Time, the fundamental dimension of our existence, has fascinated artists, philosophers, and scientists of every culture and every century. All of us can remember. The End of Certainty.: Time, Chaos and the New Laws of Nature Written by Ilya Prigogine (New York: The Free Press, , pages). Reviewed by Sally. Viscount Ilya Romanovich Prigogine was a physical chemist and Nobel laureate noted for his work on dissipative structures.
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The End of Certainty – Ilya Prigogine, Isabelle Stengers – Google Books
The End of Certainty by Ilya Prigogine. Time, the fundamental certaunty of our existence, has fascinated artists, philosophers, and scientists of every culture and every century. All of us can remember a moment as a child when time became a personal reality, when we realized what a “year” was, or asked ourselves when “now” happened. Common sense says time moves forward, never backward, from cradle to grave. Neve Time, the fundamental dimension of our existence, has fascinated artists, philosophers, and scientists of every culture and every century.
Nevertheless, Einstein said that time is an illusion. Nature’s laws, as he and Newton defined them, describe a timeless, deterministic universe within which we can make predictions with complete certainty. In effect, these great physicists contended that time is reversible and thus meaningless. Hardcoverpages. Published August 17th by Free Press first published Prigpgine see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The End of Certaintyplease sign up.
Lists with This Book. Jun 13, I,ya rated it really liked it Shelves: It must be said that my background in mathematics which is about what could be expected of a “layman” who is interested in science was not quite up to following the mathematical demonstrations in the book. For thr book allegedly written for a lay audience, the author could have done better laying out the pprigogine, or at least cergainty some introductory texts.
At least the book is extensively footnoted, so one could presumably follow up on the references and educate oneself Without more It must be said that my background in mathematics which is certaibty what could be expected of a “layman” who is interested in science was not quite up to following the mathematical demonstrations in the book. Without more confidence in the mathematical claims, it is hard to verify whether this text is as “revolutionary” as it en to be.
To give the authors the benefit of the doubt however, philosophically thier claim is a compelling one: The authors claim that this means we live in a probablistic, not a deterministic, universe. This much can be gleaned from reading the dust jacket. Jun 23, Mj Harding rated it really liked it.
Although some of the more discipline-friendly language eluded my grasp, I appreciated the connections outside of the realm of science that Prigogine made and I found his argument about certaihty existence of time and the uncertainty that it brings with it to physics thr be quite exciting at several junctures ; however, the early note that he wrote about the book being written for those outside of the hard sciences seem to me to be a tad exaggerated.
Mar 29, Jacob J rated it really liked it Shelves: Prigogine makes lots of interesting arguments in this book. He argues at length for the necessity of an arrow of time to account for time-irreversible processes studied in thermodynamics.
Far-from-equilibrium processes and chaotic systems provide the examples, and as he points out, these are the most common things found in nature all the time-reversible stuff is generally a simplification of what actually occurs in nature. At the end of the book, he offers a solution to the problem of the spec Prigogine makes lots of interesting arguments in this book.
At the end of the book, he offers a solution to the problem of the special role of the observer in quantum mechanics. I also found his refutation of determinism to be quite interesting.
The End of Certainty:
It is not exactly a light read, but well worth the time. Jun 08, Damon rated it really liked it.
certaintt This was a hard book to read. I will not pretend to know or even understand that hundreds of equations and mathematics jlya. I dutifully read it all as if running a hand along over a body of water and absorbed what I could.
If I got it, then Ilya is saying that he’s proven that time reversibility is not in fact possible. The arrow of time points in one direction Oct 14, Rhys rated it it certainnty ok. Completely missed the general audience. The irreversibility of time, far-from-equilibrium thermodynamics,autopoeisis of complex systems – who wouldn’t have been excited about this book? I just got roughed up by a math-stick. Better to read Deacon’s Incomplete Nature for a clearer exposition of this topic, I prigogibe.
Jan 19, Mona M. Abd El-Rahman rated it really liked it Shelves: The book begins by asserting the importance of the role of time in the newly emerging science. Albert Einstein often asserted that Time is pribogine illusion. This is true but only within the confines of classical Newtonian dynamics, relativity and quantum physics which do not distinguish between past and cwrtainty. Yet everywhere – in chemistry, geology, cosmology, biology and the human sciences- past and future play different roles.
This is the time paradox, one of the central concerns of this book. How The book begins by asserting the importance of the role of time in the newly emerging science. However, Prigogine believes that the paradox has been solved by the two recent developments in physics: Over the past several decades, a new science has been born, the physics of non-equilibrium processes, and has led to concepts such ilga self-organization and dissipative structures.
This new science is widely used to day in a large spectrum of disciplines, including cosmology, chemistry, biology including evolutionecology and the social sciences. These processes illustrate the constructive role of time.
Figuratively speaking, matter at equilibrium, with no arrow of time is blind, but with the arrow of time it begins to see. Without this new coherence due to irreversible, non-equilibrium processes, life on earth would be impossible to envision. Classical science emphasized order and stability; now in contrast, we see fluctuations, instability, multiple choices, and limited predictability at all levels of observation.
Classical and quantum physics can be extended to include instability and certsinty.
In classical physics, laws of nature express certitudes. Once instability is included, the meaning of the laws of nature changes radically, and they now express possibilities or probabilities. We are now able to include probabilities in the formulation of the basics laws of physics.
At the end of this century, it is often asked prugogine the future of science may be. For some, such as Stephen W. Hawking in his Brief History of Time, we are close to the end, the moment when we shall be able to read the mind of God.
In contrast, Prigogine believes that we are actually at liya beginning of a new scientific era, the birth of a science that is no longer limited prigogije idealized and simplified situations but reflects the complexity of the real world. Is the universe ruled by deterministic laws? What is the nature of time?. What could be the meaning of human freedom in a deterministic world of atoms?: Time-old questions that have occupied the human mind since the time of the Pre-Socratics years ago.
Kant, Whitehead, Heiddeger and many other great thinkers felt that they had to make a tragic choice between an alienating science or an anti-scientific philosophy or theology. They attempted to find some kind of compromise, but they all failed The history of Western philosophy is characterized by perpetual oscillations between viewing the world as an automaton and a theology in which God governs the universe.
Prigogine believes that the recent developments in the physics and mathematics associated with chaos and instability have opened up different avenues of investigation. We are beginning to see these problems, which deal with the very position of mankind in nature, in a new light, and can now avoid the contradictions and dilemmas of the past.
Prigogine emphasizes the constructive role of irreversibility, which is very striking in prigogin situations. We are now learning that it is precisely through irreversible processes associated with the arrow of time that nature achieves its most delicate and complex structures. Life is possible only in a non-equilibrium universe. This is contrary to the classical view in which irreversibility is viewed as an illusion not as a basic law of nature.
As the physicist Roman Smoluchowski put it, if we continued our observation for an immeasurably long time, all processes would apprear to be prigoginr. The distinction between reversible and irreversible processes was introduced through the concept of entropy associated with the so-called Second Law of Thermodymanics. Entropy was defined by Rudolf Julius Clausius in According to this law, irreversible processes produce entropy. In ioya, reversible processes leave the entropy constant.
We recall here Clausius’s famous formulation: The energy of the universe is constant. The entropy of the universe is increasing.
This increase in entropy is due to the irreversible processes that take place in the universe. Clausius’s statement was the first formulation of an evolutionary view of the universe based on the existence of these processes. Arthur Stanley Eddington called entropy the arrow of time. Nevertheless, according to the fundamental laws of physics, there should be no irreversible processes. We therefore see that we have inherited two conflicting views of nature from the nineteenth century: