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Philosophy in The Elegant Universe

  1. Aug 20, 2005 #1
    I have convinced my english teacher to let me use The Elegant Universe as an independant reading novel for my Literature and Philosophy class. (As a sidenote, this is really exciting to me because now my entire day (except for band) is science/math: AP Chem, teacher's assistant during AP Chem second hour, Lit and Philosophy, AP Calculus, AP Physics)

    Now all i need is some examples of philosophy in the book :wink:

    I've got at least one:

    aesthetic: einstein more or less knew his theory of general relativity was correct because of its beauty

    any other contributions would be greatly appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 20, 2005 #2


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    BTW, although there are some who might agree with the description of The Elegant Universe as a novel, it isn't really intended to be one. :biggrin: A novel is a piece of book-length fiction. Elegant Universe is nonfiction - science popularization.
  4. Aug 20, 2005 #3
    I considered Greene's The Fabric of the Cosmos to be more philosophical than The Elegant Universe. Is there any reason why you couldn't use that book instead?
  5. Aug 20, 2005 #4
    String theorists' contention that there are indivisible strings is comparable to the atomism of Democritus and Leucippus. Shouldn't this be in the homework section?
  6. Aug 20, 2005 #5
    one of the reasons i was kind of excited about getting to use the book for an independent novel is because it isn't really a novel...exactly as you put it, selfAdjoint. i wonder how the book can be a national bestseller though when a very small percentage of the world cares about science, an even smaller percent buys science books, and very few have the patience and time to read such a difficult book (compared to harry potter etc, not necessarily other science "novels").

    Chronon, i went to Barnes and Nobel today to buy the fabric... and they didn't have a hardcover (i want it to match my other Greene book). they ordered it for me and i will have it on wednesday. the only problem will be finishing it in time. i am 85% sure i will have another independent reading project next quarter, so i could do BOTH (assuming my teacher likes what i do with my first project).

    skomatth, i see your point about hw, but from what i recall, the homework forum is more like "how do i solve this calculus problem." i'd much rather go straight to the source, but i wouldn't be too mad if an admin moved the thread. i will check out Democritus and Leucippus once we really get started in class.

    i would appreciate further examples...

    thank you all.
  7. Aug 20, 2005 #6


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    Nothing like expanding your mind and getting a broad education, eh?

    Note: I realize that, to get anywhere in the scientific world, one must be narrow and focused, so I say this somewhat facetiously.
  8. Aug 21, 2005 #7
    I have actually taken social studies/history all four years. this year, however, i took government for four hours a day over the summer so i could make room for AP chem II. little did i know, french 4 was the same hour as AP physics II, and we see which won that battle. Next semester Lit and Philosophy is replaced by Shakespeare. Even though i tout the science i get to do in Philosophy this semester, I still have to write 4 papers a quarter and have to read confusing Plato.

    so thats my story.

    more examples please.
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