A Certain Ambiguity

A Mathematical Novel

Author: Gaurav Suri,Hartosh Singh Bal

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9781400834778

Category: Fiction

Page: 296

View: 4869

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While taking a class on infinity at Stanford in the late 1980s, Ravi Kapoor discovers that he is confronting the same mathematical and philosophical dilemmas that his mathematician grandfather had faced many decades earlier--and that had landed him in jail. Charged under an obscure blasphemy law in a small New Jersey town in 1919, Vijay Sahni is challenged by a skeptical judge to defend his belief that the certainty of mathematics can be extended to all human knowledge--including religion. Together, the two men discover the power--and the fallibility--of what has long been considered the pinnacle of human certainty, Euclidean geometry. As grandfather and grandson struggle with the question of whether there can ever be absolute certainty in mathematics or life, they are forced to reconsider their fundamental beliefs and choices. Their stories hinge on their explorations of parallel developments in the study of geometry and infinity--and the mathematics throughout is as rigorous and fascinating as the narrative and characters are compelling and complex. Moving and enlightening, A Certain Ambiguity is a story about what it means to face the extent--and the limits--of human knowledge.

A Certain Ambiguity

A Mathematical Novel

Author: Gaurav Suri,Hartosh Singh Bal

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 0691127093

Category: Fiction

Page: 281

View: 3773

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While taking a class on infinity at Stanford in the late 1980s, Ravi Kapoor discovers that he is confronting the same mathematical and philosophical dilemmas that his mathematician grandfather had faced many decades earlier--and that had landed him in jail. Charged under an obscure blasphemy law in a small New Jersey town in 1919, Vijay Sahni is challenged by a skeptical judge to defend his belief that the certainty of mathematics can be extended to all human knowledge--including religion. Together, the two men discover the power--and the fallibility--of what has long been considered the pinnacle of human certainty, Euclidean geometry. As grandfather and grandson struggle with the question of whether there can ever be absolute certainty in mathematics or life, they are forced to reconsider their fundamental beliefs and choices. Their stories hinge on their explorations of parallel developments in the study of geometry and infinity--and the mathematics throughout is as rigorous and fascinating as the narrative and characters are compelling and complex. Moving and enlightening, A Certain Ambiguity is a story about what it means to face the extent--and the limits--of human knowledge.

Pythagoras' Revenge

A Mathematical Mystery

Author: Arturo Sangalli

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9780691049557

Category: Fiction

Page: 183

View: 8897

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The celebrated mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras left no writings. But what if he had and the manuscript had never been found? Where would it be located? Two mathematicians, one American, one British, set out, unbeknownst to each other, to find the missing manuscript.

How Mathematicians Think

Using Ambiguity, Contradiction, and Paradox to Create Mathematics

Author: William Byers

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9780691145990

Category: Mathematics

Page: 424

View: 4345

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To many outsiders, mathematicians appear to think like computers, grimly grinding away with a strict formal logic and moving methodically--even algorithmically--from one black-and-white deduction to another. Yet mathematicians often describe their most important breakthroughs as creative, intuitive responses to ambiguity, contradiction, and paradox. A unique examination of this less-familiar aspect of mathematics, How Mathematicians Think reveals that mathematics is a profoundly creative activity and not just a body of formalized rules and results. Nonlogical qualities, William Byers shows, play an essential role in mathematics. Ambiguities, contradictions, and paradoxes can arise when ideas developed in different contexts come into contact. Uncertainties and conflicts do not impede but rather spur the development of mathematics. Creativity often means bringing apparently incompatible perspectives together as complementary aspects of a new, more subtle theory. The secret of mathematics is not to be found only in its logical structure. The creative dimensions of mathematical work have great implications for our notions of mathematical and scientific truth, and How Mathematicians Think provides a novel approach to many fundamental questions. Is mathematics objectively true? Is it discovered or invented? And is there such a thing as a "final" scientific theory? Ultimately, How Mathematicians Think shows that the nature of mathematical thinking can teach us a great deal about the human condition itself.

Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man

Author: Siegfried Sassoon

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 1101598867

Category: Fiction

Page: 320

View: 6527

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The first volume in Siegfried Sassoon’s beloved trilogy, The Complete Memoirs of George Sherston, with a new introduction by celebrated historian Paul Fussell A highly decorated English soldier and an acclaimed poet and novelist, Siegfried Sassoon won fame for his trilogy of fictionalized autobiographies that wonderfully capture the vanishing idylls of Edwardian England and the brutal realities of war. In this first novel of the semiautobiographical George Sherston trilogy, Sassoon wonderfully captures the vanishing idylls of the Edwardian English countryside. Never out of print since its original publication in 1928, when it won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, Sassoon's reminiscences about childhood and the beginning of World War I are channeled through young George Sherston, whose life of local cricket tournaments and fox-hunts falls apart as war approaches and he joins up to fight. Sassoon's first novel, though rife with comic characters and a jaunty sense of storytelling, presents his own loss of innocence and the destruction of the country he knew and loved. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Seven Types Of Ambiguity

Author: William Empson

Publisher: Read Books Ltd

ISBN: 1473351464

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 280

View: 9923

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Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.

Salvador

Author: Joan Didion

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 0679751831

Category: Political Science

Page: 108

View: 8926

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The author recounts her 1982 visit to El Salvador and describes the terror, fear and political repression that permeated the country

Seven Types of Ambiguity

Author: Elliot Perlman

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 1101217332

Category: Fiction

Page: 640

View: 7968

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Seven Types of Ambiguity is a psychological thriller and a literary adventure of breathtaking scope. Celebrated as a novelist in the tradition of Jonathan Franzen and Philip Roth, Elliot Perlman writes of impulse and paralysis, empty marriages, lovers, gambling, and the stock market; of adult children and their parents; of poetry and prostitution, psychiatry and the law. Comic, poetic, and full of satiric insight, Seven Types of Ambiguity is, above all, a deeply romantic novel that speaks with unforgettable force about the redemptive power of love. The story is told in seven parts, by six different narrators, whose lives are entangled in unexpected ways. Following years of unrequited love, an out-of-work schoolteacher decides to take matters into his own hands, triggering a chain of events that neither he nor his psychiatrist could have anticipated. Brimming with emotional, intellectual, and moral dilemmas, this novel-reminiscent of the richest fiction of the nineteenth century in its labyrinthine complexity-unfolds at a rapid-fire pace to reveal the full extent to which these people have been affected by one another and by the insecure and uncertain times in which they live. Our times, now.

Switch

How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

Author: Chip Heath,Dan Heath

Publisher: Crown Business

ISBN: 9780307590169

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 320

View: 8658

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Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives? The primary obstacle is a conflict that’s built into our brains, say Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the critically acclaimed bestseller Made to Stick. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems—the rational mind and the emotional mind—that compete for control. The rational mind wants a great beach body; the emotional mind wants that Oreo cookie. The rational mind wants to change something at work; the emotional mind loves the comfort of the existing routine. This tension can doom a change effort—but if it is overcome, change can come quickly. In Switch, the Heaths show how everyday people—employees and managers, parents and nurses—have united both minds and, as a result, achieved dramatic results: ● The lowly medical interns who managed to defeat an entrenched, decades-old medical practice that was endangering patients. ● The home-organizing guru who developed a simple technique for overcoming the dread of housekeeping. ● The manager who transformed a lackadaisical customer-support team into service zealots by removing a standard tool of customer service. In a compelling, story-driven narrative, the Heaths bring together decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can effect transformative change. Switch shows that successful changes follow a pattern, a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world or changing your waistline.

