The Big Questions
We present, here, a list of questions raised and addressed
in the book.
- Why do we experience time differently from the way it is
described by physics?
- Why does time appear to have a preferred direction? Does
the moment that we call 'now' have any fundamental significance?
- Does the second law of thermodynamics really define an
arrow of time, or has it been misinterpreted?
- What is the nature of consciousness? How different is the
universe in the absence of conscious entities?
- Does aesthetics have any relevance in the absence of consciousness?
How can we judge a theoretic description of the universe based upon its
- Why do we have emotions, and how do they relate to
- In the philosophy of mind-body dualism, which of the mind,
brain, muscles, nerves, etc., effects a bodily change? Is the mind
distinct from the brain, and can a distinction be reconciled with
- What is the nature of free will? Is it incompatible with a
- Is the universe fundamentally based upon probability? Is
that the best description we can hope for?
- Is quantum superposition real or merely a mathematical artefact?
- Does the wave function really collapse during a
measurement, or is it a clash between mathematics and reality.
- What is the nature of measurement, and how does that
influence our perception of reality?
- Was there an origin to the universe? How can something
appear from nothing?
- What is the true nature of space-time? Is it real with
properties of its own (such as geometry) or nothingness for which we must
invent these properties.
- What is the relationship between physics and mathematics?
Why does the universe appear to be governed according to mathematical
principles, and yet mathematics is incapable of describing experience?
- What is the origin of mathematics? Is it fundamental and
pre-existing, or a construct of the conscious mind?
- What is the difference between causation and correlation?
Can causation be defined at either the fundamental level or our
- Was there a 'first cause'? Is the universe superdeterministic?
- Is emergence a real thing? Is there a genuine difference
between weak and strong emergence?
- Is reductionism a valid approach to study? What aspects of
our experience do we implicitly carry forwards during this process?
- What, if any, similarities exist between the brain and
computers? Can computers ever be expected to achieve consciousness?