Panpsychism teaches that mind is a fundamental nature of all things and in addition to being the position of certain religious groups and philosophers it has also been suggested that quantum theory suggests it too.  For example, 

Stapp identified the intentional conscious acts of physical wave-function collapses as showing elementary particles have a mental aspect, and make these aspects causally efficacious in the physical world (Stapp 1979; 1993; 2004).  Below I repsesent one version of Quantum panpsychism (quantum panpsychism) although there are many other versions in the blog

Quantum panpyschism takes up Leibtiz's modified of Bruno's theory of monads.  Leibtiz meant his model to be a superior alternative to the theory of atoms that was becoming popular in natural philosophy at the time.  Leibniz was a rationalist and believed one could arrive at truth just by thinking things through.  

When Leibtiz died in 1716 there were several people talking about atomic theory but it was over 80 years before Dalton produced the first empirical model of atoms and it has gone through many changes since then and today it is impossible to produce a satisfactory philosophical interpretation of quantum physics and although the standard interpretation (Cophanagon interpretation) is materialistic there are other competing idealistic interpretations that are very similar to Leibtiz's monad theory.  

Monads were an atomic theory in which the world is made up of an infinity of simple substances called ‘monads’. As defined in the Monadology §1, ‘The monad … is nothing but a simple substance, which enters into composites’ (T19. 1). These simple substances are the basic constituents of reality, and it is a requirement that they are immaterial or non-physical.    

Like the early atomic theory simple substances are capable of being neither created nor destroyed nor divided.  They were understood to be substances that that combined to create bigger objects and there are composites, which are collections or aggregates of simples, the features of which are explicable by features of the simples of which they are made up. Yet because these simple substances do not themselves consist of any parts, Leibniz describes them as the ‘true atoms of nature; in a word, the elements of things.’   ‘Atoms of nature’ implies that monads are the basic stuff of our universe, in its most simple form, as they have no parts. Leibniz states that because simple substances cannot have parts, they cannot be material, and thus are the only true unities. 

However, there are also several ways in which Leibnz's monads where different from atoms.  According to atomic theory atoms are made of inert matter whereas monads have mental properties and each monad has a unique perspective on the universe but also contains within itself all the past and future events of the universe.    

Furthermore, all monads reflect the whole world, each with their own unique different perspective.  So each monad reflects the whole system, but with its own perspective emphasised. If a monad is at place p at time t, it will contain all the features of the universe at all times, but with those relating to its own time and place most vividly, and others fading out roughly in accordance with temporal and spatial distance. Because there is a continuum of perspectives on reality, there is an infinite number of these substances. Nevertheless, there is internal change in the monads, because the respect in which its content is vivid varies with time and with action. Indeed, the passage of time just is the change in which of the monad's contents are most vivid. 

Can monadolgy be reconciled with our common sense view of ourselves as agents in a material world? 

It is my contention that all of the aspects of monadology mentioned above are a useful way of understanding the real world as science and religion understand it, which will be explained below.  There is one more aspect that Leibniz included in order to preserve the western God, which is not necessary and that is “pre-established harmony”.  Pre-established harmony (harmonie préétablie) claims that every "substance" only affects itself, but all the substances (both bodies and minds) in the world nevertheless seem to causally interact with each other because they have been programmed by God in advance to "harmonize" with each other. 


Through the lens of Western materialism Leibnz's monads look startling but there are a striking number of things Leibnz suggested but have turned out to be true.  For example, Leibniz wasn’t an atomist and didn’t accept the existence of any fundamental indivisible body stating, "there is no atom, indeed, there is no body so small that it is not actually subdivided" and science has seen that atoms contain protons, electrons, quarks and so on.   

Furthermore, quantum physics seems to have conscious experience written all over it with not only the outcome of a process depending on observers and it also looks like quantum particle such as electrons are themselves conscious and make decisions just like Leibiz suggested.  In fact there are several lines of enquiry to explain how consciousness can explain the known effects of both quantum physics and relativity.  One approach is 'Quantum Monadology' which was created by Teruaki Nakagomi (1992) and takes its inspiration directly from Leibniz although crucially God and pre-determined necessity are no longer required. It is interesting that quantum monadolgy was created in order to combine quantum physics and relativity which it succeeded in doing.  

In quantum monadology the world is made of a finite number, M, of quantum algebras called monads.  There are no other elements making up the world, and so the world itself can be defined as the totality of M monads:  

W = .,A1,A2,...,AM.".  
Can monadolgy be reconciled with our common sense view of ourselves as agents in a material world?

The world W is not space-time as space-time does not exist at the fundamental level, but emerges from mutual relations among monads. This can be seen by regarding each monad Ai as a quantum algebra and the world 

W = .,A1,A2,...,AM.." 

as an algebraically structured set of the quantum algebras called a tensor product of M monads. The mathematical structure of each quantum algebra representing each monad will be understood to represent the inner world of each monad. Correspondingly, the mathematical structure of the tensor product of M monads will be understood to represent the world W itself. To make the mathematical representation of the world of monads simpler, we assume each quantum algebra representing each monad to be a C* algebra A identical with each other, that is, Ai = A for all i running from 1 to M. Then, the world can be seen as a C* algebra W identical with the Mth tensor power of the C* algebra A. 

It is interesting to notice that the world itself can be represented as the structured totality of the inner worlds of M monads. In addition to the individual state, each monad has an image of the world state recognized by itself; it is a world state belonging to each monad.   Identifying the world state belonging to each monad with the world recognized by the monad, the conventional representation of the world as a four dimensional space-time manifold can be derived from the above mutual relation in terms of the Lorentz or Poincaré group. Thus the idealistic concept of the unlimited expansion of space-time geometry in conventional physics is shown to be an imaginary common background for overlapping the world image recognized by every monad. 

It would therefore appear quantum physics and relativity would work very well under the system of quantum monadology although it would be require a philosophical earthquake before the mainstream scientists brought up under a materialistic view of the world would consider it.    


Leibniz's original monadology claimed that we have the freewill required for moral responsibility even though all of our future actions are already contained in us (along with the future of the entire actual world as ordained by God). Any awareness of those contingent future actions would follow from the principle of sufficient reason only upon an infinite analysis of my nature. Hence, since I lack knowledge of what I will do tomorrow, it will seem to me as if I act freely when I do it. Like space and time, freedom is a benevolent illusion that adequately provides for life in an uncertain world. I would personally dispute that this determinism and free-will are compatible, but that is not a problem as below I  will argue that quantum monadology allows for a libertarianism position which claims that determinism is false and there is freewill.  

In quantum monadology freewill is preserved since individual monad states are influenced by the states of the various monads around them and for each monad, say the j-th monad in a group, the tendency to make a choice of a new group element g in G is proportional to a universal constant c and the expectation value of the jump transformation with respect to the world state belonging to the j-th monad. Such a change of the world states belonging to all the monads induces the actual time flow, and the freedom to choose the group element is understood as the fundamental element of mind; thus the origin of free will can be identified here.  

Desktop Site