Black Mischief: Language, Life, Logic, Luck-Second Edition

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9780156130639: Black Mischief: Language, Life, Logic, Luck-Second Edition

A protean look at the science establishment-as well as the personalities behind the scenes-in such fields as behavioral psychology, linguistics, and economics.

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About the Author:

David Berlinski is the author of three novels and four works of nonfiction, including the bestselling A Tour of the Calculus. Berlinski received his Ph.D. from Princeton University and is a regular contributor to Commentary and Forbes ASAP. He lives in Paris.

From Publishers Weekly:

Berlinski (author of the notable On Systems Analysis has saturated himself in advanced mathematics, analytical philosophy and, to some degree, modern linguistics. Here he swarms over the reader from each of these directions, describing in amusing-to-ribald fashion his experiences in labs and at seminars with famed scientists in San Francisco, Paris, Vienna, Trieste and elsewhere. His theme: that contemporary science, with its almost-daily discoveries and apparent marvels, seems firmly oriented toward the future, but underlying its key assumptions is a "system of belief" still tied to 19th century mechanistic determinism despite the innovations of Einstein, quantum mechanics, Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and molecular biology. Berlinski's intellectual roller-coaster comes at last to the notion of randomness, and in brilliant but dizzying final chapters that discuss DNA, catastrophe theory, metric space and "life as a language-like system," he seems to arrive at a nonmystical vitalism that may well bring his peers to their feetcheering or protesting.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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