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.
'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. A New York Times bestseller on first publication, this new paperback edition provides a much-needed new take on history's greatest conundrum, in the vein of previous bestsellers like Michael Brooks' 13 Things that Don't Make Sense.
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.
Contemporary Entanglements of Religion and Secularity
Author: Wayne Glausser
Pubpsher: Oxford University Press
Something Old, Something New: Contemporary Entanglements of Religion and Secularity offers a fresh perspective on debates surrounding a significant if underappreciated relationship between religious and secular interests. In entanglement, secularity competes with religion, but neither sideachieves simple dominance by displacing the other. As secular ideas and practices entangle with their religious counterparts, they interact and alter each other in a contentious but oddly intimate relationship. In each chapter, Wayne Glausser focuses on a topic of contemporary relevance in which something old - e. g., the sacrament of extreme unction, Greek rhetorical tropes, scholastic theology - entangles with something new: psilocybin therapy for the dying, new atheism, cognitive science. As traditionalreligious knowledge and values come into conflict with their secular counterparts, the old ideas undergo stress and adaptation, but the influence works in both directions. Those with primary allegiance to secular interests find themselves entangled with aspects of religious thinking. Whether they doit intentionally or without knowing, entangled secularists engage with and sometimes borrow from older paradigms they believe they have surpassed. Glausser's approach offers a new perspective in the conversation between believers and secularists. Something Old, Something New is a book that theists,atheists, agnostics, and everyone still searching for the right label will find respectful but provocative.
This book provides a philosophical argument for the reasonableness of Christian faith in today's world. Diogenes Allen shows how Christian belief is now being supported by scientific and philosophical principles--perhaps for the first time in 300 years.
Why are we here? Who really wrote the Bible? Was Jesus actually a messenger of God? Can science and religion be reconciled? Do we have free will? Divine Wisdom and Warning: Decoded Messages from God introduces a new way of using the ancient system of Gematria to solve these and other timeless questions. Nicholas Gura has developed an original technique, easily reproducible without the use of computers, that uncovers hidden, encoded messages in the Bible. These mathematically generated messages are both profound and metaphoric and will contribute to the meaning, quality, and purpose of our lives. Divine Wisdom and Warning reveals new insights on the parting of the Red Sea, suffering, quantum physics, the environment, treatment of women, and answers the eternal question: What is God’s true religion?
In a critical dialogue with the metaphysical tradition from Plato to Hegel to contemporary schools of thought, the author convincingly argues that traditional rationalist metaphysics has failed to accomplish its goal of demonstrating the existence of a divine cause and moral purpose of the world. To replace the defective rationalist metaphysics, the author builds a new metaphysics on the idea that moods and affects make manifest the world's felt meanings; he argues that each feature of the world is a felt meaning in the sense that each feature is a source of a feeling-response, if and when it appears. The author asserts that we must synthesize our two ways of knowing-poetic evocations and exact analyses-in order to decide which mood or affect is the appropriate appreciation of any given feature of the world. Smith gives evocative and exact explications of such features as the world's temporality, appearance, and mind-independency, as these features appear in the appropriate recitations.
To start her literary career, George Eliot began translating German theological texts into English. Having learned German during her time in Switzerland, the texts were seen as wonderfully accurate translations and gained her some early recognition as a scholar.
The theory explored in this book contends that animals are not controlled through predation but because they cannot obtain enough of the food they must have to reproduce and grow. This book explains how this comes about in nature and describes some of the ways in which animals have evolved to cope.