Most of us, scientists included, see physics as an attempt to provide an objective description of the world independent of human subjectivity and consciousness. Yet, Max Planck, one of major scientific figures of the twentieth century and the founder of quantum mechanics, stated as a result of his investigations and experiments: “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness.”
Should we listen to Planck? Can we plausibly see matter as derivative of consciousness? Might doing so help solve the deep puzzles facing contemporary physics and overcome the ‘hard problem of consciousness’ itself? Or does this outlook, as Einstein argued, undermine the very success and objectivity of science and take us back to a world of superstition?
Cosmologist, theoretical physicist Laura Mersini-Houghton, groundbreaking physicist Brian Greene, esteemed physics and philosophy writer Amanda Gefter and eliminative materialism pioneer Patricia Churchland debate Planck and the Consciousness Puzzle. Catherine Heymans hosts.