The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World

The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World

by David Deutsch


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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

ISBN-13: 9780143121350
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/29/2012
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 496
Sales rank: 34,973
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Born in Haifa, Israel, David Deutsch was educated at Cambridge and Oxford Universities. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and a professor of physics at the University of Oxford, where he is a member of the Centre for Quantum Computation. His papers on quantum computation laid the foundations for that field, and he is an authority on the theory of parallel universes. His honors include the Institute of Physics' Paul Dirac Prize and Medal. The author of The Fabric of Reality, he lives in England.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vi

Introduction vii

1 The Reach of Explanations 1

2 Closer to Reality 34

3 The Spark 42

4 Creation 78

5 The Reality of Abstractions 107

6 The Jump to Universality 125

7 Artificial Creativity 148

8 A Window on Infinity 164

9 Optimism 196

10 A Dream of Socrates 223

11 The Multiverse 258

12 A Physicist's History of Bad Philosophy 305

13 Choices 326

14 Why are Flowers Beautiful? 353

15 The Evolution of Culture 369

16 The Evolution of Creativity 398

17 Unsustainable 418

18 The Beginning 443

Bibliography 460

Index 463

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