The beginning of infinity : explanations that transform the world (#0437DY2)

by Deutsch, David

5 reviews & awards | 3 full-text reviews

Paperback Penguin Books, c2011, p2012
Price: USD 19.30
Description: vii, 487 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Dewey: 501; Int Lvl: AD


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From Follett

Includes bibliographical references (page 460-461) and index. The author argues that all progress, in scientific understanding, technology, political institutions, moral values, art, and every aspect of human welfare, has resulted from the quest for what he calls good explanations, and contends that progress has no necessary end.

From the Publisher
The New York Times bestseller: A provocative, imaginative exploration of the nature and progress of knowledge

"Dazzling." - Steven Pinker, The Guardian

In this groundbreaking book, award-winning physicist David Deutsch argues that explanations have a fundamental place in the universe--and that improving them is the basic regulating principle of all successful human endeavor. Taking us on a journey through every fundamental field of science, as well as the history of civilization, art, moral values, and the theory of political institutions, Deutsch tracks how we form new explanations and drop bad ones, explaining the conditions under which progress--which he argues is potentially boundless--can and cannot happen. Hugely ambitious and highly original, The Beginning of Infinity explores and establishes deep connections between the laws of nature, the human condition, knowledge, and the possibility for progress.

Product Details
  • Publisher: Penguin Books
  • Publication Date: May 29, 2012
  • Format: Paperback
  • Dewey: 501
  • Classifications: Nonfiction
  • Description: vii, 487 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
  • ISBN-10: 0-14-312135-9
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-14-312135-0
  • Follett Number: 0437DY2
  • Interest Level: AD

Reviews & Awards
  • Choice, 12/01/11
  • Kirkus Reviews starred, 06/01/11
  • Library Journal, 06/01/11
  • New York Times, 08/14/11
  • Science Books & Films (AAAS), 10/01/11

Full-Text Reviews
Booklist (June 1, 2011 (Vol. 107, No. 19))
Famous for his devotion to progress, Whig historian Thomas Macaulay looks timid compared to Deutsch. For Deutsch dares to extend the motif of progress from the very dawnings of human civilization, when ancient Babylonians first created a positional system of numbers, into an imagined future, when humans will upload their personalities into computers and technologically harness dark energy to generate a neverending cascade of new knowledge. Deutsch draws the inspiration for this exhilarating ride from a stream of revolutionary ideas, each explaining the world, man, and the cosmos in exciting new ways, yet each also provoking criticism and correction, thereby incubating the next idea in the grand chain. To be sure, readers may find Deutsch’s argument for progress most compelling when he is charting human enterprises with transparent objectives (e.g., mathematics, a discipline revolutionized by theories that dispelled ancient fears of infinity). When he turns to aesthetics, philosophy, and politics, Deutsch brushes aside dark ambiguities that would delay his frenetic march. Audacious theorizing that swallows the universe whole!

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