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I live in the countryside of southern Tuscany in a region called the Amiata with my wife and two children. We moved here from London in 2018 because we wanted a simpler life with less pollution and more nature.
I am the type of person who has a good understanding of many different areas but is not an expert in any of them. I studied philosophy in university and loved every moment of it. I get bored quite easily and have found that philosophy provides me with the opportunity to “parachute” myself into many different disciplines where with some effort I can learn to understand and effectively critique high level arguments, but without the need to invest a lifetime of studies, which is required to understand the subtle details.
Philosophy studies are not very demanding compared to some other disciplines, so while at university I started working as a software engineer, designing and building increasingly-more-complex IT systems.
For a while I saw my future diverging along one of two possible paths. In one I stayed in academia, became a professor, and spent my days reading and writing, but mostly thinking. On an alternative path I honed my software engineering skills, then founded a startup or two, and eventually grew my own business.
It must have been my long-standing fascination with the subversive, disruptive potential of technology which made me choose the second path. I led teams, founded startups, and grew companies while working with some of the best digital product makers in the world.
In all the years, however, I never lost fascination with philosophy. To this day it is still the predominant mental model for how I interpret the world. But being an entrepreneur meant investing myself in the business, so life got busy. It then got even busier when I had children but I still missed the reading, exploration and, most of all, the deep thinking of my university days.
They say the best way to understand a complex topic is to teach it, and this was the incentive for starting this blog. I find thought experiments absolutely fascinating because they are used by such a diverse set of disciplines and therefore provide the opportunity for me to immerse myself in different domains for brief periods — and again, do some deep thinking.
It takes me about two months to publish a post. The vast majority of time is spent reading and thinking. I have a list of about 100 thought experiments I’d like to cover (although I come across additional ones all the time).
Two principles guide me when writing this blog. The first is a bias towards primary sources. I’m often pleasantly surprised by how much clearer the writing is in the primary source then in the secondary ones (which cite, comment on, or build upon the primary source), although there are some notable exceptions! I therefore try to put the primary sources at the center of each post.
The second guiding principle is that the historical dimension of thought experiments matters. Things might look very different from where we stand today and so I try to bring in some of the historical context as well.