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Customer Review

56 of 64 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed content, 18 Feb. 2011
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This review is from: The Grand Design: New Answers to the Ultimate Questions of Life (Hardcover)
"Philosophy is dead", the authors declare very early on, and then roundly prove over the next few chapters why they could have done with the services of a good philosopher. Hawking is known, of course, for his ground-breaking science, but not for his analysis of the history of knowledge or the social progress of our culture. Unfortunately, a substantial part of this book is dedicated to those topics, and makes for a short-sighted and naive read. Once the writing turns to actual science, its value greatly increases: the major elements of relativity and quantum mechanics are summed up simply and clearly, then form the basis for explanations of newer work such as M-Theory. Hawking has written better about his (and others') work, but if you're looking for the most up-to-date and/or easily read version, then this book is worth its very reasonable cover price. It's a short and superficial book, however, so if you're looking for anything in-depth you are likely to be disappointed.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 29 Sep 2011, 08:23:40 BST
P. Hadfield says:
This is a helpful review. As I am not a theoretical physist and my brain is not the size of a planet, up-to-date, short and easily read are exactly what I am looking for. Plus of course, "in depth" would be a supersized hardback and cost a couple of hundred pounds. You persuaded me, thank you.

Posted on 8 Jan 2012, 19:15:38 GMT
burttoli says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on 12 Jan 2012, 01:20:49 GMT
In all fairness - and I think it bears mentioning seen as everyone is calling this out - when Hawking says philosophy is dead, I think he means its actual ability to provide answers to the meaningful questions has been outstripped by science. If you are going to define philosophy as simply the asking of any questions about the universe at large, then yes he is at a contradiction. But I think his very point is that those ultimate questions are no longer in the realm of philosophy (i.e. speculative theorising), and are able to be answered by the application of science. Hence, philosophy is dead.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Aug 2014, 11:31:47 BST
Savitaa says:
Good review and in answer to Jordan Taylor, Hawking's statement that philosophy is dead is not just wrong by any standard it is just stupid, amazingly stupid for such an intelligent person. What it actually shows is the arrogance of scientists and their inability to recognise their own limits. If you have studied philosophy it is immediately apparent that a scientist is outside of his or her area of expertise when he or she starts to philosophize but most scientists blunder gaily on in ignorance of the howlers they are making. The philosophers, of which there are many great ones currently producing excellent work, do not even bother commenting on such output. They are only interested in the results of the research that scientists conduct within their specialist field and in most cases you will find that these philosophers are far better informed about scientific research than most scientists are about what makes good philosophy.
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