University of Oxford
and Malcolm Longair
with contributions by Abner Shimony, Nancy Cartwright, and Stephen Hawking
Contributors: Abner Shimony, Nancy Cartwright, Stephen Hawking
Roger Penrose�s original and provocative ideas about the large-scale physics of the Universe, the small-scale world of quantum physics and the physics of the mind have been the subject of controversy and discussion. These ideas were set forth in his best-selling books The Emperor�s New Mind and Shadows of the Mind. In this book, he summarises and brings up to date his current thinking in these complex areas. He presents a masterful summary of those areas of physics in which he feels there are major unsolved problems. Through this, he introduces radically new concepts which he believes will be fruitful in understanding the workings of the brain and the nature of the human mind. These ideas are then challenged by three distinguished experts from different backgrounds - Abner Shimony and Nancy Cartwright as Philosophers of Science and Stephen Hawking as a Theoretical Physicist and Cosmologist. Finally, Roger Penrose responds to their thought-provoking criticisms.
This volume provides an accessible, illuminating and stimulating introduction to Roger Penrose�s vision of theoretical physics for the 21st Century. His enthusiasm, insight and good humour shine through this brilliant account of the problems of modern physics.
What has been said about The Large, the Small and the Human Mind
�To see a scientist of Penrose�s ability, stature and achievement toss large parts of modern physics into the air as though juggling balls and try to keep them aloft while marshalling them into a coherent pattern is a thing to behold. It is a wonderful illustration of a first-rate scientist doing what first-rate scientists have always done: make bold conjectures and display them for others to confirm, refute or amend.�
Keith Devlin, New Scientist
�When Oxford physicist and mathematician Penrose ... has something to say about general relativity, quantum physics and artificial intelligence, we would do well to listen.�
�The book is an attractive and stimulating introduction to some fascinating issues, on some of which (such as the intelligibility of the universe) theists would certainly be able to offer some alternative insights.�
John Polkinghorne, Science & Christian Belief
�... a very interesting and stimulating book.�
Brian Josephson, Times Higher Education Supplement
�... a stimulating and compact review of Penrose's own thinking.�
Bernard Dixon, The Independent
�Anyone, university student or not, who is serious about mathematics, physics (especially quantum physics) or the philosophy of mind will find this book very interesting. Get it as soon as you can - it�s worth it.�
The Philosophers� Review
Notes on the contributors; Preface Malcolm Longair; 1. Space-time and cosmology Roger Penrose; 2. The mysteries of quantum physics Roger Penrose; 3. Physics and the mind Roger Penrose; 4. On mentality, quantum mechanics and the actualization of potentialities Abner Shimony; 5. Why physics? Nancy Cartwright; 6. The objections of an unashamed reductionist Stephen Hawking; 7. Reply Roger Penrose.