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Paul Davies: The Mind of God

Paul Davies’ book is a thought-provoking and accessible introduction to many of the ‘big questions’ — questions such as ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?’ and ‘Where do the laws of nature come from?’. He also discusses at some length the limits of knowledge: are we able to answer such questions, or are there some questions which we can never answer, even in principle? He writes with clarity and plenty of examples and analogies, including I think the clearest explanation of Gödel’s incompleteness theorem in prose rather than mathematics that I have come across. My main criticism is that it is too short to do justice to the range of topics that he covers — but then many of the topics he deals with could take up half a library in themselves. However, given the length of the book, I felt the discussion of ‘the-World-as-information’ took up rather more space than warranted. However, that’s a minor criticism, and overall it is a well-balanced piece of writing, and well worth reading.

One thing that reading this book made me decide, is to write down a counterargument to the ontological argument — or, as I shall now call it, the ontological fallacy. While I’ve read about, and thought about, plenty of philosophical arguments, I rarely take the time to write down anything about any of them; but perhaps I should. Or not. Anyway, I’ve written my thoughts about this topic down: The Ontological Fallacy.

© Aidan Reilly 2018