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Old Yesterday, 07:34 AM   #1
PsychiatricCase
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Looking for nonfiction books on science, philosphy.

I don't have much of a knowledge on science, being a high-school dropout, but lately I've developed a keen ineterest in stuff like quantum mechanics and nature of reality and I wish to understand it. What are some good popular science books to read on the subject that will teach me about it better, so I can also have greater knowledge? I looked at the Fabric of the Cosmos by Green and For the Love of Physics by Rein. Are those good books? Also, I would like to know if there is any very good introductory philosophy texts to build a knowledge on the subject. Thanks.
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Old Yesterday, 08:11 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by PsychiatricCase View Post
Also, I would like to know if there is any very good introductory philosophy texts to build a knowledge on the subject. Thanks.
I highly recommend The Big Questions: Philosophy by Simon Blackburn. Rather then dealing with philosophy through history of philosophy, it deals with most common questions of philosophy and tries to answer them in a very simple way. This is great for first time students of philosophy or for anybody interested in the matter.


http://www.amazon.com/Big-Questions-...dp/B00LSX4NB0/

Just so you can get a perception of what kinda book it is, here are the names of the 20 questions i.e the chapters:
  1. What is the meaning of life?
  2. Am I free?
  3. Why is there something and not nothing?
  4. What do we really know?
  5. Is there such a thing as society?
  6. Can machines think?
  7. What is time?
  8. How can I deceive myself?
  9. Why be good?
  10. What fills up space?
  11. Can we truly understand each other?
  12. Why do things keep on keeping on?
  13. Are we rational?
  14. What am I?
  15. What are my rights?
  16. Is truth relative?
  17. Do we need God?
  18. What is human nature?
  19. What is beauty?
  20. Is death to be feared?
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Old Yesterday, 10:04 AM   #3
Luffy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geralt View Post
I highly recommend The Big Questions: Philosophy by Simon Blackburn. Rather then dealing with philosophy through history of philosophy, it deals with most common questions of philosophy and tries to answer them in a very simple way. This is great for first time students of philosophy or for anybody interested in the matter.


http://www.amazon.com/Big-Questions-...dp/B00LSX4NB0/

Just so you can get a perception of what kinda book it is, here are the names of the 20 questions i.e the chapters:
  1. What is the meaning of life?
  2. Am I free?
  3. Why is there something and not nothing?
  4. What do we really know?
  5. Is there such a thing as society?
  6. Can machines think?
  7. What is time?
  8. How can I deceive myself?
  9. Why be good?
  10. What fills up space?
  11. Can we truly understand each other?
  12. Why do things keep on keeping on?
  13. Are we rational?
  14. What am I?
  15. What are my rights?
  16. Is truth relative?
  17. Do we need God?
  18. What is human nature?
  19. What is beauty?
  20. Is death to be feared?
Thanks Geralt! I've been dilly dallying about reading this book. Your informative post tilted the balance in favor of it.
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Old Yesterday, 10:09 AM   #4
Luffy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PsychiatricCase View Post
I don't have much of a knowledge on science, being a high-school dropout, but lately I've developed a keen ineterest in stuff like quantum mechanics and nature of reality and I wish to understand it. What are some good popular science books to read on the subject that will teach me about it better, so I can also have greater knowledge? I looked at the Fabric of the Cosmos by Green and For the Love of Physics by Rein. Are those good books? Also, I would like to know if there is any very good introductory philosophy texts to build a knowledge on the subject. Thanks.
Begin with easier books. I recommend Sophie's World. It's a very original book, and treats partially all the major movements in philosophy since the Greeks till Sartre.

I'm going to read Carl Sagan's A Demon Haunted World. It scored high at Goodreads. I've read and enjoyed Sam Harris' The Moral Landscape. You can try Richard Dawkin's books. The Greatest Show On Earth is recent and up to date, and deals more in biology than Atheism. His biggest success is The God Delusion. Happy reading!

PS - I hope you choose Sophie's World though. It's a good book to begin with. Very simple and clear.
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Old Yesterday, 01:12 PM   #5
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Anything by Michio Kaku is excellent. His book on Einstein explained the theory of relativity better than any other I have ever read.

Also, check out the Science eBook recommendations in the Recommendations for your Favorite Book Genre sticky above
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Old Yesterday, 01:27 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by MickeyC View Post
Also, check out the Science eBook recommendations in the Recommendations for your Favorite Book Genre sticky above
I assume this is the thread you were talking about, 450+ comments in the thread:
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=62517
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Old Yesterday, 05:02 PM   #7
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I think a lot of people got there taste of quantum mechanics by reading "The Dancing Wu Li Masters" by Gary Zukav. It presents it in a new age, mystical kind of way, which was popular at the time (1970's).

There are lots of books that try to explain quantum mechanics to non-physicists, but of the few I've read, none have really given me any sense of what it's really about (I used to be a physicist, so have done my share of courses on the subject). The problem is that it is unintuitive because the microscopic world is completely different from the macroscopic world we live in, and we have almost no hands-on experience with it. Trying to describe it using analogies we're all familiar with just doesn't work. If you really want to "understand it" as it truly is, you might have to get a beginner's textbook and work your way through the math, starting with the four axioms of quantum mechanics. I put "understand it" in quotes, because I think that I and almost all other physicists don't really understand it, we only believe it because it hasn't been disproven after decades of thorough testing.
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Old Yesterday, 05:32 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Dazrin View Post
I assume this is the thread you were talking about, 450+ comments in the thread:
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=62517
That's it!
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Old Yesterday, 07:51 PM   #9
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See books by Martin Gardner. This is available as an eBook:

Relativity Simply Explained
http://www.amazon.com/Relativity-Sim...martin-gardner

Full disclosure is that I haven't read the above, but I did like this seemingly similar title by the same author, not available as a proofread eBook, but only as an uncorrected scan:

Relativity for the Million
https://openlibrary.org/works/OL4600...or_the_million

P.S. When I go into the above link, I see at the top of the page: "Hello! The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is participating in our eBook lending program." I'm therefore not sure it is generally available.
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Old Yesterday, 10:55 PM   #10
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I'm a bit confused by the header myself. I mean I'd assume that any book on science or philosophy are by their very nature nonfiction. I mean granted philosophy is a bit biased in that everyone sees a given problem from their own POV rather than a universal viewpoint, but if Science isn't based in reality then it's either science fiction or fantasy both of which are fiction.
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