Labyrinths Of Reason: Paradox, Puzzles And The Frailty Of Knowledge

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9780140131369: Labyrinths Of Reason: Paradox, Puzzles And The Frailty Of Knowledge

This sharply intelligent, consistently provocative book takes the reader on an astonishing, thought-provoking voyage into the realm of delightful uncertainty--a world of paradox in which logical argument leads to contradiction and common sense is seemingly rendered irrelevant.

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We conceive of and describe the world in ways that usually work just fine, but in the far corners of the labyrinth of reason, our best intentions fold back on themselves, and we end up trapped in an intractable loop or tumbling down a chute of infinite regress. Labyrinths of Reason is a collection of classic philosophical thought experiments and other imponderables that push reason and language to their logical limits. Beyond just idle brainteasers, William Poundstone shows that these mental exercises have profound implications for such fields as cryptography, decision theory, subatomic physics, and computer programming. But most of all, they're good, clean philosophical fun!

From Publishers Weekly:

Paradoxes challenge our thinking about thought itself. By starting out with seemingly reasonable premises and then sabotaging them, paradoxes suggest that we may be deluded in ways we can't even imagine; they illuminate our uncertainties about the nature of reality, where consciousness comes from, free will vs. determinism. In a dazzling tour de force Poundstone ( The Recursive Universe ) leads us through a series of paradoxes that move from Sherlock Holmes's puzzles to time travel, from dismembered brains in vats to multiple worlds, from the libraries of Atlantis to black holes. Eminently accessible, this delightful, rapid-fire entertainment will appeal to readers of Douglas Hofstadter's Godel, Escher, Bach. Time and again, the paradoxes discussed serve as springboards to uncharted realms where mathematics, philosophy, information science and cosmology intersect and shade into one another.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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