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Your energetic guide through the quirky business of quarks is narrator Erik Singer, expert teacher of speech and dialects. In addition to capably mimicking that weirdo physics teacher you had in high school, he showcases the full range of his European accents. As Harriman charts a course from the scientific method of ancient Greece to the bogus speculations of modern Germany, Singer does each and every quotation in the accent of its author. Most gratifying, of course, is his light Russian accenting on the choice bits of Ayn Rand in Peikoff's introduction and introductory chapter.
The first two-thirds of the book outline a history of the scientific method from the Objectivist viewpoint. From Galileo to Newton to Kepler, from astronomy to chemistry to physics, Harriman identifies major breakthroughs and corresponding missteps in well-known scientific discoveries as they relate to the problem of induction. The problem is whether induction, or generalization, is a reasonable way to draw conclusions. Harriman argues that good scientists uses math and experiment to prove inductive conclusions, and that the same principle can be applied to inductive conclusions in philosophy.
If you have an interest in Ayn Rand's theory of concepts and are willing to wade through all the physics, this is the book for you. Or if you have an interest in physics and are willing to sit through the hyperbole and didacticism that are threaded throughout the Objectivist interpretation, this is the book for you. Singer's voice work goes a long way to make this tome palatable, but it is for those with strength of mind, not for those faint of heart. —Megan Volpert
Inspired by and expanding on a series of lectures presented by Leonard Peikoff, David Harriman presents a fascinating answer to the problem of induction-the epistemological question of how we can know the truth of inductive generalizations. Ayn Rand presented her revolutionary theory of concepts in her book Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. As Dr. Peikoff subsequently explored the concept of induction, he sought out David Harriman, a physicist who had taught philosophy, for his expert knowledge of the scientific discovery process. Here, Harriman presents the result of a collaboration between scientist and philosopher.
Beginning with a detailed discussion of the role of mathematics and experimentation in validating generalizations in physics-looking closely at the reasoning of scientists such as Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Lavoisier, and Maxwell-Harriman skillfully argues that the inductive method used in philosophy is in principle indistinguishable from the method used in physics.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By David on 08-17-10
Wonderful journey through scientific history
This is a very well written and brilliantly conceived book. I am very interested in sciences, and have studied science most of my life, so I found this subject very appealing. However, I think it is still very accessible for those with less of a background in science.
On one hand, it weaves a fantastic journey through the history of great science. Hundreds of years of experiment and discovery that come across so beautifully. This is expertly tied to philosophical references and counterpoints throughout. So beyond a story of the development of what we now consider basic knowledge (which alone would be interesting enough), we also learn about the logical and correct way that people can use observation and experimentation to derive universal truths. We also learn when to dismiss what cannot be true.
The narrator, on the whole, does a great job. He has a good reading voice that is easy to follow and listen to. However, he uses very theatrical accents when reading quotations. No doubt they are very good accents, and suit those figures who first spoke them, but they distract immensely from the information that is being conveyed to the listener. That is my only complaint.
In summary, it's a great combination of amazing science, amazing characters, and valuable lessons of logic and inductive reasoning. I also appreciate that the structure of approach of this subject is related to Ayn Rand's philosophy and reasoning. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in science, history, philosophy, or thinking in general.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful
By Eric on 10-12-10
This was quite a refreshing read and I think an excellent start on a reality based philosophy of science. Having read Kuhn and other philosophers of science and thinking "WTF?!" as I was reading them, this book clearly delineates the point where they said good by to reality and why their philosophies seem to wander into relativism and contradiction.
If you are struggling with Kuhn or the nature of science, read this book.
The only thing that I could have done with less of was the constant almost sycophantic mentioning of Rand. I enjoy her philosophy, but this type of almost worshipful behavior is why people classify try to classify objectivism as a cult. Please stop, her ideas stand on their own. No worship is required.
12 of 15 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Harris Totle on 06-02-15
This book is life changing.
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
What other book might you compare The Logical Leap to, and why?
Singularly important, there is no similar book.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Any additional comments?
Harriman puts induction squarely back its throne where it deserves to be...and in so doing curses David Hume for his unsophisticated assessment of same.
By Simon on 02-13-13
Fascinating subject, rediculous answer!
This book begins by asking one of the most fascinating questions for anyone with an interest in the philosophy of science, however it goes on to solve these problems by abandoning all traditional views of epistemology in favour of those of Ayn Rand!!
I confess that having realised just how Rand centric this book was I did not continue to the end and so can't comment on how successfuly this was done. However unless you happen to be a fannatic Rand supporter I question the purpose of understanding how to justify scientific induction in terms of her epistemology. Just as there is no purpose to being able to solve the problem, assuming the moon is made of chease, there is little point to knowing a solution that hinges on this premise that almost no one will ever accept.