Observation (unintegrated information) causes changes to physical experiments in the same way conscious observation of information with integration alters experiments. Could observation be a non-conscious state of matter in the same way the perceptronium is theorized to be a conscious state of matter by Tegmark?

Edelman, G. M., Tononi, G. (2000). A Universe of Consciousness: How Matter Becomes Imagination. New York: Basic Books

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    I don't follow the parallel (or analogy) between observation/decoherence and properties expected of consciousness. Anyway, no, decoherence seems to be the explanation and is a statistical property of the coupling of quantum states, not an altered state of matter.
    – Rex Kerr
    Feb 4, 2014 at 1:41
  • perceptronium?! Apr 15, 2014 at 1:43
  • @MoziburUllah yeah its something new from the tegmark paper
    – user5375
    Apr 15, 2014 at 10:12

2 Answers 2


What does it mean "to observe"? If you remove the association to conscious perception, what you are left with is interaction with the environment and having information from it affect your physical state — however subtly, if only some amount of heat exchange.

In this sense, the phenomenon of decoherence could be described as the consequence of inanimate objects "observing" things around them, but this is really a deliberate misuse of what we mean by "observe", which we do in fact usually mean to associate only with conscious perception. "Interact" is really the correct word.

  • yes this is what rex said thank you for the correction
    – user5375
    Feb 5, 2014 at 10:09

your question has some beliefs. that there is an objective external universe. that there are observers observing external happenings. that oservation is the factor of changing the observed.

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    -1 Hi felino. It is definitely true that the question makes use of concepts from the physical sciences - such as observers. The author of the question was clearly aware of this and was attempting to elicit answers that make reference to the theoretical frameworks he suggests (quantum mechanics and information integration theories of consciousness). Most good questions here have a large number of background assumptions - the asker may or may not believe in them. It is valid to say that their premises are wrong, but you should say why, and what the consequences are.
    – Lucas
    Apr 14, 2014 at 23:02

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