details clarifying and supporting this position.


Hameroff, S. Overview. Retrieved on September 12, 2019 from Quantum Consciousness at https://www.quantumconsciousness.org/content/overview-sh

  • Didn't know Plato did QM! Time after all is not a member of the platonic realm 😇 – Rusi-packing-up Sep 12 at 16:51
  • @Rusi As I understand this, which might be incorrect, Plato would have just recognized these conscious precursors as forms. I see this as a kind of panpsychism that would explain (away?) Platonic forms. – Frank Hubeny Sep 12 at 17:06
  • @Rusi The Hamerhoff-Penrose theory of consciousness is a material monist conception. Relying on a critical number of entangled "Objective Reduction" events to produce "proto-conscious" moments, as such it does not rely on biology to be the carrier of consciousness (biology merely found ways to concentrate material in a way that allows for Orchestrated OR). Considering the sheer amount matter involved in the universe relative to a human brain, it is easy to imagine that something like a Platonic TREE must have been encoded in matter long before Biology. – christo183 Sep 13 at 7:06
  • @Rusi I don't think their usage of the term "Forms" quite match how Plato had it, but it does seem to vindicate (once again) Plato's insight. – christo183 Sep 13 at 7:10

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