The Beginning of Infinity
Explanations That Transform the World
The New York Times bestseller: A provocative, imaginative exploration of the nature and progress of knowledge
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.
-David Albert, The New York Times Book Review
"[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. They are guaranteed to be either provocative or life-changing."
-Nathaniel Stein, The Book Bench (The New Yorker)
"Provocative and persuasive...Mr. Deutsch's previous tome, The Fabric of Reality, took a broad-ranging sweep...The Beginning of Infinity is equally bold, addressing subjects from artificial intelligence to the evolution of culture and of creativity; its conclusions are just as profound."
"Building upward and outward from the foundation laid in The Fabric of Reality, Deutsch tells a coherent and compelling story about topics as diverse as why flowers (and faces) are beautiful, the mathematical impossibility of fairly apportioning seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, why it's harder to be a conformist than you think, and which cultures can and cannot sustain themselves (hint: the conformists are doomed). Once you have been exposed to his extraordinarily original worldview-or perhaps multiverse-view-it's impossible to see these and many other topics in quite the same way again."
-Neal Stephenson, author of Anathem and Cryptonomicon
"Reading The Beginning of Infinity is as fun as reading Philip K. Dick and as illuminating as reading Bertrand Russell. Deutsch teaches us how to understand that what is counterintuitive may be true; he teaches us this so well that it may even become intuitive. This book is truly marvelous."
-Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances
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