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TitleThe big picture : on the origins of life, meaning, and the universe itself
Author Sean Carroll
ImprintNew York, New York : Dutton, 2016
Descript ix, 470 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


The award-winning Caltech physicist and author of The Particle at the End of the Universe shares sweeping perspectives into how human purpose and meaning naturally fit into a scientific worldview--
Sean Carroll is emerging as one of the greatest humanist thinkers of his generation as he brings his extraordinary intellect to bear not only on Higgs bosons and extra dimensions but now also on our deepest personal questions. Where are we? Who are we? Are our emotions, our beliefs, and our hopes and dreams ultimately meaningless out there in the void? Does human purpose and meaning fit into a scientific worldview. In short chapters filled with intriguing historical anecdotes, personal asides, and rigorous exposition, readers learn the difference between how the world works at the quantum level, the cosmic level, and the human level ; and then how each connects to the other. Carroll's presentation of the principles that have guided the scientific revolution from Darwin and Einstein to the origins of life, consciousness, and the universe is dazzlingly unique. Carroll shows how an avalanche of discoveries in the past few hundred years has changed our world and what really matters to us. Our lives are dwarfed like never before by the immensity of space and time, but they are redeemed by our capacity to comprehend it and give it meaning-- Dust jacket


The fundamental nature of reality -- Poetic naturalism -- The world moves by itself -- What determines what will happen next? -- Reasons why -- Our universe -- Time's arrow -- Memories and causes -- Learning about the world -- Updating our knowledge -- Is it okay to doubt everything? -- Reality emerges -- What exists, and what is illusion? -- Planets of belief -- Accepting uncertainty -- What can we know about the world without actually looking at it? -- Who am I? -- Abducting God -- How much we know -- The quantum realm -- Interpreting quantum mechanics -- The core theory -- The stuff of which we are made -- The effective theory of the everyday world -- Why does the universe exist? -- Body and soul -- Death is the end -- The universe in a cup of coffee -- Light and life -- Funneling energy -- Spontaneous organization -- The origin and purpose of life -- Evolution's bootstraps -- Searching through the landscape -- Emergent purpose -- Are we the point? -- Crawling into consciousness -- The babbling brain -- What thinks? -- The hard problem -- Zombies and stories -- Are photons conscious? -- What acts on what? -- Freedom to choose -- Three billion heartbeats -- What is and what ought to be -- Rules and consequences -- Constructing goodness -- Listening to the world -- Existential therapy

Life -- Origin Meaning (Philosophy) Cosmology Naturalism Discoveries in science Evolution -- Philosophy Physical laws

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