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Latest Episodes

What is Time?

What is time, and what does it have to do with consciousness? In this episode we'll take a look at what science says about time and how it relates to things like free will and consciousness. While time itself can't be fully defined and seems to be either a fundamental property of the universe, or of our minds, there's a lot of interesting stuff to be said about it. Unproven assumptions about time also crop up in many philosophical thought experiments. In this episode: Clarification about physics and consciousness - undefinability of time - entropy, free will and unknowability - entropy as a measure of disorder - Second law of thermodynamics - Evolution and 2nd law fallacy - free will and time - Daniel Dennett's view of free will - multiple possible versions of the past - entropy and determinism - entropy and randomness - interpretation of quantum mechanics - Werner Heisenberg - the connection between space and time - train simultaneity thought experiment - Michelson-Morley experimen...

25 MIN2015 JAN 8
Comments
What is Time?

A New Scientific Revolution?

Do we need a new scientific theory of metaphysics, and if so, what might that theory look like? In this episode, the first in a very long time, we'll talk about why materialism just doesn't work and why many philosophers miss the point on materialism. We'll go over some of the reasons why materialism doesn't work and we'll get into how physics might change, becoming more "metaphysical", to produce a new alternative to materialism. In this episode: New podcast format - materialism, the dominant philosophical outlook of scientists - Isaac Newton and "gravitas" - Faraday and his fields - consciousness as an epiphenomenon - why consciousness could not have evolved according to strict contemporary materialism - the evolution of states - why do emotional states synchronise with physical states - infinities in space - states in quantum mechanics - the Copenhagen Interpretation - the Problem of Measurement - Richard Feynman's pronouncement on quantum physics - the brain as a chaotic system ...

34 MIN2014 DEC 23
Comments
A New Scientific Revolution?

Is the Universe a Giant Fractal?

Modern science propounds the view that the universe, in all its complexity, was created from simple starting conditions following some simple rules. But what if science has it the wrong way round? What if the universe only exists as far as our momentary experience of it, and it is our experience itself that is being built up following simple rules? Indeed, science seems to be verging on contemplating this very idea when it contemplates the strangeness of quantum mechanics. In this episode, we'll leap right ahead and contemplate the unthinkable possibility that we are generating the universe as we go along, much like a computer generates a fractal image. In this episode: Materialism makes it hard to explain free will and Schrodinger's cat - missing considerations from the materialist viewpoint - could everything exist in our minds? - what is the mechanism by which the mind constructs reality, if it does? - Mandelbrot and his fractals - infinite complexity - similarity between physica...

30 MIN2013 JUN 28
Comments
Is the Universe a Giant Fractal?

Does Anything Really Exist?

Very little, if anything, about our experience of the world proves that the physical world really exists independently of ourselves. In fact, the notion of existence is a somewhat badly-defined notion, and many possible mathematical models of reality might fit our experience. Many of us believe that things exist independently of us and look for explanations of life and the universe in terms of physical entities interacting; whether this is ultimately a fully correct way of looking at the situation or not (rather than being simply a practical approximation to part of the real situation) is open to question. In this episode: The brain lives in a box and generates a sense of space itself - what part of reality is constructed in our brains and what part is "out there"? - what does the word "exists" mean? - do objects exist independently of us? - Why do we think objects exist? - solipsism - dreams and hallucinations - anticholinergics vs psychedelics - our brains can create a sense of a ...

31 MIN2013 MAY 23
Comments
Does Anything Really Exist?

Turning the Universe Inside Out: Quantum Mindcast Episode 5

View the universe from a new perspective with the help of Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. In this episode we'll discuss a remarkable book and an equally remarkable idea; the idea that large parts of what we think of as external reality are in fact created by our brains as a sort of theatre in which to place the physical world. The consequences of this idea will turn out to be extremely profound, and may ultimately suggest a new way forward for the science of physics. In this episode: Kant - the obscurely-written Critique of Pure Reason - Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysics - Kant's metaphysics question - what is metaphysics? - how is pure mathematics possible? - the certainty of mathematical propositions - a priori vs. a posteriori evidence - Descartes' Discourse on Method - Descartes' demon and The Matrix - is the universe real? - the 3D nature of space - the inconceivability of a four dimensional space - Relativity - space is constructed by the brain - life inside a 4D ...

