Paradigms Lost: Images of Man in the Mirror of Science Paperback – 19 Sep 1991
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|Paperback, 19 Sep 1991||
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An overview of some of today's great scientific questions. Each chapter is constructed in the form of a trial, with opposing views presented by a prosecution and a defence and then the author, aiming to be an instructive and entertaining juror , offering and explaining his verdict.
About the Author
John L Casti is a member of the faculty of the Santa Fe Institute and a professor at the Technical University of Vienna. He is the author of PARADIGMS LOST etc.
Top customer reviews
I disagree with only Casti only once; his final final conclusion is pessimistic; but I still recommend this book.
This is a well written book covering all these areas in an entertaining, thoughtful, focused and balanced way. It deserves re reading as well because it is certainly very valid for our modern times with the encroaching threat of non rational belief systems taking hold and proclaiming certainty within the world.
It also tackles in a thoughtful and analytic manner the dichotomy between religion and science and dispels many publicly held myths about the nature and definition of science.
This is a very thought provoking book.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
But the book is more than only a deep exposition of these topics. Casti weaves an extremely lively and entertaining tale about a host of characters and discoveries involved in these exciting areas of thought and research. One of the things I noticed in this book is the marvelous sense of humour that Casti employs. Nowhere else in serious science writing or even in popular accounts have I seen such intelligent dashes of humor expressed in such fine language. In fact that's one of the outstanding triumphs of this book. The language in the book is sophisticated, yet very accessible. The bibiliography at the end is almost as lavishly detailed as the book itself.
In my opinion, Casti has emerged as one of the finest science writers in the world because of this book. I strongly suspect that it is because of his unique experiences; he combines the artistic and culturally sophisticated style which he developed in Europe with the informal, witty and pragmatic cheek found among Americans writers which he must have picked up during his time in the United States. All in all, it is remarkable how one man can collect and coherently discuss such a prodigious amount of information, especially about topics not directly related to his field of study. This will be a book I am definitely going to remember all my life.I will recommend it strongly to anyone even remotely interested in science, research and the future of humanity. An example of scientific writing at its best.
In this chapter, Casti gives the best introduction for the general reader that I've seen on Chomsky's ideas on innate language acquisition and transformational grammar. In the process, he also compares them with competing views such as Sampson's and Piaget's, and he even discusses E.O. Wilson's sociobiological views a bit, which Chomsky himself commented on. After reading this chapter, you would probably be able to read the chapter on generative and transformational grammar in a good introductory theoretical linguistics text, such as John Lyons's classic Introduction to Theoretical Linguistics, or Donna Jo Napoli's recent book, entitled simply Linguistics, which is also excellent. So overall, another great book from Casti that stands head and shoulders above the competition and with a great introduction to modern linguistic theory.
John Casti is one of the great writers of modern popular science non-fiction.