8/21/2005

Book: The End of Science

Scientific American columnist Horgan here interviews an impressive array of scientists and philosophers, who seem sharply divided over the prospects and possibilities of science. Among the pessimists, molecular biologist Gunther Stent suggests that science is reaching a point of incremental, diminishing returns as it comes up against the limits of knowledge; philosopher Thomas Kuhn sees science as a nonrational process that does not converge with truth; Vienna-born thinker Paul Feyerabend objects to science's pretensions to certainty and its potential to stamp out the diversity of human thought and culture. More optimistic are particle physicist Edward Witten, pioneer of superstring theory (which posits a universe of 10 dimensions); robotics engineer Hans Moravec, who envisions superintelligent creative robots; and physicist Roger Penrose, who theorizes that quantum effects percolating through the brain underlie consciousness. Other interviewees are Francis Crick, Noam Chomsky, David Bohm, Karl Popper, Murray Gell-Mann, Sheldon Glashow, Ilya Prigogine and Clifford Geertz. Despite the dominant doomsaying tone, this colloquium leaves much room for optimism.

Amazon.com: Books: The End of Science

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