The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World

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9780670022755: The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World

Selected by The New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of the Year A bold and all-embracing exploration of the nature and progress of knowledge from one of today's great thinkers.

Throughout history, mankind has struggled to understand life's mysteries, from the mundane to the seemingly miraculous. In this important new book, David Deutsch, an award-winning pioneer in the field of quantum computation, argues that explanations have a fundamental place in the universe. They have unlimited scope and power to cause change, and the quest to improve them is the basic regulating principle not only of science but of all successful human endeavor. This stream of ever improving explanations has infinite reach, according to Deutsch: we are subject only to the laws of physics, and they impose no upper boundary to what we can eventually understand, control, and achieve.

In his previous book, The Fabric of Reality, Deutsch describe the four deepest strands of existing knowledge-the theories of evolution, quantum physics, knowledge, and computation-arguing jointly they reveal a unified fabric of reality. In this new book, he applies that worldview to a wide range of issues and unsolved problems, from creativity and free will to the origin and future of the human species. Filled with startling new conclusions about human choice, optimism, scientific explanation, and the evolution of culture, The Beginning of Infinity is a groundbreaking book that will become a classic of its kind.

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About the Author:

David Deutsch, internationally acclaimed for his seminal publications on quantum computation, is a member of the Quantum Computation and Cryptography Research Group at the Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford University.

Review:

"Brilliant and exhilarating . . . Deutsch is so smart, and so strange, and so creative, and so inexhaustibly curious, and so vividly intellectually alive, that it is a distinct privilege to spend time in his head."
--The New York Times Book Review 

"[Deutsch] makes the case for infinite progress and such passion, imagination, and quirky brilliance that I couldn't help enjoying his argument. . . . [He] mounts a compelling challenge to scientific reductionism."
--The Wall Street Journal

"Provocative and persuasive . . . Address[es] subjects from artificial intelligence to the evolution of culture and creativity."
--The Economist  

“[Deutsch’s books] are among the most ambitious works of nonfiction I have read, in that their aim is no less than an explanation of all reality. . . . They are treatises that weave together not just physics and astronomy but biology, mathematics, computer science, political science, psychology, philosophy, aesthetics, and—most important for Deutsch—epistemology, among other fields, in fashioning a profound new view of the world and the universe.”
--The New Yorker’s Book Bench

“Deutsch has an important message . . . that our destiny is to be explainers of the world around us, and explaining is the key to our mastery. . . . He writes clearly and thinks wisely. His book could help the world toward better ways of dealing with its problems.”
--Freeman Dyson, The New York Review of Books 

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