Cover image for The creative power of chance
Title:
The creative power of chance
Author:
Lestienne, Rémy.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Hasard créateur. English
Publication Information:
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, [1998]

©1998
Physical Description:
202 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Language:
English
Subject Term:
ISBN:
9780252023866

9780252066863
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library BC141 .L4713 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

In 1859 Charles Darwin used chance to introduce random mutations and selection as the basis for evolution, and James Clerk Maxwell used it to lay down the principles of the statistical mechanics of gases. Since then chance has invaded every corner of scientific activity. It is used today in fields as diverse as cosmology, particle physics, the social sciences, the study of the immune system, and the neurosciences.

Dismissing chaos theory as a crutch, Remy Lestienne argues that chance is a real creative force. Using insights that evoke C. S. Peirce and others in his field, Lestienne finds support in many scientific developments for the presence of true chance in the world. His presentation of the history of the concept of chance and its present role in science will appeal strongly to readers with an interest in science and those who look for it in metaphysical issues.


Summary

In 1859, Charles Darwin used chance to introduce random mutations and selection as the basis for his theory of evolution. Since then, chance has invaded every corner of scientific inquiry. French scientist Remy Lestienne argues that chance is a real creative force and cites scientific evidence for the presence of true chance in the world.


Reviews 2

Choice Review

This is a penetrating exploration of the place of chance in nature. Chance is a central theme of 20th-century science that has revolutionized scientific worldviews. Lestienne looks to science for illumination of deep philosophical questions about time, freedom, and determinism. He argues for the existence of a "true chance" that has "creative power." The discussion ranges over concepts of chance in Darwinian evolution, entropy in statistical mechanics, and probability in quantum theory. Chance processes play a decisive role in the evolution of life and of the universe. This is a sophisticated treatment of a difficult subject. The style is clear and concise in a smooth translation from French. The science is solid and the logical analysis cogent. The footnotes provide good documentation. The work will be of greatest interest to specialists at the upper-division undergraduate level and above. It should also be intriguing to a general audience despite the conceptual complexity of the subject. H. C. Byerly; emeritus, University of Arizona


Choice Review

This is a penetrating exploration of the place of chance in nature. Chance is a central theme of 20th-century science that has revolutionized scientific worldviews. Lestienne looks to science for illumination of deep philosophical questions about time, freedom, and determinism. He argues for the existence of a "true chance" that has "creative power." The discussion ranges over concepts of chance in Darwinian evolution, entropy in statistical mechanics, and probability in quantum theory. Chance processes play a decisive role in the evolution of life and of the universe. This is a sophisticated treatment of a difficult subject. The style is clear and concise in a smooth translation from French. The science is solid and the logical analysis cogent. The footnotes provide good documentation. The work will be of greatest interest to specialists at the upper-division undergraduate level and above. It should also be intriguing to a general audience despite the conceptual complexity of the subject. H. C. Byerly; emeritus, University of Arizona


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