Item Details

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

Marcelo Gleiser
Format
Book
Published
New York : Basic Books, a member of the Perseus Books Group, [2014]
Language
English
ISBN
9780465031719, 0465031714, 9780465080731 (e-book)
Summary
"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"--
Contents
  • The Island of Knowledge
  • The origin of the world and the nature of the heavens. The will to believe ; Beyond space and time ; To be, or to become? That is the question ; Lessons from Plato's dream ; The transformative power of a new observational tool ; Cracking open the dome of heaven ; Science as nature's Grand Narrative ; The plasticity of space ; The restless universe ; there is no now ; Cosmic blindness ; splitting infinities ; Rolling downhill ; Counting universes ; Interlude : a promenade along the string landscape ; Can we test the multiverse hypothesis?
  • From alchemy to the quantum : the elusive nature of reality. Everything floats in nothingness ; Admirable force and efficacy of art and nature ; The elusive nature of heat ; Mysterious light ; Learning to let go ; The tale of the intrepid anthropologist ; What waves in the quantum realm? ; Can we know what is real? ; Who is afraid of quantum ghosts? ; From whom the bell tolls ; Consciousness and the quantum world ; Back to the beginning
  • Mind and meaning. On the laws of humans and the laws of nature ; Incompleteness ; Sinister dreams of transhuman machines, or, The world as information ; Awe and meaning.
Description
xxiv, 335 pages ; 25 cm
Notes
Includes bibliographical references (pages 313-318) and index.
Technical Details
  • Access in Virgo Classic

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    a| The Island of Knowledge -- The origin of the world and the nature of the heavens. The will to believe ; Beyond space and time ; To be, or to become? That is the question ; Lessons from Plato's dream ; The transformative power of a new observational tool ; Cracking open the dome of heaven ; Science as nature's Grand Narrative ; The plasticity of space ; The restless universe ; there is no now ; Cosmic blindness ; splitting infinities ; Rolling downhill ; Counting universes ; Interlude : a promenade along the string landscape ; Can we test the multiverse hypothesis? -- From alchemy to the quantum : the elusive nature of reality. Everything floats in nothingness ; Admirable force and efficacy of art and nature ; The elusive nature of heat ; Mysterious light ; Learning to let go ; The tale of the intrepid anthropologist ; What waves in the quantum realm? ; Can we know what is real? ; Who is afraid of quantum ghosts? ; From whom the bell tolls ; Consciousness and the quantum world ; Back to the beginning -- Mind and meaning. On the laws of humans and the laws of nature ; Incompleteness ; Sinister dreams of transhuman machines, or, The world as information ; Awe and meaning.
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