Stanley Goes for a Drive

Author: Craig Frazier

Publisher: Chronicle Books

ISBN: 1452112576

Category: Juvenile Fiction

Page: 40

View: 5672

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One hot day, Stanley sets out for a drive with little on his mind. The road is dusty, the pond dry, the cows hot and tired—a usual summer day...or is it? In his first book for children, renowned graphic designer Craig Frazier has combined bold, dynamic illustrations with a simple story that celebrates the imagination and the art of looking at the world in your own way.

The Giver

Author: Lois Lowry

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

ISBN: 054434068X

Category: Juvenile Fiction

Page: 240

View: 8699

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Living in a "perfect" world without social ills, a boy approaches the time when he will receive a life assignment from the Elders, but his selection leads him to a mysterious man known as the Giver, who reveals the dark secrets behind the utopian facade.

The Ethics of Ambiguity

Author: Simone de Beauvoir

Publisher: Open Road Media

ISBN: 1504054210

Category: Philosophy

Page: 192

View: 4170

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From the groundbreaking author of The Second Sex comes a radical argument for ethical responsibility and freedom. In this classic introduction to existentialist thought, French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir’s The Ethics of Ambiguity simultaneously pays homage to and grapples with her French contemporaries, philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, by arguing that the freedoms in existentialism carry with them certain ethical responsibilities. De Beauvoir outlines a series of “ways of being” (the adventurer, the passionate person, the lover, the artist, and the intellectual), each of which overcomes the former’s deficiencies, and therefore can live up to the responsibilities of freedom. Ultimately, de Beauvoir argues that in order to achieve true freedom, one must battle against the choices and activities of those who suppress it. The Ethics of Ambiguity is the book that launched Simone de Beauvoir’s feminist and existential philosophy. It remains a concise yet thorough examination of existence and what it means to be human.

The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci

Author: Jonathan D. Spence

Publisher: Quercus Books

ISBN: 9781847243447

Category: Jesuits

Page: 350

View: 883

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In 1577 a Jesuit priest named Matteo Ricci set out from Italy on a long journey to bring the Christian faith and Western thought to Ming dynasty China. He spent time in India and Macao before entering China in 1583 to undertake mission work. Travelling widely, Ricci learned local languages, mastered Chinese classical script, drew the first-ever map of the world in Chinese and acquired a rich appreciation of the indigenous culture of his hosts. In 1596 Ricci wrote a short book in Chinese on the art of memory for the governor of Jiangxi province, who was preparing his three sons for China's demanding civil service examinations. In it he described a 'memory palace' in which to hold knowledge such as might help the three brothers and their peers in the Ming social elite to pass their exams with flying colours. Ricci must have hoped that, in gratitude to him for instructing them in mnemonic skills, they would use their newly won prestige to further the cause of the Catholic Church in China. To capture the complex emotional and religious drama of Ricci's life, author Jonathan Spence relates the missionary's experiences via a series of images. Four of these images derive from events described in the Bible, the others from Ricci's book on the art of memory that was circulated among members of the Ming dynasty elite. A rich and compelling narrative about a remarkable life, The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci is also a significant work of global history, juxtaposing the world of Counter-Reformation Europe with that of Ming China.

The Limits of Transparency

Ambiguity and the History of International Finance

Author: Jacqueline Best

Publisher: Cornell University Press

ISBN: 9780801473777

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 219

View: 3848

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Jacqueline Best has developed a novel theoretical framework to more fully comprehend the role of ambiguity in international governance.

