Lawless Universe: Science and the Hunt for Reality

Overview

Can science fully comprehend the whole of the material universe? Not according to Joe Rosen.

There is no question that advancements in science—especially in physics—have radically changed our concept of nature, revolutionizing our view of the universe, even of reality itself. Rosen argues, though, that the material universe in its entirety lies beyond science. Anyone who claims otherwise, who proposes a scientific Theory of Everything to ...

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Lawless Universe: Science and the Hunt for Reality

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Overview

Can science fully comprehend the whole of the material universe? Not according to Joe Rosen.

There is no question that advancements in science—especially in physics—have radically changed our concept of nature, revolutionizing our view of the universe, even of reality itself. Rosen argues, though, that the material universe in its entirety lies beyond science. Anyone who claims otherwise, who proposes a scientific Theory of Everything to explain all aspects and phenomena of nature, only misleads and misinforms.

Taking science—and the scientific method—down a peg, Rosen asserts that any understanding of the whole universe, if it is to be found at all, can come only from outside science, from nonscientific modes of comprehension and insight. He believes that popularizers of science—think Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins—are mistaken when they declare that science is on the verge of unlocking all the secrets of the universe. Perhaps without realizing it, they have crossed into the realm of metaphysics in an attempt to explain the unexplainable.

In Lawless Universe Rosen explores just how far science can go in comprehending nature. He considers the separate—but entangled—domains of science and metaphysics and examines the all-too-often ignored boundary between the objective and the subjective.

Thought-provoking and controversial, Lawless Universe is a complement to, even an antidote for, books that create the misimpression that science can explain everything.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

GW Magazine/GW Today
Dr. Rosen knocks down the structure of good science and rebuilds it for the reader, brick by brick, beginning with the most basic differences between objectivity and subjectivity. And through topics that might otherwise leave readers feeling adrift—like quantum theory, metaphysics, and the anthropic principle—Dr. Rosen proves a calm, conscientious guide who sticks by the reader's side.
Contemporary Physics
An interesting read.

— P.J. Bussey

Metascience
Rosen's book is an ambitious and easily accessible philosophical reflection of physics by a theoretical physicist.

— Alesander Reutlinger

Metascience - Alesander Reutlinger
Rosen's book is an ambitious and easily accessible philosophical reflection of physics by a theoretical physicist.
Contemporary Physics - P.J. Bussey
An interesting read.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801895814
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 6/21/2010
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Joe Rosen was, until retirement, a professor of physics at Tel Aviv University and the University of Central Arkansas. Currently, he is an adjunct professor in the Department of Physics at The George Washington University. His many books include Symmetry Discovered, A Symmetry Primer for Scientists, Symmetry in Science, and Symmetry Rules.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 Objective or Subjective: That Is the Question 1

Objective and Subjective 1

The Objective Outer World: Reality 4

Our Subjective Inner Worlds: Fantasies 10

Objective or Subjective? 13

Objective Truth 15

Subjective Truth 15

Logical Truth 20

Dealing with the Subjective 21

Dealing with the Objective 24

2 The Science of Nature and the Nature of Science 27

Preliminaries 27

Science 30

Nature 31

Reproducibility 32

Predictability 36

Law 39

3 Theory: Explanation, Not Speculation 45

Theory 45

Logical Implication and Objective Truth 46

Generality and Fundamentality 47

Naturality 48

Causation 50

Simplicity and Unification 51

Beauty 52

Falsifiability 54

An Archetypal Example 55

4 Is Science the Whole Story? 59

Science and Metaphysics 59

Transcendence and Nontranscendence 61

5 Our Unique Universe 69

The Lawless Universe 69

Cosmology 75

6 Nature's Laws 85

Realism and Idealism 85

Reductionism and Holism 91

Observer and Observed 94

Quasi-Isolated System and Surroundings 97

Initial State and Law of Evolution 102

Extended Mach Principle 106

Whence Order? 111

7 Facing the Universe 121

Human Science 121

Anthropic Principle 122

Whence Order? (Again) 132

Space and Time 134

8 The Hunt for Reality 140

Metaphysical Positions 140

Objective Reality 143

Perceived Reality 145

Partially Hidden Reality 148

Transcendent Reality 150

Coda 154

Glossary 161

Combined Bibliography 171

Index 177

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