The Beginning and the End

The Meaning of Life in a Cosmological Perspective

New York | Heidelberg, 29 July 2014

In this fascinating journey to the edge of science, Clément Vidal takes on big philosophical questions in his new book The Beginning and the End: 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, the 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.

The book 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.

Dr. Vidal comments, “Any speculation has to be taken with a grain of salt. In my book, I address problems that cannot be addressed without speculation. Facing the need to speculate, there are two options. Either we refuse to speculate and accept that we have nothing to say or to write, or we try to speculate as carefully as possible, making very clear the assumptions on which our speculations hinge. I have chosen the latter option, trying to review many different speculations, and refusing to overstate the conclusions.”

Dr. Clément Vidal is a philosopher with a background in logic and cognitive sciences. He is co-director of the 'Evo Devo Universe' community and founder of the 'High Energy Astrobiology' prize. To satisfy his intellectual curiosity when facing the big questions, he brings together many areas of knowledge such as cosmology, physics, astrobiology, complexity science, evolutionary theory and philosophy of science.

Clément Vidal
The Beginning and the End
The Meaning of Life in a Cosmological Perspective

Springer 2014, 379 p., 42 illus., 23 illus. in color
Hardcover € 49,99 | £ 44.99 | $ 69.99
ISBN 978-3-319-05061-4
Also available as an eBook

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Joan Robinson