Why Beliefs Matter

Reflections on the Nature of Science

Author: E. Brian Davies

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199586209

Category: Mathematics

Page: 250

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`It is a brilliant work, beautifully written, and brimming with surprising information and stimulating philosophical speculations.' Notices of teh American Mathematical Society --

Why Beliefs Matter

Reflections on the Nature of Science

Author: E. Brian Davies

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 9780198704997

Category: Science

Page: 272

View: 5769

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This book discusses deep problems about our place in the world using a minimum of technical jargon. It argues that 'absolutist' ideas of the objectivity of science, dating back to Plato, continue to mislead generations of both theoretical physicists and theologians. It explains that the multi-layered nature of our present descriptions of the world is unavoidable, not because of anything about the world, but because of our own human natures.

Why Beliefs Matter

Reflections on the Nature of Science

Author: E. Brian Davies

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780191591563

Category: Mathematics

Page: 272

View: 5294

Release On

This book discusses deep problems about our place in the world with a minimum of technical jargon. It argues that 'absolutist' ideas dating back to Plato continue to mislead generations of theoretical physicists and theologians. It explains that the multi-layered nature of our present descriptions of the world is unavoidable, not because of anything about the world but because of our own human natures. It tries to rescue mathematics from the singular and exceptional status that it has been assigned, as much by those who understand it as by those who do not. It provides direct quotations from many of the important contributors to its subject, and concludes with a penetrating criticism of many of the recent contributions to the often acrimonious debates about science and religions.

Science in the Looking Glass

What Do Scientists Really Know?

Author: Edward Brian Davies

Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand

ISBN: 0198525435

Category: Science

Page: 295

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In this wide-ranging book, Brian Davies discusses the basis for scientists' claims to knowledge about the world. He looks at science historically, emphasizing not only the achievements of scientists from Galileo onwards, but also their mistakes. He rejects the claim that all scientific knowledge is provisional, by citing examples from chemistry, biology and geology. A major feature of the book is its defense of the view that mathematics was invented rather than discovered. A large number of examples are used to illustrate these points, and many of the deep issues in today's world discussed-from psychology and evolution to quantum theory, consciousness and even religious belief. Disentangling knowledge from opinion and aspiration is a hard task, but this book provided a clear guide to the difficulties.

The Outer Limits of Reason

What Science, Mathematics, and Logic Cannot Tell Us

Author: Noson S. Yanofsky

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 0262316781

Category: Science

Page: 424

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Many books explain what is known about the universe. This book investigates what cannot be known. Rather than exploring the amazing facts that science, mathematics, and reason have revealed to us, this work studies what science, mathematics, and reason tell us cannot be revealed. In The Outer Limits of Reason, Noson Yanofsky considers what cannot be predicted, described, or known, and what will never be understood. He discusses the limitations of computers, physics, logic, and our own thought processes.Yanofsky describes simple tasks that would take computers trillions of centuries to complete and other problems that computers can never solve; perfectly formed English sentences that make no sense; different levels of infinity; the bizarre world of the quantum; the relevance of relativity theory; the causes of chaos theory; math problems that cannot be solved by normal means; and statements that are true but cannot be proven. He explains the limitations of our intuitions about the world -- our ideas about space, time, and motion, and the complex relationship between the knower and the known.Moving from the concrete to the abstract, from problems of everyday language to straightforward philosophical questions to the formalities of physics and mathematics, Yanofsky demonstrates a myriad of unsolvable problems and paradoxes. Exploring the various limitations of our knowledge, he shows that many of these limitations have a similar pattern and that by investigating these patterns, we can better understand the structure and limitations of reason itself. Yanofsky even attempts to look beyond the borders of reason to see what, if anything, is out there.

The Sacred Depths of Nature

Author: Ursula Goodenough

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0195136292

Category: Nature

Page: 197

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For many of us, the scientific breakthroughs of our times--the Big Bang, evolution, quantum physics, and relativity--denote an existence that is bleak, devoid of meaning, or pointless. But here, eminent biologist Goodenough shows how the scientific worldview need not be a source of despair. Indeed, it can be a wellspring of solace and hope. This eloquent volume reconciles our contemporary scientific understanding of reality with our timeless spiritual yearnings for reverence and continuity. Addressing ideas like evolution, emotions, sexuality, and death, The Sacred Depths of Nature brings rich, uncluttered detail to the workings of nature in general and of living creatures in particular. Goodenough's clear thinking and writing will allow even non-scientists to appreciate that the origins of life and the universe are no less meaningful in light of our scientific understanding of them. At the end of each chapter, her spiritual reflections respond to nature's complexity with a vibrant emotional intensity and sense of reverent wonder.

