This sharply intelligent, consistently provocative book takes the reader on an astonishing, thought-provoking voyage into the realm of delightful uncertainty--a world of paradox in which logical argument leads to contradiction and common sense is seemingly rendered irrelevant.
Paradoxes challenge our thinking about thought itself. By starting out with seemingly reasonable premises and then sabotaging them, paradoxes suggest that we may be deluded in ways we can't even imagine; they illuminate our uncertainties about the nature of reality, where consciousness comes from, free will vs. determinism. In a dazzling tour de force Poundstone ( The Recursive Universe ) leads us through a series of paradoxes that move from Sherlock Holmes's puzzles to time travel, from dismembered brains in vats to multiple worlds, from the libraries of Atlantis to black holes. Eminently accessible, this delightful, rapid-fire entertainment will appeal to readers of Douglas Hofstadter's Godel, Escher, Bach. Time and again, the paradoxes discussed serve as springboards to uncharted realms where mathematics, philosophy, information science and cosmology intersect and shade into one another.