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Astronomy | The Beginning and the End - The Meaning of Life in a Cosmological Perspective

The Beginning and the End

The Meaning of Life in a Cosmological Perspective

Vidal, Clement

With a Foreword by Steven J. Dick

2014, XXXIV, 379 p. 42 illus., 23 illus. in color.

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  • A remarkable book that will inform and enlighten all readers interested in where it all came from and where we are going
  • Despite the deep and subtle content the text is easy to follow and a stimulating read
  • Attempts to answer some of the biggest questions posed by humans about themselves and the universe
  • Includes a fascinating and illuminating look at the entire framework with which and within which, these big questions are posed and debated

In this fascinating journey to the edge of science, Vidal takes on big philosophical questions: Does our universe have a beginning and an end, or is it cyclic? Are we alone in the universe? What is the role of intelligent life, if any, in cosmic evolution? Grounded in science and committed to philosophical rigor, this book presents an evolutionary worldview where the rise of intelligent life is not an accident, but may well be the key to unlocking the universe's deepest mysteries. Vidal shows how the fine-tuning controversy can be advanced with computer simulations. He also explores whether natural or artificial selection could hold on a cosmic scale. In perhaps his boldest hypothesis, he argues that signs of advanced extraterrestrial civilizations are already present in our astrophysical data. His conclusions invite us to see the meaning of life, evolution, and intelligence from a novel cosmological framework that should stir debate for years to come.


Content Level » Popular/general

Keywords » Anthropic principles - Cosmic selection - Cosmological worldview - Evolutionary ethics - Far-future universe - Fine-tuning of physical constants - High energy astrobiology - Philosophical methodology

Related subjects » Astronomy - History & Philosophical Foundations of Physics - Philosophy - Popular Astronomy

Table of contents 

Part I Overview of Worldviews.- The Six Dimensions of Philosophy.- Criteria for Worldview Comparison.- Religious, Scientific and Philosophical Worldviews.- Part II The Beginning of the Universe.- Origins of the Origin.- Capturing Free Parameters.- The Fine-Tuning Conjecture.- Part III Our Future in the Universe.- The Future of Scientific Simulations.- Cosmological Selections.- High Energy Astrobiology.- Cosmological Ethics and Immortality.- Appendix I: A Cosmic Evolutionary Worldview.- Appendix II: Argumentative Maps.

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