Never Pure

Historical Studies of Science as If It Was Produced by People with Bodies, Situated in Time, Space, Culture, and Society, and Struggling for Credibility and Authority

Author: Steven Shapin

Publisher: JHU Press

ISBN: 0801894204

Category: History

Page: 552

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Steven Shapin argues that science, for all its immense authority and power, is and always has been a human endeavor, subject to human capacities and limits. Put simply, science has never been pure. To be human is to err, and we understand science better when we recognize it as the laborious achievement of fallible, imperfect, and historically situated human beings. Shapin’s essays collected here include reflections on the historical relationships between science and common sense, between science and modernity, and between science and the moral order. They explore the relevance of physical and social settings in the making of scientific knowledge, the methods appropriate to understanding science historically, dietetics as a compelling site for historical inquiry, the identity of those who have made scientific knowledge, and the means by which science has acquired credibility and authority. This wide-ranging and intensely interdisciplinary collection by one of the most distinguished historians and sociologists of science represents some of the leading edges of change in the scholarly understanding of science over the past several decades.

Rocks of Ages

Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life

Author: Stephen Jay Gould

Publisher: Ballantine Books

ISBN: 0307801411

Category: Science

Page: 256

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"People of good will wish to see science and religion at peace. . . . I do not see how science and religion could be unified, or even synthesized, under any common scheme of explanation or analysis; but I also do not understand why the two enterprises should experience any conflict." So states internationally renowned evolutionist and bestselling author Stephen Jay Gould in the simple yet profound thesis of his brilliant new book. Writing with bracing intelligence and elegant clarity, Gould sheds new light on a dilemma that has plagued thinking people since the Renaissance. Instead of choosing between science and religion, Gould asks, why not opt for a golden mean that accords dignity and distinction to each realm? At the heart of Gould's penetrating argument is a lucid, contemporary principle he calls NOMA (for nonoverlapping magisteria)--a "blessedly simple and entirely conventional resolution" that allows science and religion to coexist peacefully in a position of respectful noninterference. Science defines the natural world; religion, our moral world, in recognition of their separate spheres of influence. In elaborating and exploring this thought-provoking concept, Gould delves into the history of science, sketching affecting portraits of scientists and moral leaders wrestling with matters of faith and reason. Stories of seminal figures such as Galileo, Darwin, and Thomas Henry Huxley make vivid his argument that individuals and cultures must cultivate both a life of the spirit and a life of rational inquiry in order to experience the fullness of being human. In his bestselling books Wonderful Life, The Mismeasure of Man, and Questioning the Millennium, Gould has written on the abundance of marvels in human history and the natural world. In Rocks of Ages, Gould's passionate humanism, ethical discernment, and erudition are fused to create a dazzling gem of contemporary cultural philosophy. As the world's preeminent Darwinian theorist writes, "I believe, with all my heart, in a respectful, even loving concordat between . . . science and religion." From the Hardcover edition.

Aping Mankind

Author: Raymond Tallis

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317234634

Category: Philosophy

Page: 388

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Neuroscience has made astounding progress in the understanding of the brain. What should we make of its claims to go beyond the brain and explain consciousness, behaviour and culture? Where should we draw the line? In this brilliant critique Raymond Tallis dismantles "Neuromania", arising out of the idea that we are reducible to our brains and "Darwinitis" according to which, since the brain is an evolved organ, we are entirely explicable within an evolutionary framework. With precision and acuity he argues that the belief that human beings can be understood in biological terms is a serious obstacle to clear thinking about what we are and what we might become. Neuromania and Darwinitis deny human uniqueness, minimise the differences between us and our nearest animal kin and offer a grotesquely simplified account of humanity. We are, argues Tallis, infinitely more interesting and complex than we appear in the mirror of biology. Combative, fearless and thought-provoking, Aping Mankind is an important book and one that scientists, cultural commentators and policy-makers cannot ignore. This Routledge Classics edition includes a new preface by the Author.

