Paradigms Lost: Images of Man in the Mirror of Science. John L. Casti, Author, J. L. Casti, Author William Morrow & Company $ (p) ISBN. Paradigms Lost has ratings and 11 reviews. In a masterful “trial by reason,” author John L. Casti presents all sides of the most important and vital scientific. John L. Casti (born ) is an author, mathematician, and entrepreneur. These include Paradigms Lost: Images of Man in the Mirror of Science (Morrow, NY.
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Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Paradigms Lost by John L. The origins of life The roots of language and learning Quantum physics and the shape of the universe In a masterful “trial by reason,” author John L. Casti presents all sides of the most important and vital scientific debates raging in the world today — scrutinizing six perplexing “great The origins of life Casti presents all sides of the most important and vital scientific debates raging in the world today — scrutinizing six perplexing “great questions” in the most engaging, astonishing and accessible amalgam of science and literature since “A Brief Paraidgms of Time.
Paperbackpages. Published November 1st by Harper Perennial first published January 1st To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Paradigms Lostplease sign up. Lists with This Book. Originally published on my blog here in August Areas on the cutting edge of scientific research tend to generate controversy for several reasons. Experiments have not yet definitively ruled out possibilities, so that people are free to theorise.
The disagreements are really philosophical and political since they often determine the allocation of funding for research rather than scientific. Personalities become involved, and frequently toes are trodden on in other disciplines – which compu Originally published on my blog here in August Personalities become involved, and frequently toes are trodden on in other disciplines – which computer programmer, for example, would want to be told by a psychologist whether or not his work might ever produce a computer that can be called intelligent?
Casti chooses six example controversies, all of which have something to do with the uniqueness of human beings – the origin of life on earth, the “nature vs nurture” debate, the origin of the human capacity for language, artificial intelligence, the search for parxdigms intelligence, and the role of the observer in quantum mechanics.
The selection is completed by an introductory chapter on scientific method needed to help explain why some arguments are non-scientific later. Casti explains the issues involved and the arguments used for and against the main points of view reasonably clearly the most difficult sections being some of the quantum mechanical descriptions for the non-scientist. It is perhaps a bok aimed more at someone who has read some popular science before rather than someone completely new to the ideas, because it is about more philosophical issues than many books on castj subjects.
It also doesn’t portray science as monolithic and complete, as there is a tendency to do. Casti isn’t afraid to speak his mind, and can be quite scathing, particularly about arguments which have nothing to do with science, such as some of the more obviously politically motivated attacks on the work of Noam Chomsky.
At the end of each chapter, he says what his own views on the subject are, and why, and is unfailingly interesting. The book concludes with an excellent “Further Reading” section, the utility of which cqsti only slightly paardigms by the age of the book, which is just beginning to seem a little out of date in places. I must look out for Casti’s more recent work! I can’t understand why this book is out of print – Casri assume that it is as I had to order a used copy.
It is cassti beautifully-written tour of how science has found our place in the world. By turns witty and erudite, Casti has an uncommon grasp of the whole range of scientific endeavour and the issues that make up the transition between science and philosophy.
It will save time if I start with the list of things I didn’t like about this book, paradig,s it turned out to be a short list. It’s basically one ite I can’t understand why this book is out of print – I assume that it is as I had to order a used copy. It’s basically one item, in fact: Casti presents the whole paradims as a series of court cases, with the “prosecution” uohn the case that science has seized some aspect of our place in the Universe and the “defence” claiming like a bunch of besuited reprobates that the mystery remains.
Harmless enough, perhaps, but there is a lamentable tendency in today’s on-line discourse to confuse science with adversarial debate and claim that “both sides” should be heard. How one can assign jjohn “sides” to the value of the fine-structure constant or the role of feedbacks in climate lodt beyond me, but the paradiggms in debate is undeniable.
Casti wrote before the world of blogs and chat groups had really come into being and can’t be held responsible for not foreseeing the rise of science-denial, but to those of us who are sensitised it looks a bit irresponsible in retrospect to reinforce this confusion. Otherwise, the book is ojhn tour de force.
Not johnn instruction well and already being familiar with the broad sweep of the philosophy of science, Losh ignored Casti’s advice and read the entire book from beginning to end in one, long session. That said, the book is actually kost so that any particular chapter can be read independently of the others and the early section on what science “is” could be left out altogether.
