Conversations on Mind, Matter and Mathematics by J.-P. Changeux
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Conversations on Mind, Matter and Mathematics
By J.-P. Changeux

Conversations on Mind, Matter and Mathematics

By (author) See other recent books by J.-P. Changeux See other recent books by Alain Connes
Translated by M. B. DeBevoise See other recent books by M. B. DeBevoise
Format: Paperback

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Conversations on Mind, Matter and Mathematics by J.-P. Changeux

Book Awards

  • Runner-up for Choice Magazine Outstanding Reference/Academic Book Award 1995.

Book Description

Do numbers and the other objects of mathematics enjoy a timeless existence independent of human minds, or are they the products of cerebral invention? Do we discover them, as Plato supposed and many others have believed since, or do we construct them? Does mathematics constitute a universal language that in principle would permit human beings to communicate with extraterrestrial civilizations elsewhere in the universe, or is it merely an earthly language that owes its accidental existence to the peculiar evolution of neuronal networks in our brains? Does the physical world actually obey mathematical laws, or does it seem to conform to them simply because physicists have increasingly been able to make mathematical sense of it? Jean-Pierre Changeux, an internationally renowned neurobiologist, and Alain Connes, one of the most eminent living mathematicians, find themselves deeply divided by these questions. The problematic status of mathematical objects leads Changeux and Connes to the organization and function of the brain, the ways in which its embryonic and post-natal development influences the unfolding of mathematical reasoning and other kinds of thinking, and whether human intelligence can be simulated, modeled,--or actually reproduced-- by mechanical means. The two men go on to pose ethical questions, inquiring into the natural foundations of morality and the possibility that it may have a neural basis underlying its social manifestations. This vivid record of profound disagreement and, at the same time, sincere search for mutual understanding, follows in the tradition of Poincare, Hadamard, and von Neumann in probing the limits of human experience and intellectual possibility. Why order should exist in the world at all, and why it should be comprehensible to human beings, is the question that lies at the heart of these remarkable dialogues.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780691004051
ISBN-10: 0691004056
Format: Paperback
(203mm x 127mm x 15mm)
Pages: 272
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 7-Dec-1998
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...

Books By Author J.-P. Changeux

Neuronal Man by J.-P. Changeux Neuronal Man, Paperback (April 1997)

There has been an explosive increase in scientists' ability to explain the structure and functioning of the human brain. This title elucidates knowledge of the human brain, taking an interdisciplinary approach and explaining in layman's terms the complex theories and scientific breakthroughs.

» View all books by J.-P. Changeux


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