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L'inizio dell'infinito.…

L'inizio dell'infinito. Spiegazioni che trasformano il mondo (original 2011; edition 2013)

by David Deutsch (Author)

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Title:L'inizio dell'infinito. Spiegazioni che trasformano il mondo
Authors:David Deutsch (Author)
Info:Einaudi (2013)
Collections:Your library
Tags:SCIENZA, Fisica

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The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World by David Deutsch (2011)



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» See also 6 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
It's odd that a book written in such a priggishly prescriptive tone should be, while you read it, so compelling, and even more odd that it should, in the end, say so little. While it touches on many Big Topics and has a lofty title (which is inexplicably—and in the case of my own understanding, inscrutably—redefined after each chapter) it really adds up to a loudly argued sort of commonsensical optimism: modern science is good, and it's good to keep an open mind. Sure, but for instance, how open is so open that one's brains fall out, as the quote goes? I'm no wiser in that department after reading this book.

It's also odd that one of my favorite books should be a similarly cross-disciplinary, broader-than-thou classic: Hofstadter's GEB. Why do I love that book but mostly shrug Deutsch's off? I guess it helps that Hofstadter is virtuosic with style and analogy; Deutsch is a bit more opinionated/ranty. He clearly advocates for a future of creative, positive, clever works, but his own doesn't exactly strike me as such. ( )
  mrgan | Oct 30, 2017 |
didn't read all of this, just the chapter summaries and some things. not as good as ' Fabric ' ( )
  Baku-X | Jan 10, 2017 |
What we need are good explanations. That's essentially what this 450 page philosophical tome is about. Of course what makes an explanation 'good' is subjective. I'm sure there are people who will insist that it requires a role for a divine creator. David Deutsch realizes this, so he defines what he means by 'good'. Good explanations are 'hard to vary', often elegant, and they are 'constrained by existing knowledge'. Apparently being succinct is not a requirement, and this book isn't. But the ultimate theme is that innovative thinking is a creative process, it can mitigate any problem we might face, and human knowledge can increase endlessly.

From a purely philosophical perspective, this may be true. There is an old joke that goes something like this: 'Why did dinosaurs go extinct? Answer: Because they didn't have a space program.' True, sort of. If they knew the asteroid was coming and knew of a way to either stop it or escape Earth before it hit, they'd still be around. Knowledge could have saved them, but having the right knowledge at the right time is often impossible. 'If only I knew then what I know now' is a common refrain. Striving to know more and to have 'good' explanations for what we know, however, is always possible. I think the real value of this book is to emphasize that. ( )
  DLMorrese | Oct 14, 2016 |
Provocative and very interesting, although some chapters are very weak, e.g., the one on social choices ( )
  Alex1952 | Mar 15, 2015 |
A good book on Theory of Knowledge, but no good on the maths/physics of Infinity - which was what I was expecting from the review I read. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jun 17, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David Deutschprimary authorall editionscalculated
Blechman, NicholasIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Buckley, PaulDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Progress that is both rapid enough to be noticed and stable enough to continue over many generations has been achieved only once in the history of our species.
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"A bold and all-embracing exploration of the nature and progress of knowledge from one of today's great thinkers. Throughout history, mankind has struggled to understand life's mysteries, from the mundane to the seemingly miraculous. In this important new book, David Deutsch, an award-winning pioneer in the field of quantum computation, argues that explanations have a fundamental place in the universe. They have unlimited scope and power to cause change, and the quest to improve them is the basic regulating principle not only of science but of all successful human endeavor. This stream of ever improving explanations has infinite reach, according to Deutsch: we are subject only to the laws of physics, and they impose no upper boundary to what we can eventually understand, control, and achieve. In his previous book, The Fabric of Reality, Deutsch describe the four deepest strands of existing knowledge-the theories of evolution, quantum physics, knowledge, and computation-arguing jointly they reveal a unified fabric of reality. In this new book, he applies that worldview to a wide range of issues and unsolved problems, from creativity and free will to the origin and future of the human species. Filled with startling new conclusions about human choice, optimism, scientific explanation, and the evolution of culture, The Beginning of Infinity is a groundbreaking book that will become a classic of its kind"--… (more)

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