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9780593316306

The Rigor of Angels Borges, Heisenberg, Kant, and the Ultimate Nature of Reality

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780593316306

  • ISBN10:

    0593316304

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2023-08-29
  • Publisher: Pantheon

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Summary

A monumental and riveting account of how a poet, a physicist, and a philosopher pursued truth to the very limits of human apprehension and revealed the fundamental nature of our place in the universe

Spiraling in the wreckage of a failed love affair, Argentine poet Jorge Luis Borges channeled his devastation into his work, reassessing the slippery nature of our own identities and the way we perceive reality, ultimately securing his place in the literary pantheon.
     Doggedly fighting against the scientific establishment for his controversial interpretation of quantum mechanics, German physicist Werner Heisenberg dared to accept the experimental evidence at face value, leading him to a principle that has been a guiding light for physicists ever since.
     Prussian philosopher Immanuel Kant, horrified by the possibility that all knowledge might rest on uncertain grounds, undertook to test the limits of reason, placing human understanding on a firmer footing than ever before.
     What these three thinkers shared, in addition to their uncommon intellect, was their skepticism—not only of the accepted wisdom of their culture, but also of their own reasoning. What set them apart was their willingness to submit their ideas to the same rigor they would bring to someone else’s. In so doing, they made extraordinary leaps in answering some of the most enduring questions about the nature of reality—about the flow of time in human consciousness, about the origins and nature of the universe, but most importantly, about the possibility of coming to know reality as it is itself. In an era like ours, in which dogma of all kinds seems to rule the day, the story of these thinkers serves as a crucial reminder that maverick thinking demands submitting our intuitions and even our own deeply held beliefs to the cold light of reason. In their lives and work we recognize that the mysteries of our place in the world may always loom over us, not as a threat, but as a reminder of our humble humanity.

Author Biography

WILLIAM EGGINTON is the Decker Professor in the Humanities and Director of the Alexander Grass Humanities Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of multiple books, including How the World Became a Stage (2003), Perversity and Ethics (2006), A Wrinkle in History (2007), The Philosopher’s Desire (2007), The Theater of Truth (2010), In Defense of Religious moderation (2011), The Man Who Invented Fiction: How Cervantes Ushered in the Modern World (2016), Medialogies: Reading Reality in the Age of Inflationary Media (2017), The Splintering of the American Mind (2018) and What Would Cervantes Do? Navigating Post-Truth With Spanish Baroque Literature (2022).

Supplemental Materials

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The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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