WHY DOES THE WORLD EXIST AN EXISTENTIAL DETECTIVE STORY

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Why Does The World Exist An Existential Detective Story

Author : Jim Holt
ISBN : 9780871404091
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 60.44 MB
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Expands the search for the origins of the universe beyond God and the Big Bang theory, exploring more bizarre possibilities inspired by physicists, theologians, mathematicians, and even novelists.
Category: Philosophy

Why Does The World Exist An Existential Detective Story

Author : Jim Holt
ISBN : 9780871403278
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 36.90 MB
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The Washington Post Notable Non-Fiction of 2013 “I can imagine few more enjoyable ways of thinking than to read this book.”—Sarah Bakewell, New York Times Book Review, front-page review Tackling the “darkest question in all of philosophy” with “raffish erudition” (Dwight Garner, New York Times), author Jim Holt explores the greatest metaphysical mystery of all: why is there something rather than nothing? This runaway bestseller, which has captured the imagination of critics and the public alike, traces our latest efforts to grasp the origins of the universe. Holt adopts the role of cosmological detective, traveling the globe to interview a host of celebrated scientists, philosophers, and writers, “testing the contentions of one against the theories of the other” (Jeremy Bernstein, Wall Street Journal). As he interrogates his list of ontological culprits, the brilliant yet slyly humorous Holt contends that we might have been too narrow in limiting our suspects to God versus the Big Bang. This “deft and consuming” (David Ulin, Los Angeles Times) narrative humanizes the profound questions of meaning and existence it confronts.
Category: Philosophy

Stop Me If You Ve Heard This A History And Philosophy Of Jokes

Author : Jim Holt
ISBN : 0393069443
Genre : Humor
File Size : 39.53 MB
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“Finally I understand what it is I’ve been laughing at all these years.”—Jimmy Kimmel From the best-selling author of Why Does the World Exist? comes this outrageous, uproarious compendium of absurdity, filth, racy paradox, and gratuitous offensiveness—just the kind of mature philosophical reflection readers have come to expect from the ever-entertaining Jim Holt. Indeed, Stop Me If You’ve Heard This is the first book to trace the evolution of the joke all the way from the standup comics of ancient Athens to the comedy-club Seinfelds of today. After exploring humor’s history in Part One, Holt delves into philosophy in Part Two: Wall Street jokes; jokes about rednecks and atheists, bulimics and politicians; jokes you missed if you didn’t go to a Catholic girls’ school; jokes about logic and existence itself . . . all became fodder for the grand theories of Aristotle, Kant, Freud, and Wittgenstein in this heady mix of the high and low, of the ribald and profound, from America’s most beloved philosophical pundit.
Category: Humor

When Einstein Walked With G Del

Author : Jim Holt
ISBN : 9780374717841
Genre : Science
File Size : 68.60 MB
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From Jim Holt, the New York Times bestselling author of Why Does the World Exist?, comes an entertaining and accessible guide to the most profound scientific and mathematical ideas of recent centuries in When Einstein Walked with Gödel: Excursions to the Edge of Thought. Does time exist? What is infinity? Why do mirrors reverse left and right but not up and down? In this scintillating collection, Holt explores the human mind, the cosmos, and the thinkers who’ve tried to encompass the latter with the former. With his trademark clarity and humor, Holt probes the mysteries of quantum mechanics, the quest for the foundations of mathematics, and the nature of logic and truth. Along the way, he offers intimate biographical sketches of celebrated and neglected thinkers, from the physicist Emmy Noether to the computing pioneer Alan Turing and the discoverer of fractals, Benoit Mandelbrot. Holt offers a painless and playful introduction to many of our most beautiful but least understood ideas, from Einsteinian relativity to string theory, and also invites us to consider why the greatest logician of the twentieth century believed the U.S. Constitution contained a terrible contradiction—and whether the universe truly has a future.
Category: Science

A Universe From Nothing

Author : Lawrence M. Krauss
ISBN : 9781451624472
Genre : Science
File Size : 57.81 MB
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Bestselling author and acclaimed physicist Lawrence Krauss offers a paradigm-shifting view of how everything that exists came to be in the first place. “Where did the universe come from? What was there before it? What will the future bring? And finally, why is there something rather than nothing?” One of the few prominent scientists today to have crossed the chasm between science and popular culture, Krauss describes the staggeringly beautiful experimental observations and mind-bending new theories that demonstrate not only can something arise from nothing, something will always arise from nothing. With a new preface about the significance of the discovery of the Higgs particle, A Universe from Nothing uses Krauss’s characteristic wry humor and wonderfully clear explanations to take us back to the beginning of the beginning, presenting the most recent evidence for how our universe evolved—and the implications for how it’s going to end. Provocative, challenging, and delightfully readable, this is a game-changing look at the most basic underpinning of existence and a powerful antidote to outmoded philosophical, religious, and scientific thinking.
Category: Science

