A Many-Colored Glass: Reflections on the Place of Life in - download pdf or read online

By Freeman Dyson

ISBN-10: 0813926637

ISBN-13: 9780813926636

Freeman Dyson’s most up-to-date ebook doesn't try to compile the entire celebrated physicist’s recommendations on technology and know-how right into a unified idea. The emphasis is, as an alternative, at the myriad ways that the universe offers itself to us--and how, as observers and members in its tactics, we reply to it. "Life, like a dome of many-colored glass," wrote Percy Bysshe Shelley, "stains the white radiance of eternity." the writer seeks right here to discover the diversity that offers lifestyles its beauty.

Taken from Dyson’s fresh public lectures--delivered to audiences with out really good wisdom in difficult sciences--the publication starts off with a attention of the sensible and political questions surrounding biotechnology. As he seeks how top to provide an explanation for where of lifestyles within the universe, Dyson then strikes from the moral to the basically clinical. The booklet concludes with an try and comprehend the consequences of biology for philosophy and religion.

The items during this assortment contact on various disciplines, from astronomy and ecology to neurology and theology, talking to the lay reader in addition to to the scientist. As constantly, Dyson’s view of human nature and behaviour is balanced, and his predictions of a global to return serve essentially as a method for puzzling over the realm because it is today.

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Extra info for A Many-Colored Glass: Reflections on the Place of Life in the Universe (Page-Barbour Lectures)

Example text

However, to show that a given material system realizes an (M,R)system is a matter of verification, not fabrication. It still does not tell us how to build or fabricate such a realization; how to establish causal chains culminating in such a system. The essential and surprising point of our preceding discussion, however, is that such a fabrication process is itself an (M,R)-system; the process itself is a kind of realization of that which we seek to fabricate thereby. This is the ultimate reason why the "origin of life" problem is hard; as we have seen, it takes us out of every epistemological category we have inherited from the time of Newton.

5. " For a long time, machines had the connotation of being systems which were fabricated, or engineered; artificial or artifactual; the products of design. Thus, to talk as Descartes did, about a natural machine, and even more, to identify organisms as falling within this class, involved a provocative extension of the machine concept, which led naturally to the inclusions organisms C machines C mechanisms to which we alluded earlier. Indeed, nowadays, the term "machine" is used in so many different senses that we must spend a moment to clarify our own usage of this term.

So far, there is essentially no inferential or syntactic structure. To get some, we must add it in explicitly. Let us then suppose we give ourselves a mapping which means that we can operate on certain input words w, and obtain corresponding output words f( w). This, as we have seen, is the simplest prototypic inferential structure in any formal system. But given this single inferential rule, we can "fool" our system into evaluating many other functions for us, and thus carrying out many new inferences.

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A Many-Colored Glass: Reflections on the Place of Life in the Universe (Page-Barbour Lectures) by Freeman Dyson

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