In a ‘billiard-ball world’ of Newtonian science, causation was obvious—things had to touch each other in space and a cause always had to precede an effect. But quantum mechanics destroys such notions. What then is causation? Moreover, must causes always be physical? Is ‘mental causation’ a coherent concept? What about ‘top-down causation’?

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Scott Joel Aaronson is a theoretical computer scientist and faculty member in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department at MIT. His primary area of research is quantum computing and computational complexity theory more generally.

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