If you have had a difficult life―like some people around us―you might have asked yourself: Why does it happen to me and not to others? If you are a good person, but have still suffered at the hands of others, you might ask yourself: Do I really control my life? There is a profound problem here, which is not just moral in nature, but also causal: we have grown up thinking that an object A causes changes to object B. We are thus, in this model of causality, victims of our circumstances. This post analyzes some of these issues, and concludes that causality is not outside but inside. That is, even things that we think are being done by others, are actually caused by something within us.
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.
A computer is a canonical example of a machine. Every machine can be described by a mathematical theory, and every mathematical theory can be automated on a computer. Therefore if you could describe something mathematically, you could also automate it in a computer. People often suppose that this means if we had a mathematical description of nature, that description could also be automated on a machine. In the case of living beings, such an automation would mean that we too are automatons—machines. This post examines the issues in this argument, highlighting the holes in it.