While going down in an elevator, it recently occurred to me that the elevator doesn’t move unless we indicate the floor it has to go to, quite different from an escalator which keeps moving regardless of whether anyone has anywhere to go to. This difference is a useful way to understand how quantum “motion” is different from classical motion. This post explains the difference using the elevator vs. escalator analogy. The motion of the elevator explicitly employs meaning and purpose, while the motion of the escalator doesn’t. The difference helps us see why addressing many scientific problems needs a revision to our analogies about nature, and what such analogical shifts can do to science.
What is a Number? Is it an idea or a thing? This question has been debated since Greek times, and it still remains unanswered in philosophy and science. This post examines the nature of the problem, and what its likely resolution will look like. It illustrates how the problem of numbers leads to the problem of choice, which then results in the problem of morality, which then results in questions of happiness. The resolution of these problems requires the idea of universality—namely universal ideas, universal moral principles and universal ideas about happiness.
The problem in any kind of existence begins from a very old distinction between appearance and reality. Appearances are obviously how things seem to us in our perception although not everything that we perceive does really also exist. How things seem to us is a property of our perceptual apparatus—senses, mind, brain, etc. Reality, on the other hand, is supposed to be independent of this perceptual apparatus. Therefore, how do we know that what appears to us is also real? Could it be that we are hallucinating or dreaming and what appears to us does not in fact exist?