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Good and Real: Demystifying Paradoxes from Physics to Ethics
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Good and Real: Demystifying Paradoxes from Physics to Ethics

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  103 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
In Good and Real, Gary Drescher examines a series of provocative paradoxes about consciousness, choice, ethics, quantum mechanics, and other topics, in an effort to reconcile a purely mechanical view of the universe with key aspects of our subjective impressions of our own existence.

Many scientists suspect that the universe can ultimately be described by a simple (perhaps
Hardcover, 347 pages
Published May 5th 2006 by MIT Press (MA)
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Aug 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is amazing. The author uses a series of thought experiments to explore some conundrums about everyday life. The book addresses how consciousness may work, why time seems to flow in one direction, why the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics makes no sense, and how all of that ties together and supports certain common ethical prescriptions.

The thought experiments in the book are very enlightening and insightful, but are not always presented well. In particular, the quantum mec
May 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy
I only went about half way through this book. If you are already exposed to the pop recapitulations of the "arrow of time," a mechanist account of consciousness, how a determinist can account for moral values etc. etc., it can be kind of dreary.

What is great is Drescher's interesting defense of the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics, and his look at how people might (mistakenly) interpret how a mirror reflects in the abscence of knowledge.
Adnan Ali
Nov 30, 2010 marked it as unfinished
One of the more challenging books I've come across.
Feb 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
There is some circular reasoning in the book (why should we care about our future / parallel branches / past selves), and some questions on self-reciprocity are left unanswered. Also, author tries to substantiate certain strategies (e.g. transparent-boxes version of Newcomb problem) on unfounded future self / parallel branch proposals, while much simpler precommitment notion would suffice.

Overall, this is a great though somewhat dull account on subjective human experiences, thinking and deciding
Daniel Frank
Nov 10, 2016 rated it liked it
I disagree with most of Drescher's conclusions even though I'm also a determinist, but it was worthwhile reading his arguments. This book suffers from some bad philosophy (his use of definitions to solve philosophical problems is particularly awful), but that's okay because of how novel and ambitious it is. I wish this book received a greater response, because I would love to see the issues discussed in a broader context.

Augusts Bautra
Jul 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Drescher provides an unexpectedly clear and powerful take on several long seated, but mistaken (according to him) concepts in quantum physics and ethics. As the subtitle promises, he does indeed provide plausible answers to some paradoxes encountered in these fields. I found the book to be too technically weighty in the choice machine and Newcomb's problem sections, but nevertheless enjoyed the honest and coherent narrative.
Certainly, a must-read for every Bright interested in ethics.
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