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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The universe is more like a painting than a machine
This book is loaded. It discusses a plethora of fascinating scientific topics, and finds a way to connect with all of our living universe in able to make meaning of it all. Though some of what it includes may be rather difficult subjects, what the book puts forth is easy to understand... I'm no scientist and I apprectiated what was said. Synchronicity to Chaos Theory...
Published on December 11, 2000 by Joel Brown

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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars a messy new age metaphor soup
While marketing reasons exist for flashy titles, difficulty sets in when both the title and subtitle promise something they can't deliver-such is the case with F. David Peat's Philosopher's Stone.
A woefully unsatisfying read, Peat's book is a vague rhapsody through eight chapters loosely connected to quantum physics, chaos theory, and the nature of scientific...
Published on June 22, 2003 by SPK


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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars a messy new age metaphor soup, June 22, 2003
This review is from: The Philosopher's Stone : Chaos, Synchronicity and the Hidden Order of the World (Paperback)
While marketing reasons exist for flashy titles, difficulty sets in when both the title and subtitle promise something they can't deliver-such is the case with F. David Peat's Philosopher's Stone.
A woefully unsatisfying read, Peat's book is a vague rhapsody through eight chapters loosely connected to quantum physics, chaos theory, and the nature of scientific inquiry, but strongly tied to mysticism (Eastern, Western, and other) and New Age philosophy. The saying goes that one should not judge a book by its cover, but that maxim does not apply to the excerpts from reviews printed on back and inside covers to promote a book; thus one should cautiously note that The Philosopher's Stone was praised by the authors of Space, Time and Medicine, Recovering the Soul, Creating Alternative Futures, Parallel Universes, and The Eagle's Quest. The book's greatest fault is not its subject matter, but its circular logic, unsupported claims, and conclusions that stand in conflict with the material covered.
This is unfortunate precisely because Peat's book does contain sparks that could lead to a more rigorous, insightful, and provocative text, such as the growth of crystals, superconductors and superfluids, and the differences between scientific and human-perceptual models of space and time; instead of exploring these topics in detail and then teasing out wasy in which they point toward the book's thesis, they are merely superficial evidence for a conclusion the author never doubted. When scientists write about the history and philosophy of science, an in-depth knowledge the history and philosophy of science should be a prerequisite. Peat cites Bacon and Newton, but leaves out Hume and Kant-two philosophers important not because they are "correct" but because they deal with the questions of time, space, and causality at stake in quantum mechanics (QM). The author, however, engages in a naive romanticism by referring constantly to "ancient wisdom" (of Native Americans, Asian peoples, and others), by assuming an a-critical position regarding mankind's supposed Ur-connectedness with nature, and by misrepresenting both the harmony of the medieval world and the hyper-rationalism of the Renaissance and Enlightenment.
Although not entirely clear, Peat's explanation of fractals and of "fractional dimensions" is refreshing, as is his exposition of the Verhulst equation in connection with the size of insect colonies. Other books, however, provide more lucid discussions of strange attractors and non-linear dynamics in general. The seventh chapter is the point at which "chaos" makes its first and only appearance in the book; unfortunately it is not truly taken into account in the book's final chapter in which the author proposes an ethics of "gentle action." The Jungian concept of "synchronicity" (the subject and title of Peat's previous book) is poorly developed and vaguely defined here, although the author throws around the term uncritically in every chapter: phenomenon after phenomenon is labeled an "example of synchronicity." David Bohm's "implicate order" likewise suffers from superficial coverage; instead, one should read Bohm's own works, or get a good introduction in Peat's biography of Bohm, Infinite Potential (Addison-Wesley, 1997), a vastly superior book.
General statements about the nature of mind and consciousness, and of nature itself, will strike many readers as dogmatic, naive, and unsupported by any evidence in the book; other books that discuss the failures of artificial intelligence (AI), for example, describe or at least cite relevant efforts and experiments, and then conclude that computers and computing as we understand them are not able to imitate the mind-Peat states this as a categorical impossibility. The book begins with an assertion of the intrinsic and essential meaningfulness of the universe, and whenever scientific results (e.g. the double-slit experiment in QM) threaten objective truth and meaning, Peat searches for a way to salvage meaning, for he ontologizes meaning in such a way that it is connected with truth. The Philosopher's Stone rightly calls into question the truth-claims of "traditional" science-a task undertaken more credibly in other works-but insists upon its own truthfulness; thus it is neither insightful nor refreshing, neither challenging nor provocative.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The universe is more like a painting than a machine, December 11, 2000
By 
Joel Brown (Pittsburgh, PA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Philosopher's Stone : Chaos, Synchronicity and the Hidden Order of the World (Paperback)
This book is loaded. It discusses a plethora of fascinating scientific topics, and finds a way to connect with all of our living universe in able to make meaning of it all. Though some of what it includes may be rather difficult subjects, what the book puts forth is easy to understand... I'm no scientist and I apprectiated what was said. Synchronicity to Chaos Theory to Quantum Physics to phase space to unitary transformations and back. Many metaphors and diagrams are used to illustrate his concepts simply. It kept me up 'til 2 AM on a school night, it must be good!! Bond with our universe and be alive!!!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Minor Popular Work., October 16, 2012
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This review is from: The Philosopher's Stone : Chaos, Synchronicity and the Hidden Order of the World (Paperback)
Although the author of this work uses the right buzz words: "Chaos", "Synchronicity", "the Hidden Order"; the depth of scholarship is lacking and on the whole the work lack rigor. Pass on this one.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The universe is more like a painting than a machine, December 11, 2000
By 
Joel Brown (Pittsburgh, PA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Philosopher's Stone : Chaos, Synchronicity and the Hidden Order of the World (Paperback)
This book is loaded. It discusses a plethora of fascinating scientific topics, and finds a way to connect with all of our living universe in able to make meaning of it all. Though some of what it includes may be rather difficult subjects, what the book puts forth is easy to understand... I'm no scientist and I apprectiated what was said. Synchronicity to Chaos Theory to Quantum Physics to phase space to unitary transformations and back. Many metaphors and diagrams are used to illustrate his concepts simply. Bond with our universe and be alive!!!
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