Why Does The World Exist

Author : Jim Holt
ISBN : 1846682452
Genre : Cosmology
File Size : 24.86 MB
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'Why is there a world rather than nothing at all?' remains the most curious and most enduring of all metaphysical mysteries. Moving away from the narrower paths of Christopher Hitchens, Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking, the celebrated essayist Jim Holt now enters this fascinating debate with his broad, lively and deeply informed narrative that traces all our efforts to grasp the origins of the universe.With sly humour and a highly original personal approach Holt takes on the role of cosmological detective. Suggesting that we might have been too narrow in limiting our suspects to God and the Big Bang, he tracks down, among others, an eccentric Oxford philosopher, a Nobel Laureate physicist, a French Buddhist monk, and John Updike just before he died, to pursue this cosmic puzzle from every angle. As he pieces together a solution - while offering useful insights into time, consciousness, and eternity - he sheds fascinating new light on the meaning of existence.
Category: Cosmology

Just Babies

Author : Paul Bloom
ISBN : 9780307886866
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 43.69 MB
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A leading cognitive scientist argues that a deep sense of good and evil is bred in the bone. From John Locke to Sigmund Freud, philosophers and psychologists have long believed that we begin life as blank moral slates. Many of us take for granted that babies are born selfish and that it is the role of society—and especially parents—to transform them from little sociopaths into civilized beings. In Just Babies, Paul Bloom argues that humans are in fact hardwired with a sense of morality. Drawing on groundbreaking research at Yale, Bloom demonstrates that, even before they can speak or walk, babies judge the goodness and badness of others’ actions; feel empathy and compassion; act to soothe those in distress; and have a rudimentary sense of justice. Still, this innate morality is limited, sometimes tragically. We are naturally hostile to strangers, prone to parochialism and bigotry. Bringing together insights from psychology, behavioral economics, evolutionary biology, and philosophy, Bloom explores how we have come to surpass these limitations. Along the way, he examines the morality of chimpanzees, violent psychopaths, religious extremists, and Ivy League professors, and explores our often puzzling moral feelings about sex, politics, religion, and race. In his analysis of the morality of children and adults, Bloom rejects the fashionable view that our moral decisions are driven mainly by gut feelings and unconscious biases. Just as reason has driven our great scientific discoveries, he argues, it is reason and deliberation that makes possible our moral discoveries, such as the wrongness of slavery. Ultimately, it is through our imagination, our compassion, and our uniquely human capacity for rational thought that we can transcend the primitive sense of morality we were born with, becoming more than just babies. Paul Bloom has a gift for bringing abstract ideas to life, moving seamlessly from Darwin, Herodotus, and Adam Smith to The Princess Bride, Hannibal Lecter, and Louis C.K. Vivid, witty, and intellectually probing, Just Babies offers a radical new perspective on our moral lives. From the Hardcover edition.
Category: Psychology

Assholes

Author : Aaron James
ISBN : 9780385535687
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 24.34 MB
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In the spirit of the mega-selling On Bullshit, philosopher Aaron James presents a theory of the asshole that is both intellectually provocative and existentially necessary. What does it mean for someone to be an asshole? The answer is not obvious, despite the fact that we are often personally stuck dealing with people for whom there is no better name. Try as we might to avoid them, assholes are found everywhere—at work, at home, on the road, and in the public sphere. Encountering one causes great difficulty and personal strain, especially because we often cannot understand why exactly someone should be acting like that. Asshole management begins with asshole understanding. Much as Machiavelli illuminated political strategy for princes, this book finally gives us the concepts to think or say why assholes disturb us so, and explains why such people seem part of the human social condition, especially in an age of raging narcissism and unbridled capitalism. These concepts are also practically useful, as understanding the asshole we are stuck with helps us think constructively about how to handle problems he (and they are mostly all men) presents. We get a better sense of when the asshole is best resisted, and when he is best ignored—a better sense of what is, and what is not, worth fighting for.
Category: Philosophy

