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Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads to Another
by Philip Ball
"Critical mass asks the question, Why is society the way it is? How does it emerge from a morass of individual interactions? Are there laws of nature that guide human affairs? Is anything inevitable about the ways humans behave and organize themselves, or do we have complete freedom in creating our societies? In short, just how, in human affairs, does one thing lead to another?" "In searching for answers, the science writer Philip Ball argues that we can enlist help from a seemingly unlikely source: physics. The first person to think this way was the seventeenth-century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes. His approach, described in Leviathan, was based not on utopian wishful thinking, but rather on Galileo's mechanics; it was an attempt to construct a moral and political theory from scientific first principles. Although his solution - absolute monarchy - is unappealing today, Hobbes sparked a new way of thinking about human behavior in looking for the "scientific" rules of society. Adam Smith, Immanuel Kant, Auguste Comte, and John Stuart Mill pursued this same idea from different political perspectives."--Jacket.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)501Natural sciences and mathematics General Science Philosophy and theory
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