THE CAPRICIOUS COSMOS: Universe Beyond Law by Joe Rosen


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Not quite abandon hope, all you cosmologists out there. Rather, recognize that what you are about is not science but metaphysics. So says this theoretical physicist from Tel Aviv Univ. The message is that there cannot possibly be theories of everything (T.O.E.s) or theories about parallel universes, because theories are scientific explanations of laws of nature and the universe as a whole is beyond science: It is unique, capricious. That gives you a taste of what Rosen is all about. In nine chapters, bibliographies, and a glossary, he compares and contrasts science with concepts that go beyond science (noting how popular the genre of Davis, Gribbin, Hawking, etc. has become). This entails discussions of falsifiability, fundamentality, predictability, unification, simplicity, beauty, and other criteria that scientists (and philosophers) apply to theories. It also entails a discussion of what is not science: cosmogonies and cosmologies that deal with the origins and end of the universe, ideas of metatime, metaspace, and other transcendent notions such as religion and ESP. Speaking for himself, Rosen says he is a confirmed realist (as opposed to idealist, positivist, solipsist) who confesses to a shift from a nontranscendent world view to the belief in an objective reality ""shown by science to be necessarily transcendent."" The trick here is that science has shown that the quantum world can never be objectively realized: It remains hidden from view. Add Rosen's elaboration of his own cosmology of a self-generating ""baby"" universe and it does seem as if he's a man who wants his cakes and eats them, too.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1992
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Macmillan