'Nature and the Greeks' and 'Science and Humanism' (Canto Classics) Illustrated Edition
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From the Back Cover
- Item Weight : 9.2 ounces
- Paperback : 184 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1107431832
- ISBN-13 : 978-1107431836
- Product Dimensions : 5.44 x 0.42 x 8.5 inches
- Publisher : Cambridge University Press; Illustrated Edition (January 31, 2015)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #497,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Nature and the Greeks traces the origins of scientific thinking back to the Ionian philosophers who posited the intelligibility of the world, the belief that the world is made up of similar matter and atomism. Interestingly, Schrodinger refutes the idea that the atomism of Democritus and Leucippus was merely a lucky guess. Instead, he sees atomism as naturally arising from Anaximenes’ idea of air condensing and rarefactting along with the impossibility of a material continuum. Somehow, this insight has not made it into textbook accounts of the Presocratics.
Science and Humanism, while not as original, does provide a good summary of the philosophic issues raised by quantum mechanics along with Schrodinger’s opinions on these matters.
A precursor to modern authors such as Hawking and Krauss both philosophically and scientifically, all those who like to engage such authors should find this slender volume a worthwhile read.
The current book offers two essays written by Schroedinger. The 1st is on the enormous debt that modern day scientists owe to the ancient Greeks. Way back then, philosophers and physicists were one-in-the-same. Naturally, Schroedinger pays homage to one of the 1st atomists, Democritus. In fact, it was Democritus who coined the term atom (literally, the Greek word means "unsplittable"). Coincidentally, in a more recent book, Leon Lederman sings the praises of Democritus in The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question? and shows the nexus between his system of thought and that of experimental physicists in the present age. While it is something of an encomium on the Greeks, Schroedinger also discusses possible disadvantages of being indoctrinated into the scientific paradigm as devised by the pre-Socratics.
In the second essay, Schroedinger lists his thoughts on the haunting fear of a deterministic universe that so many philosophers of science have feared for the past few centuries. Is free will just an illusion? Or do we have control over our own fates? Do independent spheres of science have any intrinsic value if they are not used towards a more comprehensive view of nature? This is the introspective study that the great scientist engages in.
This book is a must-have for all fans of the Austrian physicist. For those who are curious about his life & times I would recommend the biography Schrödinger: Life and Thought .
The author attributes an almost ethical imperative to understanding the Greek comprehension of nature as intrinsically intelligible, thus, placing nature within the scope of predictability and out of the monopoly of divine whim. This unique approach he rightfully, acknowledges to have originated exclusively and for the first time among the Greeks. A superb little book, great to wake up young inquisitive (divergent-thinking) minds to the owe and enjoyment hidden in every nook and cranny of the intellect.