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Understanding and Interpreting Contemporary Science
In this magisterial work, Roland Omnès takes us from the academies of ancient Greece to the laboratories of modern science as he seeks to do no less than rebuild the foundations of the philosophy of knowledge. One of the world's leading quantum physicists, Omnès reviews the history and recent development of mathematics, logic, and the physical sciences to show that current work in quantum theory offers new answers to questions that have puzzled philosophers for centuries: Is the world ultimately intelligible? Are all events caused? Do objects have definitive locations? Omnès addresses these profound questions with vigorous arguments and clear, colorful writing, aiming not just to advance scholarship but to enlighten readers with no background in science or philosophy.
The book opens with an insightful and sweeping account of the main developments in science and the philosophy of knowledge from the pre-Socratic era to the nineteenth century. Omnès then traces the emergence in modern thought of a fracture between our intuitive, commonsense views of the world and the abstract and--for most people--incomprehensible world portrayed by advanced physics, math, and logic. He argues that the fracture appeared because the insights of Einstein and Bohr, the logical advances of Frege, Russell, and Gödel, and the necessary mathematics of infinity of Cantor and Hilbert cannot be fully expressed by words or images only. Quantum mechanics played an important role in this development, as it seemed to undermine intuitive notions of intelligibility, locality, and causality. However, Omnès argues that common sense and quantum mechanics are not as incompatible as many have thought. In fact, he makes the provocative argument that the "consistent-histories" approach to quantum mechanics, developed over the past fifteen years, places common sense (slightly reappraised and circumscribed) on a firm scientific and philosophical footing for the first time. In doing so, it provides what philosophers have sought through the ages: a sure foundation for human knowledge.
Quantum Philosophy is a profound work of contemporary science and philosophy and an eloquent history of the long struggle to understand the nature of the world and of knowledge itself.
Once or twice in a generation a poet comes along who captures the essential spirit of the American Midwest and gives name to the peculiar nature that persists there. Like James Wright, Robert Bly, Ted Kooser, and Jared Carter before him, Dan Lechay reshapes our imagination to include his distinct and profound vision of this undersung region.
The poetry of Dan Lechay, collected in The Quarry, constructs a myth of the Midwest that is at once embodied in the permanence of the landscape, the fleeting nature of the seasons, and the eternal flow of the river. Lechay writes of memory and the mutability of memory, of the change brought on a person by the years lived and lost, and of the stoic attempts made by those around him to elicit an order and rationale to their lives.
The Quarry is the first full-length collection from this seasoned poet. Final judge Alan Shapiro in writing about The Quarry said: “If Dan Lechay's poems often begin with the ordinary details and circumstances of life in a small Midwestern town or city, they always end by reminding us that no moment of life is ever ordinary, that 'Nothing is more mysterious than the way things are.'
The Quarry is a marvelous, disquieting, extraordinarily beautiful book that meditates on fundamental questions of time and change in and through a clear-eyed yet loving evocation of everyday existence. Under Lechay's soulful gaze, the backyards, neighborhoods, animals, and landscapes he describes dramatize the often wrenching connection between beauty and loss, evanescence and memory. The Quarry is a thoroughly mature and accomplished book.”
Incisive and witty meditations on the disruptions and difficulties of family life, the stories in The Quarry focus on the precariously balanced world of anxious and awkward sons and painfully failed or failing fathers. The title novella sifts through the irreparable moral and psychological confusion brought about by the Holocaust, following two families as they struggle to reconcile themselves to personal disorder and private grief--with no illusory platitudes about the redemptive power of suffering.
With unerring compassion for conveying emotional revelations and a keen sensitivity to the frailty and malleability of the human spirit, The Quarry lures the reader into confronting the most hidden and disquieting parts of the buried self.
