The Big Questions: Tackling the Problems of Philosophy with Ideas from Mathematics, Economics and Physics (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Nov 3, 2009 - Philosophy - 288 pages
24 Reviews

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.
  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - NielsenGW - LibraryThing

I’m going to be open-minded here. I will be. First, I will address the book on its style, its writing, and the information presented. Then, there will be a rant and I do not apologize for that. Steven ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - hayduke - LibraryThing

I found the title of this book to be a little misleading. This is more of a libertarian rant by economist Landsburg -- complete with the moral reasoning why restaurants should not be forced by the ... Read full review

Contents

realIty and UnrealIty
1
going Bananas
21
BelIefs
39
Unfinished Business
45
What Do Believers Believe?
55
On What There Obviously Is
67
Diogenes Nightmare
75
Knowledge
87
The rules of evidence
123
The Limits to Knowledge
135
rIght and wrong
151
The economists golden rule
163
On Not Being a Jerk
181
The Economist on the Playground
191
the lIfe of the MInd
215
Appendix
249

incomplete Thinking
105
The rules of Logic and
111
Acknowledgments
257
Copyright

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About the author (2009)


Steven E. Landsburg
is a professor of economics at the University of Rochester. He is the author of More Sex Is Safer Sex and The Armchair Economist. He writes the popular "Everyday Economics" column in Slate magazine and has written for Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere.

Bibliographic information