Bronowski is a beautiful writer. And if truth is beauty then
Bronowski is also a truthful writer. No cliche: these essays are
the Silliman Lectures that Bronowski delivered at Yale in 1967, a
series established "to illustrate the presence and providence of
God. . . [through] an orderly presentation of the facts of nature
or history." Bronowski's synthesis is a gem of enlightenment. He
emphasizes at the outset the importance of the visual sense and of
language as the roots of human creativity - of knowledge and
imagination in the arts and sciences. The relativity of truth in
science is a natural consequence of the finiteness of the human
endeavor. We can select only so much to consider, we can "decode"
only so many of nature's "sentences" into the algorithms, concepts,
and symbols of our truth systems. But in reality all nature is
connected. Science evolves toward better descriptions as it is able
to correct past errors and move toward closer approximations of
Nature's laws. This logic is elegantly demonstrated in Bronowski's
essay on "undecidables" and the metalogical formulations about
consistency and completeness in axiomatic systems as developed by
Russell, Tarski, Turing, and the late Kurt Godel. One rejoices in
Bronowski's dedication to the identity of acts of creativity and of
imagination, whether in Blake or Yeats or Einstein or Heisenberg.
But a certain datedness clouds the last essay on the scientific
community as truth bearers. In the intervening decade (since 1967),
a democratic society has found its scientific elite wanting in
humility and at times all too ready to compromise. Be that as it
may, we are better off for the Bronowskis: good men we should seek
to emulate. (Kirkus Reviews)
"A gem of enlightenment. . . . One rejoices in Bronowski's
dedication to the identity of acts of creativity and of
imagination, whether in Blake or Yeats or Einstein or
Heisenberg."-Kirkus Reviews "A delightful look at the inquiring
mind."-Library Journal In this eloquent volume Jacob Bronowski,
mathematician and scientist, presents a succinct introduction to
the state of modern thinking about the role of science in man's
intellectual and moral life. Weaving together themes from
ethnology, linguistics, philosophy, and physics, he confronts the
questions of who we are, what we are, and how we relate to the
universe around us.
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