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

50th Anniversary Edition

Author: Thomas S. Kuhn

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226458148

Category: Science

Page: 264

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A good book may have the power to change the way we see the world, but a great book actually becomes part of our daily consciousness, pervading our thinking to the point that we take it for granted, and we forget how provocative and challenging its ideas once were—and still are. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is that kind of book. When it was first published in 1962, it was a landmark event in the history and philosophy of science. Fifty years later, it still has many lessons to teach. With The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Kuhn challenged long-standing linear notions of scientific progress, arguing that transformative ideas don’t arise from the day-to-day, gradual process of experimentation and data accumulation but that the revolutions in science, those breakthrough moments that disrupt accepted thinking and offer unanticipated ideas, occur outside of “normal science,” as he called it. Though Kuhn was writing when physics ruled the sciences, his ideas on how scientific revolutions bring order to the anomalies that amass over time in research experiments are still instructive in our biotech age. This new edition of Kuhn’s essential work in the history of science includes an insightful introduction by Ian Hacking, which clarifies terms popularized by Kuhn, including paradigm and incommensurability, and applies Kuhn’s ideas to the science of today. Usefully keyed to the separate sections of the book, Hacking’s introduction provides important background information as well as a contemporary context. Newly designed, with an expanded index, this edition will be eagerly welcomed by the next generation of readers seeking to understand the history of our perspectives on science.

The Pea and the Sun

A Mathematical Paradox

Author: Leonard M. Wapner

Publisher: A K Peters/CRC Press

ISBN: 9781568813271

Category: Mathematics

Page: 232

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Take an apple and cut it into five pieces. Would you believe that these five pieces can be reassembled in such a fashion so as to create two apples equal in shape and size to the original? Would you believe that you could make something as large as the sun by breaking a pea into a finite number of pieces and putting it back together again? Neither did Leonard Wapner, author of The Pea and the Sun, when he was first introduced to the Banach-Tarski paradox, which asserts exactly such a notion. Written in an engaging style, The Pea and the Sun catalogues the people, events, and mathematics that contributed to the discovery of Banach and Tarski's magical paradox. Wapner makes one of the most interesting problems of advanced mathematics accessible to the non-mathematician.

War of the Worldviews

Where Science and Spirituality Meet-and Do Not

Author: Deepak Chopra,Leonard Mlodinow

Publisher: Harmony

ISBN: 0307886891

Category: Religion

Page: 319

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Two authors -- one from the field of physics, the other from the realm of spirituality -- debate the most fundamental questions about human existance.

The Science of Story

Brand Is a Reflection of Culture

Author: Adam Fridman,Hank Ostholthoff

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780999876503

Category: Branding (Marketing)

Page: 222

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When you think about an impactful story, what comes to mind? Is it a novel on a rainy afternoon, or a magical fairytale to your imaginative children before bed? Can you think of a story you were told along your path and how it has shaped your perception or values still to this moment? The reality is that we tell stories everyday. They are the vehicles of soulful information. They emotionalize the information and create connection. They show our commonalities, humanity, and identify our shared beliefs. Ultimately guiding how we conduct ourselves in every interaction and decision. The Science of Story is the field guide for every business leader, marketer, HR professional, and every individual that is looking to transform and grow their organization. Not only are these conversations impactful to businesses of any size or industry, but they have also guided the subsequent research that followed. Learn more about how to take your career or company to the next level with this modern handbook full of ways to implement best practices from top business leaders across the globe. From behind the scenes purpose transformations to practical examples and everything in between, this book uncovers what it takes to build a purpose-driven, enlightened workforce.

Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension

A Mathematician's Journey Through Narcissistic Numbers, Optimal Dating Algorithms, at Least Two Kinds of Infinity, and More

Author: Matt Parker

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN: 0374710376

Category: Mathematics

Page: 464

View: 4519

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A book from the stand-up mathematician that makes math fun again! Math is boring, says the mathematician and comedian Matt Parker. Part of the problem may be the way the subject is taught, but it's also true that we all, to a greater or lesser extent, find math difficult and counterintuitive. This counterintuitiveness is actually part of the point, argues Parker: the extraordinary thing about math is that it allows us to access logic and ideas beyond what our brains can instinctively do—through its logical tools we are able to reach beyond our innate abilities and grasp more and more abstract concepts. In the absorbing and exhilarating Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension, Parker sets out to convince his readers to revisit the very math that put them off the subject as fourteen-year-olds. Starting with the foundations of math familiar from school (numbers, geometry, and algebra), he reveals how it is possible to climb all the way up to the topology and to four-dimensional shapes, and from there to infinity—and slightly beyond. Both playful and sophisticated, Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension is filled with captivating games and puzzles, a buffet of optional hands-on activities that entices us to take pleasure in math that is normally only available to those studying at a university level. Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension invites us to re-learn much of what we missed in school and, this time, to be utterly enthralled by it.