Trespassing On Einstein S Lawn

Author : Amanda Gefter
ISBN : 9780345539632
Genre : Science
File Size : 41.14 MB
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NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY KIRKUS REVIEWS In a memoir of family bonding and cutting-edge physics for readers of Brian Greene’s The Hidden Reality and Jim Holt’s Why Does the World Exist?, Amanda Gefter tells the story of how she conned her way into a career as a science journalist—and wound up hanging out, talking shop, and butting heads with the world’s most brilliant minds. At a Chinese restaurant outside of Philadelphia, a father asks his fifteen-year-old daughter a deceptively simple question: “How would you define nothing?” With that, the girl who once tried to fail geometry as a conscientious objector starts reading up on general relativity and quantum mechanics, as she and her dad embark on a life-altering quest for the answers to the universe’s greatest mysteries. Before Amanda Gefter became an accomplished science writer, she was a twenty-one-year-old magazine assistant willing to sneak her and her father, Warren, into a conference devoted to their physics hero, John Wheeler. Posing as journalists, Amanda and Warren met Wheeler, who offered them cryptic clues to the nature of reality: The universe is a self-excited circuit, he said. And, The boundary of a boundary is zero. Baffled, Amanda and Warren vowed to decode the phrases—and with them, the enigmas of existence. When we solve all that, they agreed, we’ll write a book. Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn is that book, a memoir of the impassioned hunt that takes Amanda and her father from New York to London to Los Alamos. Along the way, they bump up against quirky science and even quirkier personalities, including Leonard Susskind, the former Bronx plumber who invented string theory; Ed Witten, the soft-spoken genius who coined the enigmatic M-theory; even Stephen Hawking. What they discover is extraordinary: the beginnings of a monumental paradigm shift in cosmology, from a single universe we all share to a splintered reality in which each observer has her own. Reality, the Gefters learn, is radically observer-dependent, far beyond anything of which Einstein or the founders of quantum mechanics ever dreamed—with shattering consequences for our understanding of the universe’s origin. And somehow it all ties back to that conversation, to that Chinese restaurant, and to the true meaning of nothing. Throughout their journey, Amanda struggles to make sense of her own life—as her journalism career transforms from illusion to reality, as she searches for her voice as a writer, as she steps from a universe shared with her father to at last carve out one of her own. It’s a paradigm shift you might call growing up. By turns hilarious, moving, irreverent, and profound, Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn weaves together story and science in remarkable ways. By the end, you will never look at the universe the same way again. Praise for Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn “Nothing quite prepared me for this book. Wow. Reading it, I alternated between depression—how could the rest of us science writers ever match this?—and exhilaration.”—Scientific American “To Do: Read Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn. Reality doesn’t have to bite.”—New York “A zany superposition of genres . . . It’s at once a coming-of-age chronicle and a father-daughter road trip to the far reaches of this universe and 10,500 others.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer From the Hardcover edition.
Category: Science

Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing

Author : Bede Rundle
ISBN : 9780199270507
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 54.62 MB
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Why should there be anything at all? Why, in particular, should a material world exist? Bede Rundle advances clear, non-technical answers to these perplexing questions. If, as the theist maintains, God is a being who cannot but exist, his existence explains why there is something rather than nothing. However, this can also be explained on the basis of a weaker claim. Not that there is some particular being that has to be, but simply that there has to be something or other. Rundle proffersarguments for thinking that that is indeed how the question is to be put to rest. Traditionally, the existence of the physical universe is held to depend on God, but the theist faces a major difficulty in making clear how a being outside space and time, as God is customarily conceived to be, could stand in an intelligible relation to the world, whether as its creator or as the author of events within it. Rundle argues that a creator of physical reality is not required, since there is no alternative to its existence. There has to be something, and a physical universe is the only real possibility. He supports this claim by eliminating rival contenders; he dismisses the supernatural, and argues that, while other forms of being, notably the abstract and the mental, are not reducible to the physical, they presuppose its existence. The question whether ultimate explanations can ever be given is forever in the background, and the book concludes with an investigation of this issue andof the possibility that the universe could have existed for an infinite time. Other topics discussed include causality, space, verifiability, essence, existence, necessity, spirit, fine tuning, and laws of Nature. Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing offers an explanation of fundamental facts of existence in purely philosophical terms, without appeal either to theology or cosmology. It will provoke and intrigue anyone who wonders about these questions.
Category: Philosophy