This is what Casti suggests. A single chapter would serve you well for a longish train journey. It all comes down to casfi are we here and what is our place?
There are chapters on abiogenesis, genetic determinism, language acquisition, artificial intelligence, the presence or otherwise of alien civilisation and observer-based reality. There are very extensive appendices to each chapter, gathered at the end of the book, with copious suggestions for further reading.
My backlog parradigms got even bigger One surprise for me was in the section on language acquisition, where I found for the pagadigms time just how influential Chomsky’s ideas have been.
I am familiar with his political rhetoric but had only passingly heard of his ideas of an innate grammar until now. It appears to be a more weighty and scientifically resonant idea than I ever understood, and Chomsky has in effect shaped an entire field. Odd that I would find this out just as the grip of his influence in linguistics seems finally to be weakening.
The entire book is a joy to read. Demand that it be printed anew, and do so loudly. Aug 19, Fredd rated it it was ok Shelves: I read all the way through hoping that his final conclusions would tie the entire collection of essays together in a way that left me with more knowledge than i came to the book with, but his entire message can be summed up as “interdisciplinary science i think the author did a great job distilling lofty scientific principles and presented them cohesively, but i was disapointed with Casti’s chapter summaries and his presentation of his own views on each subject which seemed arbitrary at best.
I read all the way through hoping that his final conclusions would tie the entire collection of essays together in a way that left me with more knowledge than i came to the book with, but his entire message can be summed up as “interdisciplinary science is good science. Jun 12, Mike rated it really liked it Recommends it for: This is a book written by a smart, literate and inquisitive man.
Paradigms lost | Open Library
The fact that he is a mathematics professor which is not truly a topic covered in this volume gives it a certain “balance” that would not be present if he was a biologist or chemist or physicist. Casti is not only bright and clearly interested in lots of things, but he has a clarity of thinking and writing that shows in this work.
FYI – He has several other books out mostly in or overlapping his professional area and work. I This is a book written by a smart, literate and inquisitive man. I have not read any of these, but jhn of the books seem very interesting to me. His premise of setting up each chapter topic as a court case with prosecution, defense, and Casti being judge at the end is “cute”, but less than thrilling.
Paradigms Lost: Images of Man in the Mirror of Science
If he had actually laid out the arguments a bit more formally and structured how the various parties were introduced better, I think that I would have rated the book a “5”. What I found was that he jumped from one element to another almost without discipline my opinion, possibly not shared by caxti readers.
Overall, Casto think this was a tour-de-force in its time. But this book was published in so the science used in many of the arguments is dated. If you read it knowing full well that this is the case and make allowance for it I think you will be surprised, pleased and intrigued by his topics and presentations.
I picked this volume up because I had run across a later, follow-up to it Paradigms Cawti which was published 11 years later. Since I knew that the later book built on the earlier, I restrained myself enough to get and read this book first.
I am currently working my way through the later one. Aug 12, Richard rated it it was amazing. Paradigms Lost explores the philosophy and practice of science through a series of ever-more-difficult sample cases taken from real, contemporary scientific disciplines.
You can read it, and enjoy it, solely for its in-depth background and analysis of the disciplines that it samples. But Casti is really pursuing something more. The book asks, “What is science, ideally and in practice? But by the last cases, you’re not so sure if there is any real difference between science and unsupported speculation.
Oct 14, Jamie Carranza rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Anyone wanting a better understanding of the world. It showed me that things I thought were unknowable, in the realm of gods and mythology and so not worth thinking about were actually able to be studied using scientific methods.
It is arranged iohn a series of “court cases” each with a plaintiff and defender showing 2 or more really sides of topics paradigmms as the origin of life, origin of Human language, whether aliens exist, etc. A great book for someone looking to start expanding their scientific knowledge. It’s from likeso it’s a bit dated, but still very relevant and will provide an excellent foundation.
Sep 10, Will rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: This book is a fair review of what modern science has yet to explain, the schools of thought concerning those subjects, and the author’s take on it.
Casti is a science textbook author and professor. Sep 30, Paul rated it it was amazing. I realize it’s a little lst at this point, but I think it’s still one of the best books I’ve read on the subject of scientific frontiers. Anyone who wants to have an informed opinion on a range of subjects, from the possibility of alien intelligence to quantum mechanics, should check this out. Mar 01, Mark rated it really liked it Shelves: This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.
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