Infinity and the Mind: The Science and Philosophy of the Infinite (Paperback)
A fun introduction to the mathematics of the infinite with philosophical overtones to boot. It includes some interesting personal narrative as well as an interview with Kurt Godel. There are also exercises (with answers!) to help keep you thinking.— From Andy's Staff Favorites
In Infinity and the Mind, Rudy Rucker leads an excursion to that stretch of the universe he calls the "Mindscape," where he explores infinity in all its forms: potential and actual, mathematical and physical, theological and mundane. Rucker acquaints us with Godel's rotating universe, in which it is theoretically possible to travel into the past, and explains an interpretation of quantum mechanics in which billions of parallel worlds are produced every microsecond. It is in the realm of infinity, he maintains, that mathematics, science, and logic merge with the fantastic. By closely examining the paradoxes that arise from this merging, we can learn a great deal about the human mind, its powers, and its limitations.
Using cartoons, puzzles, and quotations to enliven his text, Rucker guides us through such topics as the paradoxes of set theory, the possibilities of physical infinities, and the results of Godel's incompleteness theorems. His personal encounters with Godel the mathematician and philosopher provide a rare glimpse at genius and reveal what very few mathematicians have dared to admit: the transcendent implications of Platonic realism.
About the Author
Rudy Rucker is Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at San Jose State University and the author of numerous books on mathematics and philosophy, including Artificial Life Lab, Mind Tools: The Five Levels of Mathematical Reality, and The Fourth Dimension: A Guided Tour of Higher Universes. Among his works of science fiction are White Light, Software, and Space-Time Donuts.