Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story

ISBN-10: 0871403595
ISBN-13: 9780871403599
Edition: N/A
Authors: Jim Holt
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Description: Tackling the “darkest question in all of philosophy” with “raffish erudition” (Dwight Garner, New York Times), author Jim Holt explores the greatest metaphysical mystery of all: why is there something rather than nothing? This runaway bestseller,  More...

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Book details

List price: $16.95
Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publication date: 4/8/2013
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 320
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 0.726
Language: English

Tackling the “darkest question in all of philosophy” with “raffish erudition” (Dwight Garner, New York Times), author Jim Holt explores the greatest metaphysical mystery of all: why is there something rather than nothing? This runaway bestseller, which has captured the imagination of critics and the public alike, traces our latest efforts to grasp the origins of the universe. Holt adopts the role of cosmological detective, traveling the globe to interview a host of celebrated scientists, philosophers, and writers, “testing the contentions of one against the theories of the other” (Jeremy Bernstein, Wall Street Journal). As he interrogates his list of ontological culprits, the brilliant yet slyly humorous Holt contends that we might have been too narrow in limiting our suspects to God versus the Big Bang. This “deft and consuming” (David Ulin, Los Angeles Times) narrative humanizes the profound questions of meaning and existence it confronts.

Prologue: A Quick Proof That There Must Be Something Rather Than Nothing, for Modern People Who Lead Busy Lives
Confronting the Mystery
Interlude: Could Our World Have Been Created by a Hacker?
Philosophical Tour d'Horizon
Interlude: The Arithmetic of Nothingness
A Brief History of Nothing
The Great Rejectionist
Finite or Infinite?
Interlude: Night Thoughts at the Cafe de Flore
The Inductive Theist of North Oxford
Interlude: The Supreme Brute Fact
The Magus of the Multiverse
Interlude: The End of Explanation
The Ultimate Free Lunch?
Interlude: Nausea
Waiting for the Final Theory
Interlude: A Word on Many Worlds
Platonic Reflections
Interlude: It from Bit
"The Ethical Requiredness of There Being Something"
Interlude: An Hegelian in Paris
The Last Word from All Souls
Epistolary Interlude: The Proof
The World as a Bit of Light Verse
The Self: Do I Really Exist?
Return to Nothingness
Epilogue: Over the Seine
Acknowledgments
Notes
Index

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