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Why Does the World Exist?

An Existential Detective Story
Holt, Jim (Book - 2012 )
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Why Does the World Exist?

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In this astonishing and profound work, an irreverent sleuth traces the riddle of existence from the ancient world to modern times.--Amazon.com.
Authors: Holt, Jim, 1954-
Title: Why does the world exist?
an existential detective story
Publisher: New York :, Liveright Pub. Corp.,, c2012
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: 309 p. ;,25 cm
Contents: A quick proof that there must be something rather than nothing, for modern people who lead busy lives
Confronting the mystery
Interlude : Could our world have been created by a hacker?
Philosophical tour d'horizon
Interlude : The arithmetic of nothingness
A brief history of nothing
The Great Rejectionist
Finite or infinite?
Interlude : Night thoughts at the Café de Flore
The inductive theist of North Oxford
Interlude : The supreme brute fact
The Magus of the Multiverse
Interlude : The end of explanation
The ultimate free lunch?
Interlude : Nausea
Waiting for the final theory
Interlude : A word on many worlds
Platonic reflections
Interlude : It from bit
"The ethical requiredness of there being something"
Interlude : An Hegelian in Paris
The last word from All Souls
Epistolary interlude : The proof
The world as a bit of light verse
The self : do I really exist?
Return to nothingness
Over the Seine
Summary: In this astonishing and profound work, an irreverent sleuth traces the riddle of existence from the ancient world to modern times.--Amazon.com.
ISBN: 0871404095
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Report This Oct 10, 2013
  • toffee rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Mr Holt takes on one of the deep questions about reality. He covers the range of potential answers in a very clear prose that intertwines his own experiences and thoughts with those of a number of experts and authorities, both dead and alive. Highly recommended reading for those interested in the nature of reality and the associated 'big questions'.

Report This Mar 13, 2013
  • roaddogg09 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

What a treat. As Rebecca Goldstein says in her review, “Why Does the World Exist? is more fun than a book this serious has any right to be.” And it’s true. Holt’s book was an absolute joy to read. His effortless writing, sense of adventure, and gripping subject matter makes for a wonderful book filled with deep existential questions (and answers?). Holt goes on a whirlwind tour of the many answers to the question, ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?’ With philosophical rigor and an infectious joy for knowledge, Holt tells his journey of coming to understand the question and even seeing what the great thinkers of today (and years past) thought of the question. While on his quest for answers, Holt visits some of the deepest thinkers of our time, from physicists Steven Weinberg and Sir Roger Penrose, Philosophers Adolph Grunbaum, Derek Parfit, and Richard Swinburne, to novelist John Updike. He attempts to find out where these thinkers stand on the question and see their answers to it (if any). Along the way, Holt traverses the history of philosophy, science, and mathematics to try and tease out exactly what nothing is and how we could get something from nothing. Holt truly brings the mystery of the question to light and makes the reader feel the deep existential quandary of existence. This was truly a fantastic book. I’d find myself reading it for hours without even noticing. If you’ve ever pondered life and its existence, consider picking up “Why Does the World Exist?”


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