320 pages, 9.53 × 6.4 × 1.03 in
July 17, 2012
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0871404095
ISBN - 13: 9780871404091
From the Publisher
Whether framed philosophically as “Why is there a world rather than nothing at all?” or more colloquially as “But, Mommy, who made God?” the metaphysical mystery about how we came into existence remains the most fractious and fascinating question of all time. Following in the footsteps of Christopher Hitchens, Roger Penrose, and even Stephen Hawking, Jim Holt emerges with an engrossing narrative that traces our latest efforts to grasp the origins of the universe. As he takes on the role of cosmological detective, the brilliant yet slyly humorous Holt contends that we might have been too narrow in limiting our suspects to God vs. the Big Bang. Whether interviewing a cranky Oxford philosopher, a Physics Nobel Laureate, or a French Buddhist monk, Holt pursues unexplored and often bizarre angles to this cosmic puzzle. The result is a brilliant synthesis of cosmology, mathematics, and physics—one that propels his own work to the level of philosophy itself.
About the Author
Jim Holt, a prominent essayist and critic on philosophy, mathematics, and science, is a frequent contributor to the New York Times Book Review and the New York Review of Books. He lives in New York City.
If Jim Holt's deft and consuming Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story has anything to tell us, it's that such a comment is less about literary riffing than deep philosophy. — David Ulin (Los Angeles Times)There could have been nothing. It might have been easier. Instead there is something. The universe exists, and we are here to ask about it. Why? In Why Does the World Exist?, Jim Holt, an elegant and witty writer comfortably at home in the problem’s weird interzone between philosophy and scientific cosmology, sets out in search of such answers. ...There is no way to do justice to any of these theories in a brief review, but Holt traces the reasoning behind each one with care and clarity—such clarity that each idea seems resoundingly sensible even as it turns one’s brain to a soup of incredulity.... I can imagine few more enjoyable ways of thinking than to read this book. — Sarah Bakewell (New York Times Book Review, Front page review)Winding its way to no reassuringly tidy conclusion, this narrative ultimately humanizes the huge metaphysical questions Holt confronts, endowing them with real-life significance. A potent synthesis of philosophy and autobiography. — Booklist, Starred ReviewThe pleasure of this book is watching the match: the staggeringly inventive human mind slamming its fantastic conjectures over the net, the universe coolly returning every serve.... Holt traffics in wonder, a word whose dual meanings—the absence of answers; the expe