46 MIN2013 APR 8
Comments
Turning the Universe Inside Out: Quantum Mindcast Episode 5

Can There Ever Be a Grand Unified Theory of Physics? – Quantum Mindcast Episode 4

How mathematical theories show us that we can never have a complete theory of physics -- or even the human mind, it seems. In this podcast we'll descend to the most fundamental level of rational enquiry and delve into mathematics to ask whether it really makes sense to think that we can capture ultimate truth in mathematical equations. In this episode: The strange story of Whitehead, Russel and Gödel - Principia Mathematica - Kurt Gödel - formal systems - the incompleteness theorems - why we can't create a grand unified theory of arithmetic, never mind the universe - theories of physics are like nets laid over a mountain range - Roger Penrose and Shadows of the Mind - Plato's allegory of the cave - the weather and the brain are chaotic systems - chaos theory and Penrose's crooked chain of pool balls - brains are unpredictable - consciousness is not in the gaps of physical theories - microtubules - do Gödel's theorems prove anything about the brain? - Gödel's paranoid food poison...

37 MIN2013 MAR 18
Comments
Can There Ever Be a Grand Unified Theory of Physics? – Quantum Mindcast Episode 4

Free Will and Quantum Physics – Quantum Mindcast Episode 3

Free will is not an illusion; why the laws of quantum mechanics show us that our sensation of "free will" cannot be proved to be any kind of illusion. In this episode we'll look at what quantum mechanics is and roughly how it works; we'll talk about the relevance of quantum mechanics to consciousness, and we'll look at the strange scientific mystery of Schrödinger's Cat. In this episode: Why people assert that free will is an illusion - the brain as a mechanism - Laplace's demon - the brain depends upon quantum mechanical laws - an analogy for how quantum mechanics works - the problem of measurement - Copenhagen interpretation - Many Worlds theory - the Paradox of Schrödinger's Cat Sam Harris - The Delusion of Free Will Featured music: Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Concerto No. 4

52 MIN2013 MAR 13
Comments
Free Will and Quantum Physics – Quantum Mindcast Episode 3

Mary’s Room and the Theory of Evolution – Quantum Mindcast Episode 2

Episode 2 of the Quantum Mindcast. In this episode we'll take a look at a couple of intriguing thought experiments that help to shed light on the nature of consciousness and physical reality; namely, Frank Jackson's "Mary's Room" and John Searle's "Chinese Room". We'll also talk about the Theory of Evolution and why it's not quite the full story. In this episode: Mary's Room, aka The Knowledge Arguments - Emotion and the brain are not the same - experience vs. knowledge - Quale - Who makes the grass green? - The mind vs. the brain - Searle's Chinese Room - Why do so many people dislike the Theory of Evolution - Why consciousness cannot have evolved. Featured music: Ludwig van Beethoven - Sonata no. 14 in c sharp minor 'Moonlight', op. 27 no. 2 - i. adagio sostenuto

28 MIN2013 JAN 27
Comments
Mary’s Room and the Theory of Evolution – Quantum Mindcast Episode 2

Are We Machines? – Quantum Mindcast Episode 1

The Quantum Mindcast is here: a podcast about consciousness and quantum physics. In this episode: The world is a projection of the mind - Introducing the Quantum Mindcast - The mind-body problem - Why there's little point discussing stuff like telepathy - Schrödinger's Paradox - Are we machines? - How the brain works - Three common responses to the mind-body problem - Philosophical zombies - We don't need to throw rationality out the window. Featured music: Illumination by Action Davis, featuring Emmalyne Braswell Note: Francis Crick apparently died in 2004. His work, however, lives on.

31 MIN2013 JAN 19
Comments
Are We Machines? – Quantum Mindcast Episode 1
the END

Latest Episodes

What is Time?

What is time, and what does it have to do with consciousness? In this episode we'll take a look at what science says about time and how it relates to things like free will and consciousness. While time itself can't be fully defined and seems to be either a fundamental property of the universe, or of our minds, there's a lot of interesting stuff to be said about it. Unproven assumptions about time also crop up in many philosophical thought experiments. In this episode: Clarification about physics and consciousness - undefinability of time - entropy, free will and unknowability - entropy as a measure of disorder - Second law of thermodynamics - Evolution and 2nd law fallacy - free will and time - Daniel Dennett's view of free will - multiple possible versions of the past - entropy and determinism - entropy and randomness - interpretation of quantum mechanics - Werner Heisenberg - the connection between space and time - train simultaneity thought experiment - Michelson-Morley experimen...

25 MIN2015 JAN 8
Comments
What is Time?

A New Scientific Revolution?

Do we need a new scientific theory of metaphysics, and if so, what might that theory look like? In this episode, the first in a very long time, we'll talk about why materialism just doesn't work and why many philosophers miss the point on materialism. We'll go over some of the reasons why materialism doesn't work and we'll get into how physics might change, becoming more "metaphysical", to produce a new alternative to materialism. In this episode: New podcast format - materialism, the dominant philosophical outlook of scientists - Isaac Newton and "gravitas" - Faraday and his fields - consciousness as an epiphenomenon - why consciousness could not have evolved according to strict contemporary materialism - the evolution of states - why do emotional states synchronise with physical states - infinities in space - states in quantum mechanics - the Copenhagen Interpretation - the Problem of Measurement - Richard Feynman's pronouncement on quantum physics - the brain as a chaotic system ...

34 MIN2014 DEC 23
Comments
A New Scientific Revolution?

Is the Universe a Giant Fractal?

Modern science propounds the view that the universe, in all its complexity, was created from simple starting conditions following some simple rules. But what if science has it the wrong way round? What if the universe only exists as far as our momentary experience of it, and it is our experience itself that is being built up following simple rules? Indeed, science seems to be verging on contemplating this very idea when it contemplates the strangeness of quantum mechanics. In this episode, we'll leap right ahead and contemplate the unthinkable possibility that we are generating the universe as we go along, much like a computer generates a fractal image. In this episode: Materialism makes it hard to explain free will and Schrodinger's cat - missing considerations from the materialist viewpoint - could everything exist in our minds? - what is the mechanism by which the mind constructs reality, if it does? - Mandelbrot and his fractals - infinite complexity - similarity between physica...

30 MIN2013 JUN 28
Comments
Is the Universe a Giant Fractal?

Does Anything Really Exist?

Very little, if anything, about our experience of the world proves that the physical world really exists independently of ourselves. In fact, the notion of existence is a somewhat badly-defined notion, and many possible mathematical models of reality might fit our experience. Many of us believe that things exist independently of us and look for explanations of life and the universe in terms of physical entities interacting; whether this is ultimately a fully correct way of looking at the situation or not (rather than being simply a practical approximation to part of the real situation) is open to question. In this episode: The brain lives in a box and generates a sense of space itself - what part of reality is constructed in our brains and what part is "out there"? - what does the word "exists" mean? - do objects exist independently of us? - Why do we think objects exist? - solipsism - dreams and hallucinations - anticholinergics vs psychedelics - our brains can create a sense of a ...

31 MIN2013 MAY 23
Comments
Does Anything Really Exist?

Turning the Universe Inside Out: Quantum Mindcast Episode 5

View the universe from a new perspective with the help of Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. In this episode we'll discuss a remarkable book and an equally remarkable idea; the idea that large parts of what we think of as external reality are in fact created by our brains as a sort of theatre in which to place the physical world. The consequences of this idea will turn out to be extremely profound, and may ultimately suggest a new way forward for the science of physics. In this episode: Kant - the obscurely-written Critique of Pure Reason - Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysics - Kant's metaphysics question - what is metaphysics? - how is pure mathematics possible? - the certainty of mathematical propositions - a priori vs. a posteriori evidence - Descartes' Discourse on Method - Descartes' demon and The Matrix - is the universe real? - the 3D nature of space - the inconceivability of a four dimensional space - Relativity - space is constructed by the brain - life inside a 4D ...