The Mathematician's Brain

A Personal Tour Through the Essentials of Mathematics and Some of the Great Minds Behind Them

Author: David Ruelle

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 0691190305

Category: Mathematics

Page: N.A

View: 377

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The Mathematician's Brain poses a provocative question about the world's most brilliant yet eccentric mathematical minds: were they brilliant because of their eccentricities or in spite of them? In this thought-provoking and entertaining book, David Ruelle, the well-known mathematical physicist who helped create chaos theory, gives us a rare insider's account of the celebrated mathematicians he has known-their quirks, oddities, personal tragedies, bad behavior, descents into madness, tragic ends, and the sublime, inexpressible beauty of their most breathtaking mathematical discoveries. Consider the case of British mathematician Alan Turing. Credited with cracking the German Enigma code during World War II and conceiving of the modern computer, he was convicted of "gross indecency" for a homosexual affair and died in 1954 after eating a cyanide-laced apple--his death was ruled a suicide, though rumors of assassination still linger. Ruelle holds nothing back in his revealing and deeply personal reflections on Turing and other fellow mathematicians, including Alexander Grothendieck, René Thom, Bernhard Riemann, and Felix Klein. But this book is more than a mathematical tell-all. Each chapter examines an important mathematical idea and the visionary minds behind it. Ruelle meaningfully explores the philosophical issues raised by each, offering insights into the truly unique and creative ways mathematicians think and showing how the mathematical setting is most favorable for asking philosophical questions about meaning, beauty, and the nature of reality. The Mathematician's Brain takes you inside the world--and heads--of mathematicians. It's a journey you won't soon forget.

Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves

Author: Mark Z. Danielewski,Zampan?o

Publisher: Pantheon

ISBN: 0375420525

Category: Fiction

Page: 709

View: 1124

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A family relocates to a small house on Ash Tree Lane and discovers that the inside of their new home seems to be without boundaries

Orpheus and the Roots of Platonism

Author: Algis Uzdavinys

Publisher: The Matheson Trust

ISBN: 1908092076

Category: Body, Mind & Spirit

Page: 118

View: 9601

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A book on the religious, mystic origins and substance of philosophy. This is a critical survey of ancient and modern sources and of scholarly works dealing with Orpheus and everything related to this major figure of ancient Greek myth, religion and philosophy. Here poetic madness meets religious initiation and Platonic philosophy. This book contains fascinating insights into the usually downplaid relations between Egyptian initiation, Greek mysteries and Plato's philosophy and followers, right into Hellenistic Neoplatonic and Hermetic developments.

Letters of Louis MacNeice

Author: Louis MacNeice

Publisher: Faber & Faber

ISBN: 0571263461

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 456

View: 4971

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Louis MacNeice is increasingly recognised as one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century, and his work has been a defining influence upon a generation of Irish poets that includes Derek Mahon, Michael Longley and Paul Muldoon. The Selected Letters is indispensable as a resource for an understanding of the intellectual culture of the mid-twentieth century. A Classics don, poet, playwright and globetrotting BBC producer, the medley and blend of MacNeice's cultural influences seems exemplary in its modernity. He kept up a significant correspondence with E. R. Dodds, Anthony Blunt and T. S. Eliot, to name but three prominent figures of the time. During his time at the BBC MacNeice witnessed many key events, including the partition of India in 1947 and the independence of the Gold Coast from Britain in 1957, and these are recorded in two long sequences to his wife, the singer Hedli Anderson. His complex relationship to Ireland and to his Irish heritages speak resonantly to contemporary debates about Irish and Northern Irish cultural identity. Finally, the Letters will do much to broaden our understanding of a vivid and often enigmatic personality whose varied life and individual charisma have often resisted explanation.

The Idea of Humanity in a Global Era

Author: B. Mazlish

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 023061776X

Category: History

Page: 191

View: 7349

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This book explores the idea of humanity in the modern age of globalization, tracking it in the historical, philosophical, legal, and political realms.

Beasts of Eden

Walking Whales, Dawn Horses, and Other Enigmas of Mammal Evolution

Author: David Rains Wallace

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 9780520237315

Category: Science

Page: 340

View: 3394

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In this account of early mammals and their evolution, a leading naturalist presents fossil discoveries such as towering mammoths, tiny horses, and whales with legs, among other exotic extinct species, providing an expansive perspective on the grandeur of evolution.