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A physicist's view of matter and mind.


A physicist's view of matter and mind.

Dharma-wardana, Chandre.

World Scientific


501 pages




Dharma-wardana (theoretical physics, U. of Montreal) presents a kind of Weltanschauung he describes as embracing Western physics, biology, philosophy and across the so-called two cultures (science and humanities). Working within the perspective of a working physicist he explores "the unity and consilience of our knowledge about 'matter', and what we intuitively understand as 'mind'." It's a fairly technical book and approaches the history of science mostly in terms of "great minds," while necessitating command of advanced math and chemistry knowledge later in the book. The first part of the book explores the philosophical context of natural law and the study of it, as well as the major results of Western physics, briefly criticizing the so-called "strong program" of sociology of science. The second part turns to complex systems and understanding consciousness as an emergent property. Biology is the dominant scientific framework, but at such high resolution that physical and chemical explanations become necessary. All along the way, Dharma-wardana is concerned with the existential and human import of quantum physics and biology.

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Publication:Reference & Research Book News
Article Type:Book review
Date:Oct 1, 2013
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