The Big Questions
The Big Questions
Tackling the Problems of Philosophy with Ideas from Mathematics, Economics and Physics
Free Press, Hardcover, 9781439148211, 288pp.
Publication Date: November 3, 2009
In the wake of his enormously popular books The Armchair Economist and More Sex Is Safer Sex, Steven Landsburg uses concepts from mathematics, economics, and physics to address the big questions in philosophy: What is real? What can we know? What is the difference between right and wrong? And how should we live?
Widely renowned for his lively explorations of economics, in his fourth book Landsburg branches out into mathematics and physics as well—disciplines that, like economics, the author loves for their beauty, their logical clarity, and their profound and indisputable truth—to take us on a provocative and utterly entertaining journey through the questions that have preoccupied philosophers through the ages. The author begins with the broadest possible categories—Reality and Unreality; Knowledge and Belief; Right and Wrong—and then focuses his exploration on specific concerns: from a mathematical analysis of the arguments for the existence of God; to the real meaning of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and the Godel Incompleteness Theorem; to the moral choices we face in the marketplace and the voting booth.
Stimulating, illuminating, and always surprising, The Big Questions challenges readers to re-evaluate their most fundamental beliefs and reveals the relationship between the loftiest philosophical quests and our everyday lives.
Steven E. Landsburg is a Professor of Economics at the University of Rochester. He is the author of The Armchair Economist, Fair Play, More Sex is Safer Sex, The Big Questions, two textbooks in economics, a forthcoming textbook on general relativity and cosmology, and over 30 journal articles in mathematics, economics and philosophy. His current research is in the area of quantum game theory. He blogs daily at www.TheBigQuestions.com. For over ten years, he wrote the monthly "Everyday Economics" column in Slate magazine, and has written regularly for Forbes and occasionally for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. He appeared as a commentator on the PBS/Turner Broadcasting series "Damn Right", and has made over 200 appearances on radio and television broadcasts over the past few years.
There are questions, and then, there are BIG questions. For instance, how do we know right from wrong? Why is the Universe here? Steven Landsburg's got logic, physics and math-based answers in his book, The Big Questions. More at NPR.org
NPR Audio Player Requires Flash Upgrade: Please upgrade your plug-in to view this content.