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The Island of Knowledge: The Limits of…
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The Island of Knowledge: The Limits of Science and the Search for Meaning

by Marcelo Gleiser

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1143166,278 (3.91)1
"Do all questions have answers? How much can we know about the world? Is there such a thing as an ultimate truth? To be human is to want to know, to understand our origins and the meaning of our lives. In The Island of Knowledge, physicist Marcelo Gleiser traces our search for answers to the most fundamental questions of existence, the origin of the universe, the nature of reality, and the limits of knowledge. In so doing, he reaches a provocative conclusion: science, the main tool we use to find answers, is fundamentally limited. As science and its philosophical interpretations advance, we are often faced with the unsettling recognition of how much we don't know. Limits to our knowledge of the world arise both from our tools of exploration and from the nature of physical reality: the speed of light, the uncertainty principle, the second law of thermodynamics, the incompleteness theorem, and our own limitations as an intelligent species. Our view of physical reality depends fundamentally on who we are and on how we interact with the cosmos"--… (more)

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This book was at its best when the author wasn't giving physics lessons. I could have done without all of Part 2 and I think if I had skipped it entirely, it wouldn't have affected my understanding of the much more interesting and readable parts 1 and 3. ( )
  3njennn | Nov 25, 2018 |
4-16-16 ucsd bookstore Readable philosophy of science
  ntgntg | Apr 19, 2016 |
Physicist Gleiser draws upon the history of his subject, especially quantum mechanics, (and a little astronomy, philosophy, chemistry, mathematics, and neuroscience), to make a case for the position that not everything about the universe can be known. He opposes the multiverse concept, the anthropic principle, supernatural "explanations", mathematical platonism (where he badly fails to distinguish between abstraction and supernaturalism), and the idea that conscious machines are possible. Occasionally aggravating but generally very absorbing.
1 vote fpagan | Jul 22, 2014 |
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