Book Of The Year: How Physics Makes Us Free



Book Of The Year: How Physics Makes Us Free

'...According to Ismael, philosophers and scientists will sometimes speak in terms of a kind of origin myth to illustrate the separate elements in a physical conception of the world by saying: "First, God chose the initial conditions. Then he chose the laws. And after that, there was no more choice; everything was set in place. The rest of the history of the world is just drawing out implications of those two choices. God just sat back and let it all play out like some grand carnival ride."

And therein lies the problem, she argues.

We pay careful attention to regularities in nature. We take the time to suss them out, and systematize the domains across which they generalize because they help us predict and control the parts of nature that we interact with. But as soon as we dignify regularities with the label “law,” there is a strong tendency to reify them and think of them as constraining the facts.

The big picture, she insists, is far more fluid...'


'...In summary, How Physics Makes Us Free takes the offensive against the view of global laws as iron rails that keep humans from acting contrary to them.

The resulting picture of the universe is one in which there are no iron rails that keep our behaviors narrowly in check. There is only emergent regularity and complex creatures who exploit the regularity for strategic purposes. Far from being a threat to human freedom, science will appear in this picture as a systematic, holistic handmaid to effective action.

Don’t wait to add this book to your science shelves.'


Lost Pilgrim
That sounds like my kind of book. I wonder if the title scares people though? I cringed a bit when I first saw it but then I read the whole post and found out what it is about. Now I am interested!