The Beginning of Infinity

The Beginning of Infinity

eBook - 2011
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The New York Times bestseller: A provocative, imaginative exploration of the nature and progress of knowledge In this groundbreaking book, award-winning physicist David Deutsch argues that explanations have a fundamental place in the universe?and that improving them is the basic regulating principle of all successful human endeavor. Taking us on a journey through every fundamental field of science, as well as the history of civilization, art, moral values, and the theory of political institutions, Deutsch tracks how we form new explanations and drop bad ones, explaining the conditions under which progress?which he argues is potentially boundless?can and cannot happen. Hugely ambitious and highly original, The Beginning of Infinity explores and establishes deep connections between the laws of nature, the human condition, knowledge, and the possibility for progress.
Publisher: [S.I.] : Penguin Publishing Group, 2011.
ISBN: 9781101549827
Branch Call Number: eBOOK OVERDRI
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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From Library Staff

This book explores answers to questions that we all have, but can't always articulate. Deutsch provides a model for where humans have come from, how we've progressed, and where we are headed as a species.


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lifetoward
May 28, 2013

Currently one of the most comprehensive and useful views of humans' place in the cosmos. His explanations about the fungibility of pre-quantum potentials is fantastic. His theory of the power of "hard to vary explanations" is enlightening and very useful. He identifies knowledge, being accurate working models of the nature of the universe, as essential components of the cosmos, and humans' facility with knowledge as what makes them so special on the planet and in the grand scheme. While great, the book is weak in its lack of distinction between essentially subjective aspects of being and those objective features of the universe which science can access. He also doesn't clarify the important distinction between "designed" complex beings (including artifacts like computers) and "deeply derived" complex beings (like animals and people). Lacking this distinction I think he overestimates the achievability of a meaningful form of artificial intelligence, but even with this said the whole of the book seems to me to loudly suggest these important distinctions between the lines. Comprehensive, very readable, and extremely interesting, this book is a page turner and will occupy a spot among my "top shelf books" for many years I'm sure.

j
John_M
Jul 19, 2012

I borrowed it in hopes of learning a bit about quantum computing, but alas I learnt a lot about politics, philosophy, the process of science. All just about as satisfying as learning about quantum computing.

g
go4dancer
May 09, 2012

This book contains quite a mix of things from substantive quantum mechanics and physics, to history of science, philosophy, criticisms of various ideas and ways of thinking, a very nice dialogue between Socrates and Hermes. Excellent in parts. Makes one think but I found it both too long and too encompassing. Material might have worked best in 3 or 4 smaller more focused books.

l
laudablepus
Feb 14, 2012

No bullshit by a non-idiot. An entirely worthwhile read dealing mostly with modern(ist) epistemology. I felt some of his arguments were a bit sneaky, a good stimulus to critical thought, and I kept having these niggling doubts that Deutsch doesn't address sufficiently the nihilistic horror that was the 20th century (look, he took "the enlightenment" for his subject). I certainly appreciate his optimism and the key idea of intelligent creativity. Problems have solutions if the frame is found. In the future we will know more.

m
mcmbpl
Nov 22, 2011

recom by economist

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