Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Why Does the World Exist?, August Book

Why Does the World Exist? is an existential detective story.

Jim Holt dares to ask the question. "Why?" “Why is there something rather than nothing?” You would think that so basic a question must have perplexed people since the beginning of philosophical musings. Actually, there is no evidence in early written literature. Early philosophers, such as Aristotle, wondered what the world was made of, but they didn't ask why it is here. 

Jim's search for answers leads him and his readers on a surprisingly lively journey, given the profound nature of the topic. He travels to Paris, London, Oxford, Pittsburgh and Austin, Texas, to meet the philosophers and cosmologists David Deutsch, Adolf Grünbaum, John Leslie, Derek Parfit, Roger Penrose, Richard Swinburne and Steven Weinberg. He also has a discussion with the philosophically inclined novelist John Updike. As he moves from one to the other, Holt learns of ever more extraordinary solutions, some almost mystical, yet rooted in solid reasoning.

Holt has a technical background in addition to his experiences as a writer and philosopher. He studied mathematics at the University of Virginia, and was a faculty fellow in the philosophy department at Columbia. He has been a contributor to The New York Times, Slate and New Yorker magazines.

Reviewers describe Why Does the World Exist? as a readable, sometimes even comical, search for answers to that question we all ask ourselves at some time or other.

You can see and hear Jim Holt talk about the book live on TED Talks:  https://www.ted.com/speakers/jim_holt#

Leah Gessner

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