Conjectures and Refutations

The Growth of Scientific Knowledge

Author: Karl Popper

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1135971374

Category: Philosophy

Page: 608

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Conjectures and Refutations is one of Karl Popper's most wide-ranging and popular works, notable not only for its acute insight into the way scientific knowledge grows, but also for applying those insights to politics and to history. It provides one of the clearest and most accessible statements of the fundamental idea that guided his work: not only our knowledge, but our aims and our standards, grow through an unending process of trial and error.

Why Religion is Natural and Science is Not

Author: Robert N. McCauley

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199341540

Category: Psychology

Page: 335

View: 340

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A comparison of the cognitive foundations of religion and science and an argument that religion is cognitively natural and that science is cognitively unnatural.

Faith Versus Fact

Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible

Author: Jerry A. Coyne

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0143108263

Category: Religion

Page: 336

View: 4462

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The best-selling author of Why Evolution Is True discusses the negative role of religion in education, politics, medicine and social policy, explaining how religion cannot provide verifiable or responsible answers to world problems.

The Universe in a Single Atom

The Convergence of Science And Spirituality

Author: Dalai Lama XIV Bstan-ʼdzin-rgya-mtsho

Publisher: Harmony

ISBN: 0767920813

Category: Religion

Page: 216

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Explains how science and religion can work together to alleviate human suffering, arguing that understanding the connections between science and faith holds the key to achieving peace both within oneself and the world at large.

The Origins of Creativity

Author: Edward O. Wilson

Publisher: Liveright Publishing

ISBN: 1631493191

Category: Science

Page: 256

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An eloquent exploration of creativity, The Origins of Creativity grapples with the question of how this uniquely human expression—so central to our identity as individuals and, collectively, as a species—came about and how it has manifested itself throughout the history of our species. In this profound and lyrical book, one of our most celebrated biologists offers a sweeping examination of the relationship between the humanities and the sciences: what they offer to each other, how they can be united, and where they still fall short. Both endeavours, Edward O. Wilson reveals, have their roots in human creativity—the defining trait of our species. Reflecting on the deepest origins of language, storytelling, and art, Wilson demonstrates how creativity began not ten thousand years ago, as we have long assumed, but over one hundred thousand years ago in the Paleolithic age. Chronicling this evolution of creativity from primate ancestors to humans, The Origins of Creativity shows how the humanities, spurred on by the invention of language, have played a largely unexamined role in defining our species. And in doing so, Wilson explores what we can learn about human nature from a surprising range of creative endeavors—the instinct to create gardens, the use of metaphors and irony in speech, and the power of music and song. Our achievements in science and the humanities, Wilson notes, make us uniquely advanced as a species, but also give us the potential to be supremely dangerous, most worryingly in our abuse of the planet. The humanities in particular suffer from a kind of anthropomorphism, encumbered by a belief that we are the only species among millions that seem to matter, yet Wilson optimistically reveals how researchers will have to address this parlous situation by pushing further into the realm of science, especially fields such as evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and anthropology. With eloquence and humanity, Wilson calls for a transformational "Third Enlightenment," in which the blending of these endeavors will give us a deeper understanding of the human condition and our crucial relationship with the natural world.

John Henry Newman on the Nature of the Mind

Reason in Religion, Science, and the Humanities

Author: Jane Rupert

Publisher: Lexington Books

ISBN: 0739140477

Category: Religion

Page: 123

View: 1879

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Jane Rupert shows how Catholic philosopher, theologian, and priest John Henry Newman sheds light on contemporary liberal education and the humanities by distinguishing between the different ways reason functions in science, religion, and in literature. Rupert discusses the range of Newman's thought on several fronts, including intellectual history, theories of knowing, the controversy between science and religion, the defense of the liberal arts and the aims of Catholic education.