Peter Rabins shows incredible breadth of knowledge and his thesis--that there are three distinct approaches to causation, appropriate for different types of questions--is compelling. His writing is engaging, and the subject matter is deeply relevant.
(Simon Levin, Princeton University, author of Fragile Dominion: Complexity and the Commons
Peter Rabin's book draws upon science, statistics, philosophy, and religion to stretch readers' thinking about the 'why' and 'how' of what happens. It provides a remarkably lucid synthesis of diverse ideas about causality based on superb scholarship and is always entertaining. I heartily recommend it.
(David Reuben, MD, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles)
From the two year old child's endlessly nested 'why' questions to the Old Testament and the modern scientist, and through many philosophers in between, Peter Rabins takes us on a fascinating quest in search of answers to that seemingly simplest of all questions: Why? Simple but enigmatic because, like the two year old, how do we know when to be satisfied and how do we know when we know? Throughout The Why of Things, Rabins examines fundamental aspects of how we know--or don't. In his erudite yet accessible book, readers will learn everything from philosophical categorization to nonlinear dynamics in a way that will suddenly make sense, even if they never do find out exactly why.
(Stuart Firestein, Columbia University, author of Ignorance: How It Drives Science
if you're looking to learn how to better reason things out through logic and comparative analysis, then this one may be for you.
(Lifelong Dewey Blog
Quite simply, wow. This is one of the most complex, mind-boggling and ultimately satisfying books I have read in a very long time.
(The Garden Window Blog
About the Author
Peter Rabins is the Richman Family Professor and director of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neuropsychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University and a member of the Johns Hopkins Berman Bioethics Institute. He has devoted his career to studying psychiatric disorders in the elderly and is the author or editor of eight books and coauthor of the landmark title The Thirty-Six-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for Persons with Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementing Illnesses, and Memory Loss in Later Life.