“‘Spooky’ Action-at-a-Distance” in the Brain Explains Memory… or Does It?


Metaphysicians of causation have been known to ponder the possibility of causal action-at-a-distance: that  is, whether or not it is possible for one event to causally influence another over a spatio-temporal gap. It was common among Early Modern philosophers to insist that causation requires a ‘nexus’ – roughly, a point of contact between cause and effect. (This thought under-wrote many of the objections of principle contemporary critics to Cartesian Interactionism.) Such a  view, indeed, is not unreasonable: the idea of causal influence crossing a spatio-temporal gap ‘unmediated’ by some force or other is, to put it bluntly, spooky. On the other hand, however, potential cases of action-at-a-distance have been postulated in certain Quantum Mechanical experiments, most notably the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen/Bohm experiment. Naturally, the interpretation of the observations in such experiments are debated, but nevertheless a prima facie case for spooky action-at-a-distance exists.

Now, however, a recent article in New Scientist suggests that the phenomenon of quantum entanglement, much like that which seems to occur in the EPR/B experiment, has been observed to occur between groups of neurons in the brain. Furthermore, it is suggested that this may explain the combining of information from different sensory modalities into a single memory. Continue reading ““‘Spooky’ Action-at-a-Distance” in the Brain Explains Memory… or Does It?”

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