• Computing,  Mathematics,  Overview,  Philosophy,  Physics

    Computers and the Mind – What’s the Difference?

    This post discusses the widespread notion that the mind is some kind of computer; that the computer is able to represent knowledge, and this knowledge can be about the world. As we shall see, this notion is quite silly, although people—who are either not physicists, mathematicians, or computer engineers, or just happen to have an academic title without an understanding of these subjects—tend to profess it over and over. This post explores the multiple and successive levels at which this notion is flawed, and why fixing it has proven so hard so far. The post ends by commenting on whether it can ever be fixed.

  • Mathematics,  Philosophy,  Physics

    Information, Uncertainty and Choice

    In the previous post, I described how modern science employs two contradictory ideas—possibility and choice—although in practice only one of them can be used, resulting in incompleteness. An example of that incompleteness is that quantum theory describes the world as a possibility which needs to be completed by a choice, although that choice cannot be reduced to that possibility. The predictions of the theory therefore are probabilistic, and we cannot predict the next event or observation. This post explores how a new way of thinking can reconcile the contradiction between possibility and choice—when both possibility and choice are treated as information. Possibility is now missing or incomplete information, and choice…

  • Overview,  Philosophy,  Psychology

    The Mechanisms of Choice

    When John von Neumann introduced the idea of the “conscious collapse” into quantum theory, he committed a heresy—or at least something that would have been considered a heresy up until that point—by introducing a causal agent called “consciousness” within science. Science until that point had worked explicitly to keep mind and consciousness out of the study of the material world, and were it not for the considerable reputation that John von Neumann already had, this idea would have been deemed a lunacy right away. After John von Neumann, the word “consciousness” is no longer regarded as crazy, and it has, in fact, in recent times, become the newest frontier for…

  • Overview,  Philosophy

    What is Free Will, Really?

    The previous post examined the materialist critique of freewill, and showed why the reduction of free will to rationality (and then to mechanization of rationality) is flawed because rationality itself involves choices of axioms which themselves cannot be rationalized―i.e. reduced to more fundamental axioms. The only way to solve the problem of free will is to postulate that it is fundamental. This post examines what that free will is, and how it operates and controls the world we live in.

  • Overview,  Philosophy

    There is Only Form

    Since the time of Greek philosophers—Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates—it has been believed that the present universe is comprised of two things: form and substance. Forms are the ideas that exist even when substances don’t; the world of things combines form and substance, kind of like the form of a statue exists in the mind of a sculptor and is applied to a substance—e.g., stone—to create statues. Without the form, the material world is amorphous, and without the substance the forms are invisible. This post examines the duality of idea and substance and argues that there are no substances; only forms are real. Whatever we call substance, thing, or object, is also…

  • Philosophy,  Religion

    The Theological Problem of Falldown

    I generally refrain from commenting on theological topics, and restrict myself to issues in science, but in this post I will make an exception. The issue of interest is whether a soul “falls down” into matter. There is often confusion around this topic, which, in my view, rests upon a misunderstanding about the nature of knowledge about our past. There are three broad theological views on this issue: (a) the soul is an individual; he falls down into matter and can get out of it; (b) the soul is an individual but has always been in matter, although he can get out of the material laws; (c) the individuality of the soul is an…