46 MIN2013 APR 8
Comments
Turning the Universe Inside Out: Quantum Mindcast Episode 5

Can There Ever Be a Grand Unified Theory of Physics? – Quantum Mindcast Episode 4

How mathematical theories show us that we can never have a complete theory of physics -- or even the human mind, it seems. In this podcast we'll descend to the most fundamental level of rational enquiry and delve into mathematics to ask whether it really makes sense to think that we can capture ultimate truth in mathematical equations. In this episode: The strange story of Whitehead, Russel and Gödel - Principia Mathematica - Kurt Gödel - formal systems - the incompleteness theorems - why we can't create a grand unified theory of arithmetic, never mind the universe - theories of physics are like nets laid over a mountain range - Roger Penrose and Shadows of the Mind - Plato's allegory of the cave - the weather and the brain are chaotic systems - chaos theory and Penrose's crooked chain of pool balls - brains are unpredictable - consciousness is not in the gaps of physical theories - microtubules - do Gödel's theorems prove anything about the brain? - Gödel's paranoid food poison...

37 MIN2013 MAR 18
Comments
Can There Ever Be a Grand Unified Theory of Physics? – Quantum Mindcast Episode 4

Free Will and Quantum Physics – Quantum Mindcast Episode 3

Free will is not an illusion; why the laws of quantum mechanics show us that our sensation of "free will" cannot be proved to be any kind of illusion. In this episode we'll look at what quantum mechanics is and roughly how it works; we'll talk about the relevance of quantum mechanics to consciousness, and we'll look at the strange scientific mystery of Schrödinger's Cat. In this episode: Why people assert that free will is an illusion - the brain as a mechanism - Laplace's demon - the brain depends upon quantum mechanical laws - an analogy for how quantum mechanics works - the problem of measurement - Copenhagen interpretation - Many Worlds theory - the Paradox of Schrödinger's Cat Sam Harris - The Delusion of Free Will Featured music: Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Concerto No. 4

52 MIN2013 MAR 13
Comments
Free Will and Quantum Physics – Quantum Mindcast Episode 3

Mary’s Room and the Theory of Evolution – Quantum Mindcast Episode 2

Episode 2 of the Quantum Mindcast. In this episode we'll take a look at a couple of intriguing thought experiments that help to shed light on the nature of consciousness and physical reality; namely, Frank Jackson's "Mary's Room" and John Searle's "Chinese Room". We'll also talk about the Theory of Evolution and why it's not quite the full story. In this episode: Mary's Room, aka The Knowledge Arguments - Emotion and the brain are not the same - experience vs. knowledge - Quale - Who makes the grass green? - The mind vs. the brain - Searle's Chinese Room - Why do so many people dislike the Theory of Evolution - Why consciousness cannot have evolved. Featured music: Ludwig van Beethoven - Sonata no. 14 in c sharp minor 'Moonlight', op. 27 no. 2 - i. adagio sostenuto

28 MIN2013 JAN 27
Comments
Mary’s Room and the Theory of Evolution – Quantum Mindcast Episode 2

Are We Machines? – Quantum Mindcast Episode 1

The Quantum Mindcast is here: a podcast about consciousness and quantum physics. In this episode: The world is a projection of the mind - Introducing the Quantum Mindcast - The mind-body problem - Why there's little point discussing stuff like telepathy - Schrödinger's Paradox - Are we machines? - How the brain works - Three common responses to the mind-body problem - Philosophical zombies - We don't need to throw rationality out the window. Featured music: Illumination by Action Davis, featuring Emmalyne Braswell Note: Francis Crick apparently died in 2004. His work, however, lives on.

31 MIN2013 JAN 19
Comments
Are We Machines? – Quantum Mindcast Episode 1
the END
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