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The Fabric of Reality: The Science of Parallel Universes-- and Its Implications [Paperback]

David Deutsch
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug 1998
Quantum physics, evolution, computation, and knowledge--these four main strands of scientific theory and philosophy have, until now remained incomplete explanations of the way the universe works. These strands may seem unrelated, yet in "The Fabric of Reality" Oxford scholar David Deutsch shows that they are so closely intertwined that we cannot properly understand any one of them without reference to the other three. Considered jointly, they reveal a unifed fabric of reality that is objective and comprehensible, and in which human actions and ideas play essential roles.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product details

  • Paperback: 390 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Australia (Aug 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014027541X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140275414
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.6 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,586,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have read innumerable books and science magazine articles on quantum theory, relativity, astrophysics, astrononmy, string theory, etc, as well as a great deal of more generally related science.
I am not a trained scientist, simple a well informed non-specialist with an interest in these areas, and I would have to say that this is the best written book of its type I have come across. It deals with extremely deep concepts across an enormous range of different but related areas of study, and I found myself at times almost shocked at the superb skill with which the author is able to deliver new concepts and arguments so cleanly and simply. The chapter that deals with quantum theory and the many-worlds hypothesis alone stands out as a masterpiece of elegance and simplicity when compared with many other works that attempt to deal with this issue.
Rather than delighting and wallowing in the apparent paradoxes that quantum theory implies for the macroscopic world (as so many authors do), Deutsch simply points out that irrespective of our inability to understand and resolve those paradoxes, the conclusions at least are clear and unarguable, and this is where he starts the real work of philosophical integration that is the books theme.
The rate at which new ideas in this book are delivered can leave one stunned at times, and I must recommend this book without any hesitation at all.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic science boldly conjectured 9 Dec 2009
Format:Paperback
As a small child, David Deutsch wanted to learn everything. This does not mean that he wanted to know everything but that he wanted to understand everything that could be understood. To this end, Deutsch recognises four strands to a deep understanding of the fabric of reality: quantum physics, epistemology, computation and genetical evolution.

The particular theories Deutsch proposes in these subjects are: the parallel universes or many worlds interpretation; Karl Popper's hypothetico-deductive model; Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, specifically in the gene-centric interpretation given it by Richard Dawkins (the selfish gene school); and, in regard to computation, the Church-Turing conjecture of universal computation, universal virtual reality based on universal computation, Deutsch's own theory of quantum computation and artificial intelligence.

A wilder application of computation to physical reality is Frank Tippler's theory of the omega point, a state reached in the last moments of the collapsing universe, where the minds of all previous people can be resurrected.

The Fabric of Reality is altogether an excellent book, marred only by David Deutsch's insistence that anyone who doubts the many worlds interpretation does not understand quantum theory properly (and his strong hint that we are retarded by lack of imagination or honesty).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You can't help but be amazed by this book. 12 Dec 1997
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
The best word to describe The Fabric of Reality is exciting; it fires up the mind. This book brings together four seemingly disparate theories; quantum physics, evolution, computation, and epistemology and shows how they are not disparate at all, but each relates and answers questions about the others, and together form a united structure. The book is both comprehensive and comprehensible. The form and structure of the book, with a glossary, chapter summary, and bridge to the next chapter, as well as Deutsch's skill at writing, ease the absorbtion of complex ideas. Anyone with a questing mind will find themselves entranced by ideas contained within this book. Read _The Fabric of Reality_ and grow.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I am just a layman. Bachelors degrees in mathematics, philosophy and computer science. But I try to keep up on the latest knowledge and thinking concerning our understanding of physics and the universe. This book met that goal of introducing the latest concepts to me, providing rather detailed and sometimes lengthy proofs. I got bogged down a bit in the chapter of Virtual Reality which was essentially setting the foundation for future chapters. Otherwise, the rest of the reading went quickly and nicely. Well worth your time.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best science book of the decade 4 Sep 1997
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
There are a lot of books that try to explain science to the layman and forward some new and grandiose worldview at the same time. Most of them do okay at the former, but fail miserably at the latter. This book does both, perhaps better than any book I've ever read (and I read a lot of science books). Deutsch identifies and explains the most important and interesting aspects of both quantum theory (his main topic) and the intimate relationships between it and the sciences of epistemology, computability, and evolution. The explanations are intuitive and easy to follow if you have any technical background at all, and sometimes even if you don't. Better yet, he convincingly synthesizes them into a truly compelling argument for a new (well, okay, not new but not yet widely accepted) view of reality on the deepest and widest possible scale. He steps onto a bit more shaky ground when he tries to bring in a "kitchen sink" of disciplines, some of which he doesn't seem to know nearly as much about as his native discipline (physics). Still, even the less convincing extensions to his basic idea are well considered and thought-provoking. And the basic idea itself--that zillions of not-quite-identical copies of our universe exist and are just as real and tangible as our own--is more than enough to make this book a phenomenal "mind-expanding" experience.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A rather different popular science book
This book was written as a popular science book to be compared with, and perhaps inspired by, well known favourites such as "The Emperor's new Mind", "The Selfish... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Geoff Sharman
5.0 out of 5 stars Deutsch delivers
D. Deutsch, quantum computing guru and effective author, delivers an interesting work that does a very good job in delivering the basic ideas of fascinating theories in research... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Tomarchio Salvatore
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing to write home about...
A lot of conjectures -- when not sheer, whimsical speculations -- interesting as far as quantum physics is concerned, but totally unconvincing when Deutsch touches the world of... Read more
Published 21 months ago by André Gargoura
4.0 out of 5 stars A radical thesis guaranteed to stimulate the intellect
Most people believe that a good philosopher is someone who agrees with them, but a good philosopher is someone who makes you think, which probably means they present a point of... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Paul P. Mealing
2.0 out of 5 stars Do some checking to see if this is really what you want
I looked to this book for additional descriptions of the usual topics of string theory, multi-dimensions, the origin of the universe and quantum theory. Read more
Published on 28 Feb 2012 by Ofeliawotsits
2.0 out of 5 stars Hard work
I am a great fan of science and philosophy books and they make up a good 30 - 50% of my library. The topics covered here; quantum theory, virtual reality etc, all pique my interest... Read more
Published on 15 Feb 2012 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Is the author such an apparently open-minded physicist as expected...
I read this book after reading the author's article in a recent book "Many Worlds?--Everett, Quantum Theory, and Reality (2010). Read more
Published on 7 Sep 2011 by Masayoshi Ishida
2.0 out of 5 stars dull, author is a scientist, not a writer
i like everything that deutsch likes - popper, multirverse theory, scientific realism... yet i did not like this book. Read more
Published on 29 Jun 2011 by sanyata
5.0 out of 5 stars Hypothetico-Deductive Logic
If you're more used to theoretical science books with recommendations from Yoga magazine and popular self-help gurus then this will be the hate filled heresy of a madman. Read more
Published on 3 Jan 2011 by nicholas hargreaves
3.0 out of 5 stars Opinion presented as fact.
I am familiar with most of the basic concepts in `The Fabric of Reality' but found much of this book quite difficult to follow, so I cannot recommend it for beginners. Read more
Published on 15 Aug 2010 by Richard J. Taylor
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