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Anaximander: And the Nature of Science

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To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Anaximander celebrates the radical lack of certainty that defines the scientific quest for knowledge. Given that these are different ISBN numbers, what has changed in this new version; the original was already 5 star. Carlo Rovelli is a theoretical physicist who has made significant contributions to the physics of space and time. Anaximander assimilated Thales’s ideas, treated them with due respect, but then rejected and improved on them and came up with more exact theories of his own.

If I understand Carlo Rovelli’s position, there are absolute truths in each of these findings that cannot be undone even by following the type of scientific inquiry unleashed by Anaximander. This literal groundbreaking idea – inventing at a stroke the idea of the cosmos – was, as the historian of science Karl Popper suggested, “one of the boldest, most revolutionary and most portentous ideas in the whole history of human thinking”. This is the way forward, and everyone who cares about science should support their national organisation. As a stand-alone proposition, it is the least bit enlightening, but after reading this book I can appreciate that Anaximander’s contribution to scientific inquiry and analysis was monumental, as Carlo Rovelli teaches.That message, as relevant in Rovelli’s native Italy as in contemporary Britain, is this: “Each time that we – as a nation, a group, a continent or a religion – look inward in celebration of our specific identity we do nothing but lionise our own limits and sing of our stupidity.

The next step Rovelli takes is to try to understand why 6th century BC Greece was pretty well the only such starting point.Continued scientific inquiry will reveal those aspects of the theories provided by Einstein and Heisenberg that are absolute truth.

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