Information and the Nature of Reality: From Physics to Metaphysics

Information and the Nature of Reality: From Physics to Metaphysics

Hardback

Edited by Paul Davies, Edited by Niels Henrik Gregersen

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  • Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Format: Hardback | 400 pages
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 224mm x 10mm | 358g
  • Publication date: 15 November 2010
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge
  • ISBN 10: 0521762251
  • ISBN 13: 9780521762250
  • Illustrations note: 5 b/w illus.
  • Sales rank: 143,912

Product description

Many scientists regard mass and energy as the primary currency of nature. In recent years, however, the concept of information has gained importance. Why? In this book, eminent scientists, philosophers and theologians chart various aspects of information, from quantum information to biological and digital information, in order to understand how nature works. Beginning with an historical treatment of the topic, the book also examines physical and biological approaches to information, and its philosophical, theological and ethical implications.

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Author information

Paul Davies is Director of the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science and Co-Director of the Cosmology Initiative, both at Arizona State University. He is a passionate science communicator, and has won several awards for his work, including the 2002 Michael Faraday Prize from the Royal Society for promoting science to the public. Niels Henrik Gregersen is Professor of Systematic Theology and Co-Director of the Centre of Naturalism and Christian Semantics, both at the University of Copenhagen. He has won several international research awards, including one from the John Templeton Foundation for work on the constructive interface between science and religion.

Review quote

'This is the anthology we have been waiting for ... seminal papers deal with matter through the history of Greek thought, seventeenth-century materialism and twentieth-century dematerialism, the need for a new scientific world view in the light of the quantum nature of the universe, and the storage and transmission of information in biological systems with the new knowledge of their genomes and development ... Philosophers, theologians and scientists all have their say, wrestling with the theme of God as the ultimate informational and structuring principle in the universe.' Professor Sir Brian Heap, President, European Academies Science Advisory Board, German Academy of Sciences '... Davies is without a doubt one of the best popular-science writers in the world ... if you want to know more about this novel take on reality, then I highly recommend Davies and Gregersen's erudite and entertaining collection.' Vlatko Vedral, Physics World

Table of contents

1. Introduction: does information matter?; Paul Davies and Niels Henrik Gregersen; Part I. History: 2. From matter to materialism ... and (almost) back Ernan McMullin; 3. Unsolved dilemmas: the concept of matter in the history of philosophy and in contemporary physics Philip Clayton; Part II. Physics: 4. Universe from bit Paul Davies; 5. The computational universe Seth Lloyd; 6. Minds and values in the quantum universe Henry Pierce Stapp; Part III. Biology: 7. The concept of information in biology John Maynard Smith; 8. Levels of information: Shannon-Bolzmann-Darwin Terrence W. Deacon; 9. Information and communication in living matter Bernd-Olaf Kuppers; 10. Semiotic freedom: an emerging force Jesper Hoffmeyer; 11. Care on earth: generating informed concern Holmes Rolston; Part IV. Philosophy and Theology: 12. The sciences of complexity - a new theological resource? Arthur Peacocke; 13. God as the ultimate informational principle Keith Ward; 14. Information, theology and the universe John F. Haught; 15. God, matter, and information: towards a Stoicizing Logos christology Niels Henrik Gregersen; 16. What is the 'spiritual body'? Michael Welker; Index.