Was Donald Glover really what he seemed--a handsome, dedicated, and clever African-American star of the Harlem Renaissance, whose looks made him the "quarry" of a variety of women? Or could the secrets of his birth change his destiny entirely? Focusing on the culture of Harlem in the 1920s, Charles Chesnutt's final novel dramatizes the political and aesthetic life of the exciting period we now know as the Harlem Renaissance. Mixing fact and fiction, and real and imagined characters, The Quarry is peopled with so many figures of the time--including Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. DuBois, and Marcus Garvey--that it constitutes a virtual guide to this inspiring period in American history. Protagonist Glover is a light-skinned man whose adoptive black parents are determined that he become a leader of the black people. Moving from Ohio to Tennessee, from rural Kentucky to Harlem, his story depicts not only his conflicted relationship to his heritage but also the situation of a variety of black people struggling to escape prejudice and to take advantage of new opportunities.
Although he was the first African-American writer of fiction to gain acceptance by America's white literary establishment, Charles W. Chesnutt (1858-1932) has been eclipsed in popularity by other writers who later rose to prominence during the Harlem Renaissance. Recently, this pathbreaking American writer has been receiving an increasing amount of attention. Two of his novels, Paul Marchand, F.M.C. (completed in 1921) and The Quarry (completed in 1928), were considered too incendiary to be published during Chesnutt's lifetime. Their publication now provides us not only the opportunity to read these two books previously missing from Chesnutt's oeuvre but also the chance to appreciate better the intellectual progress of this literary pioneer. Chesnutt was the author of many other works, including The Conjure Woman & Other Conjure Tales, The House Behind the Cedars, The Marrow Tradition, and Mandy Oxendine. Princeton University Press recently published To Be an Author: Letters of Charles W. Chesnutt, 1889-1905 (edited by Joseph R. McElrath, Jr., and Robert C. Leitz, III).
Originally published in 1999.
The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
Evolution and Impact
Slave Families in the Non-Cotton South
The Quarters and the Fields offers a unique approach to the examination of slavery. Rather than focusing on slave work and family life on cotton plantations, Damian Pargas compares the practice of slavery among the other major agricultural cultures in the nineteenth-century South: tobacco, mixed grain, rice, and sugar cane. He reveals how the demands of different types of masters and crops influenced work patterns and habits, which in turn shaped slaves' family life.
By presenting a broader view of the complex forces that shaped enslaved people's family lives, not only from outside but also from within, this book takes an inclusive approach to the slave agency debate. A comparative study that examines the importance of time and place for slave families, The Quarters and the Fields provides a means for understanding them as they truly were: dynamic social units that were formed and existed under different circumstances across time and space.
Into a Metaphysical Playroom
Vingt-quatre heures dans la vie des Québécois – Comparaisons internationales
Que faisons-nous de notre temps ? Force est de constater que nous peinons à évaluer le temps consacré à nos diverses activités quotidiennes. Si nous surestimons notre temps de travail, nous sous-estimons celui consacré à la télévision. Nous n’osons pas dire que nous lisons de moins en moins. Nous surestimons le temps que nous consacrons aux tâches domestiques, mais sous-estimons celui qu’y consacre notre partenaire… Bref, nos vingt-quatre heures de la journée gonflent ou rétrécissent au gré de nos perceptions. Dans un langage accessible et néanmoins rigoureux, tout en respectant les principes méthodologiques usuels, l’auteur de cet ouvrage présente un portrait de ce que font réellement les Québécois des vingt-quatre heures de leur journée ou des sept jours de leur semaine. Pour ce faire, il s’appuie sur cinq enquêtes canadiennes réalisées entre 1986 et 2010. Il propose également des comparaisons avec la France et les États-Unis basées sur des données du même type afin de relativiser certaines tendances. La génération actuelle travaille-t-elle davantage que la précédente ? Quelle est la véritable ampleur du stress temporel dont un grand nombre se dit affecté et qui en sont les plus touchés ? Les parents consacrent-ils plus de temps ou moins de temps à leurs enfants ? Où en sommes-nous réellement en matière de partage des tâches domestiques ? La civilisation du loisir serait-elle un mythe ? Le temps consacré à la culture est-il oui ou non en diminution ? Les nouvelles technologies ont-elles bouleversé la structure des temps sociaux ? L’auteur répond à toutes ces questions et à bien d’autres encore.