Why Beliefs Matter: Reflections on the Nature of Science

ISBN : 9780199586202

E. Brian Davies
272 Pages
163 x 241 mm
Pub date
Jul 2010
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This book discusses deep problems about our place in the world with a minimum of technical jargon. It argues that 'absolutist' ideas dating back to Plato continue to mislead generations of theoretical physicists and theologians. It explains that the multi-layered nature of our present descriptions of the world is unavoidable, not because of anything about the world but because of our own human natures. It tries to rescue mathematics from the singular and exceptional status that it has been assigned, as much by those who understand it as by those who do not. It provides direct quotations from many of the important contributors to its subject, and concludes with a penetrating criticism of many of the recent contributions to the often acrimonious debates about science and religions.


1. The Scientific Revolution
2. The Human Condition
3. The Nature of Mathematics
4. Sense and Nonsense
5. Science and Religion

About the author: 

Educated at the University of Oxford, E. Brian Davies is Professor of Mathematics at King's College, London and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He developed the theory of open quantum systems, writing a monograph on the subject which became the standard text. He has published almost 300 articles and four books on subjects ranging from quantum theory to pure mathematics, and is currently working in both computational analysis and the philosophy of science. He has held visiting positions at a number of leading universities in Europe and the USA. He was awarded the Senior Berwick Prize by the London Mathematical Society in 1998, and was President of London Mathematical Society 2008-2009.

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