[Hac-announce] The latest issue of Edge

David E Schafer deschafer at comcast.net
Tue Aug 16 16:35:10 EDT 2011

Here's the URL for the conference I mentioned last night.   Note that Marc 
Hauser is listed as having withdrawn his paper::



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Manny Ratafia" <manny at ratafias.com>
To: <hac-announce at cthumanist.org>
Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 12:28 AM
Subject: [Hac-announce] The latest issue of Edge

Here is the latest issue of Edge, which I mentioned at tonight's meeting. 
Note that one of the articles is by Laurie Santos, who was mentioned 
tonight, with an introduction by Paul Bloom, who also was mentioned by our 

-------- Original Message -------- Subject:  Edge 349 - Anthony Aguirre: 
Next Step Infinity; Future Science On Sale Today
      Date:  Tue, 09 Aug 2011 08:06:56 -0700
      From:  Edge <editor at edge.org>
      Reply-To:  Edge <editor at edge.org>
      To:  Manny Ratafia <manny at ratafias.com>

EDGE.ORG - August 9, 2011


Infinity can violate our human intuition, which is based on finite systems, 
and create perplexing philosophical problems.

by Anthony Aguirre

Permalink: http://edge.org/conversation/next-step-infinity
ED NOTE: This essay is the fourth and last installment of the EDGE first 
serialization of FUTURE SCIENCE: ESSAYS FROM THE CUTTING EDGE, edited by Max 
Brockman, published today by Vintage Books (US) and in October by Oxford 
University Press (UK). Available in bookstores and online.

EDGE Links:
"Future Science" by Max Brockman (Annotated Table of Contents and Preface)

"Is Shame Necessary" (Introduced by George Dyson)

"Molecular Cut and Paste" by William McEwan (Introduced by Nathan Wolfe)

"To Err is Primate" By Laurie R. Santos (Introduced by Paul Bloom)

"What's Next: Dispatches From The Future of Science" by Max Brockman


[ANTHONY AGUIRRE:] The question of whether the world is finite or infinite 
has bedeviled us for a long time. It was a classic question in ancient 
Indian philosophy. Aristotle cogently argued that while infinity made sense 
in the "potential," the world could not "actually" be infinite. Giordano 
Bruno declared the world infinite and was burned at the stake. Galileo, more 
circumspect, had his clever alter ego, Salviati, completely befuddle 
Simplicio with how paradoxical and slippery infinity is. And Immanuel Kant 
really threw down the gauntlet, arguing that both an infinite and a finite 
world were logically impossible: an infinite universe would take an infinite 
time to be "synthesized" and thus could never at any one time be said to be 
infinite-but a finite universe must somehow be embedded in a seemingly 
meaningless "emptiness" that is not part of the universe. Because finite and 
infinite spaces alike tax our conception of space, a
nd because we, as finite creatures, clearly cannot measure or directly 
observe an infinite system, it might appear that the question could most 
conveniently be consigned to the dustheap of purely philosophical inquiries 
that hard-nosed scientists can safely ignore.

Yet Albert Einstein's theories of space and time radically reformulated the 
questions of finite and infinite spaces and times, and the ensuing 
development of cosmology has brought infinity into the domain of testable 
physical science. For example, a uniform space can be curved like a 
sphere-and comprise a universe that is finite in volume without having any 
"edge" or empty space outside it. Even more impressive are the tricks that 
relativity can play concerning infinite spaces, which have come to occupy a 
central place in contemporary cosmology. To tell this story, I will contend 
in the following four sections of this essay that: ...[MORE]

ANTHONY AGUIRRE holds a BS (1995) in mathematics and physics from Brown 
University and a PhD (2000) in astronomy from Harvard University. He is an 
associate professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, 
where he studies a variety of topics in theoretical cosmology, including the 
early universe and inflation, gravity physics, first stars, the 
intergalactic medium, galaxy formation, and black holes.



Advance Praise for FUTURE SCIENCE:

"This remarkable collection of fluent and fascinating essays reminds me that 
there is almost nothing as spine-tinglingly exciting as glimpsing a new 
nugget of knowledge for the first time. These young scientists give us a 
treasure trove of precious new insights." -- MATT RIDLEY, Author, THE 

"I would have killed for books like this when I was a student!" -- BRIAN ENO 
Composer; Recording Artist; Producer: U2, Cold Play, Talking Heads, Paul 

"FUTURE SCIENCE shares with the world a delightful secret that we academics 
have been keeping -- that despite all the hysteria about how electronic 
media are dumbing down the next generation, a tidal wave of talent has been 
flooding into science, making their elders feel like the dumb ones..... It 
has a wealth of new and exciting ideas, and will help shake up our notions 
regarding the age, sex, color, and topic cliches of the current public 
perception of science." -- STEVEN PINKER, Johnstone Family Professor, 
Department of Psychology, Harvard; Author, THE LANGUAGE INSTINCT, THE BETTER 

Eighteen original essays by:

Kevin P. Hand: "On the Coming Age of Ocean Exploration" Felix Warneken: 
"Children's Helping Hands" William McEwan: "Molecular Cut and Paste" Anthony 
Aguirre: "Next Step Infinity" Daniela Kaufer and Darlene Francis: "Nurture, 
Nature, and the Stress That Is Life" Jon Kleinberg: "What Can Huge Data Sets 
Teach Us About Society and Ourselves?" Coren Apicella: "On the Universality 
of Attractiveness" Laurie R. Santos: "To Err Is Primate" Samuel M. McLure: 
"Our Brains Know Why We Do What We Do" Jennifer Jacquet: "Is Shame 
Necessary?"  Kirsten Bomblies: "Plant Immunity in a Changing World" Asif A. 
Ghazanfar: "The Emergence of Human Audiovisual Communication" Naomi I. 
Eisenberger: "Why Rejection Hurts" Joshua Knobe: "Finding the Mind in the 
Body" Fiery Cushman: "Should the Law Depend on Luck?" Liane Young: "How We 
Read People's Moral Minds" Daniel Haun: "How Odd I Am!" Joan Y. Chiao: 
"Where Does Human Diversity Come From?"

Annotated Table of Contents:

Edge Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit private operating
foundation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

John Brockman, Editor and Publisher
Russell Weinberger, Associate Publisher

Copyright (c) 2011 by Edge Foundation, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.

Published by Edge Foundation, Inc.,
5 East 59th Street,
New York, NY 10022
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