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This was not at all what I had expected. I expected a review of everyday phenomena that exhibited some aspect of quantum behavior or good analogies of for quantum ideas. Instead this was a murky connection of various philosophies with quantum theory. Ideas like everyday experience seems kind of random, just like quantum randomness, or our internal thought processes feels kind of discreet and kind of continuous, just like quantum wave-particle duality. If this was the first of this silly type of book, it would be at least amusing, but after decades of such stuff it is merely hollow. I found the description of the book deceptive.
19 of 20 people found this review helpful
When I take the hatchet to a book I’m usually happy if others offer a second opinion. After all, writing books is hard work and books are usually harmless artifacts at worst. In this instance I find myself in strong disagreement with the previous reviewer, though I can appreciate what he’s saying. The title is indeed misleading, and some parts of the book can strike you at first as pseudoscientific mumbling. But that is a mistaken assessment. This is not a book of science or explanation of quantum theory. It is best described as a series of philosophical essays on aspects of quantum theory with a distinctly phenomenological slant. The chief influence is the French existentialist Merleau-Ponty, along with some (largely unacknowledged) points from Husserl on music. This sounds unfathomable, but it is fairly straightforward. The best sections of the book explore the paradoxes of light and visibility, Goethe’s theory of color, and a very interesting, to me, discussion of the paradoxes entailed in geometric concepts of points and lines. It is true that the author can sound a tad cosmic here and there as he dwells on duality and the ineffable. At times he sounds like he is taking Western Science and Cold Cartesians to task. But many card-carrying quantum physicists and cosmologists are not far behind him in that respect. At its best the book can be (the pun seems inevitable) an illuminating discourse on the mysterious nature of light. I enjoyed most of it and have listened to a few sections over again with intellectual pleasure. It isn’t for everyone, as the other reviewer makes clear. But for those with a speculative bent, I recommend it as an interesting accompaniment to one of the standard audiobooks on quantum theory. The reading is easy on the ears, rather pleasantly quiet and meditative.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful
This book is a philosopher's take on quantum physics. The author starts out by arguing that though quantum physics concepts are observed on micro level and are usually considered counter intuitive to our every day experience many analogs to quantum physics phenomena can be found in everyday life. He then proceeds to peer on the everyday life experience through the philosophical microscope. And sure enough, he finds lots of examples of quantum processes - uncertainty, non-locality etc, especially that he doesn't overburden his search with too much of logical thinking.
So where is the big surprise? On microscopic philosophical level every day experience resembles microscopic quantum processes. On microscopic philosophical level you can see anything you are looking for.
In no way this book can be considered an introduction to quantum physics unless you want to get acquainted with quantum physics without actually understanding anything about it. If you are looking for an introduction, "Quantum Physics Cannot Hurt You" is an excellent book.
This book is also not the one that will improve your understanding of the quantum physics's concepts you are already familiar is. The only time this book was interesting was when the author quoted people like Niels Bohr or Carl Yung.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful